Dodge Charger: For the Man Who Hates Everything

Posted: February 9, 2010 in Jeff Holland, Threat Quality
Tags: , , ,

Superbowl commercials do tend to further the narrative of men as boorish, stupid, overly obsessed with shitty beer and loyal to a fault to their tortilla chips. Also: Women are just awful, awful people who do nothing but get in the way of men’s joy.

(Assuming this joy is unrelated to The Watching of Boobies, in which case women do a lot to help in commercials – but they could be doing so much more. DAMN YOU, FCC!)

But the general horror-show that is ad agencies’ idea of how men view themselves reached its apex with the seething, dead-eyed rage of the Dodge Charger commercial.

It caught me off-guard at first, because, well, “Man lying in bed with droll narration” could be a lot of things, and frankly I’d tuned out after watching Betty White get tackled anyway. So it took me a moment to realize what was happening here. But by the time the camera shifted to a third dead-eyed (Zach Galafianakus-esque) man’s internal bitterness at a life that asks him to Do Things, I started to pay a little more attention. (See the commercial after the break.)

So I went back and listened to the commercial again, noting each man’s grievances:

MAN 1
I will get up and walk the dog at 6:30 AM.
(Well, your alternative is the dog is going to shit on the rug, which you’d probably be more pissed about.)

I will eat some fruit as part of my breakfast.
(This is one option. It’s light, it gives you a nice vitamin boost – what were you going to eat, just a big plate of bacon?)

I will shave. I will clean the sink afterwards.
(If you live with someone, this is what’s known as Common Courtesy. If you just live with the dog, the dog does not care. The dog is just happy you took him out at 6:30. You hear that? That’s ALL IT TAKES FOR A DOG TO LOVE YOU FOREVER. Small price to pay.)

MAN 2
I will be at work at 8 AM. I will sit through two meetings.
I will say yes when you want me to say yes. I will be quiet when you don’t want me to say no.

(Now, this guy, I can see why he’s so angry. His job sounds unfulfilling and he is right to resent it. Carry on, Man #2.)

MAN 3
I will take your call.
I will listen to your opinion of my friends.
I will listen to your friends’ opinions of my friends.
I will be civil to your mother.

(Let’s play a game here, you might remember, called “One of these things is not like the other.” Three of these vows are actually, again, Common Courtesy. If you love your significant other, you do these things because to not do them shows callous disrespect to her/him. But ONE of these things is actually a petty argument in the making that doesn’t actually have anything to do with Common Courtesy, and probably shouldn’t be lumped in with the others.
Did you spot it? YES! It WAS “I will listen to your friends’ opinions of my friends.” This IS something to be upset about – I am assuming these opinions are not flattering. Because her friends’ opinions of your friends is something that may start an argument – and it certainly will, considering what a chore you find simply picking up the phone when she calls. Anyway, let’s move on.)

MAN 4
I will put the toilet seat down.
(Oh, how I wish this one would just go away, since I’ve never heard an actual human being complain about doing this.)

I will separate the recycling.
(Again, this is a phrase that gets common use on TV, but whenever I “separate the recycling,” it just means throwing bottles and cans in a different trash can. Unless you’re incredibly stupid or lazy, this is not even close to a hassle.)

I will carry your lip-balm.
(Again – it’s a tiny, tiny thing that probably fits in your pocket easily, how is this a crushing indignity comparable to the guy who hates his job? Granted, the way the voiceover guy says “balm” here, with such utter distain, is pretty awesome.)

I will watch your vampire TV shows with you.
(…That’s mighty big of you, sir. You should get some kind of reward? For TV?)

I will take my socks off before I get into bed.
I will put my underwear in the basket.

(Again, is this SO HARD? Is this such an affront to Man’s Freedom? You live indoors and need to do laundry.)

“And because I do this, I will drive the car I want to drive.”
CAR
VROOOOM! VROOOOOOOOOOM!!!! VROOOOOOOOOOOOOM!!!!!!!!

Ad copy
Dodge Charger: Man’s Last Stand.

Someone else pointed out that – since when is buying a car a unilateral decision? Well, the only time I’ve ever seen this happen – man buys muscle car because he Doesn’t Care What Wifey Thinks Anymore, MAN! – was in the movie American Beauty.

And it was used to represent one of many clear signs that Kevin Spacey was having a midlife crisis and a nervous breakdown at the same time.

So, based on the cold staring, the suppressed-rage monotone of the voiceover, and the cavalier lumping of the minor hassles and perceived slights with actual problems, I think maybe that’s who Dodge is marketing to.

Dodge: For Men Who Are About To Fucking Lose It.

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Comments
  1. braak says:

    WHY AREN’T MEN SUPPOSED TO LIKE FRUIT?

    I don’t understand anything anymore.

  2. K. Liebert says:

    Michael C. Hall did the narration for this commercial. He does suppressed-rage quite well. BALM!

  3. Matt says:

    You know, I pretty much do all of these things to KEEP MY SANITY! I guess my desire to live in a clean house isn’t manly enough. And haven’t these manly men ever heard of the delicious fruits like strawberries, blueberries, cranberries, green apples, bananas, oranges, cantaloupe, grapes, kiwi, pineapple, etc.? These are just a small amount of delicious fruits? What’s so wrong about eating a delicious fruit? Is it because real men don’t like delicious things? Is it because it’s not bacon flavored? I’m with you Braak, I don’t get it.

    And if the only way Dodge can get men to buy their shitty, underperforming, second-rate vehicles is to shame them into it, then they have a lot more problems than I thought. Seriously, get some new cars dick-wads!

  4. Jeff Holland says:

    Thaaaat’s why he sounded familiar.

    Well. Now I want Dexter to have balm-rage next season.

  5. Jeff Holland says:

    Also, as we know from the opening credits, Dexter DOES eat fruit for breakfast, and he grew up big and strong.

    And because I eat fruit…I ALSO GET TO EAT HAM AND EGGS.

  6. Lindsay says:

    That’s what I thought after seeing that commercial, too. I mean, that the guy was obviously on the verge of some sort of potentially violent breakdown.

    The other thing that struck me about his list of grievances is that he must be living in a bad sitcom. Which, I suppose, justifies the breakdown.

  7. Moff says:

    The whole thing is as unshockingly baffling as everything about our zeitgeist in the last couple of years has been.

  8. Carl says:

    I thought the voice-over said, “I will carry your lint-ball”. And, as you might imagine, I was confused.

  9. Jeff Holland says:

    Michael C. Hall draws the line at carrying ANBODY’S lint-ball.

  10. Jeff Holland says:

    This is not bad at all:

  11. Matt says:

    Kansas City separates your recycling for you. Except the glass. There’s no curbside glass pick-up.

    Beyond that, it pains me to see how wimpy men really are, compared to how strong and manly they think they are. Strike that: they are ‘manly’. But ‘manly’ doesn’t mean what it used to, I guess.

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