Commercial torture

| I watch very little television, but that has not stopped me from formulating my list of the most annoying people in television ads.

1 Flo

Flo for Progressive insurance

Topping my list is Flo, the omnipresent spokesperson for Progressive Insurance. She's everywhere, all the time, appearing in elaborate sets and supported by a cast of equally annoying characters., some live and some animated. 

Flo hawking 'Snapshot, by Progressive'
Snapshot, by Progressive

Progressive must be a very profitable company to be able to afford to make so many commercials and air them so many times during the very brief periods that I am tuned into television.

I wouldn't like to seem to catty, but really, Flo should not do close-ups for high-definition TV. It's not a pretty picture.

2 Fred

Fred Thompson for AAG

Peddling reverse mortgages seems to be the fall-back career for has-been actors, notably Fred Thompson.

In the latest he appears walking out of a just-too-suburban white house with, I'm sure a two-car garage and a picket fence, then standing in this precious setting to extol the virtues of a reverse mortgage for AAG, a "safe and effective financial tool." He   pronounce those words in such a way that they seem to have more syllables than when other people say the same words.

Thompson walking back into his house

At the end of the commercial, having delivered his spiel, Thompson turns and walks back into the house, looking back over his shoulder briefly, I suppose so we can get one last look at his face.

Henry Winkler for OneReverse

Meanwhile, Henry "The Fonz" Winkler is showing up in similar commercials for OneReverse. Mercifully Winkler is only on screen briefly at the beginning, just long enough for us to note that Henry hasn't aged particularly well, and the rest is handled by voice-over.

3 SelectQuote guy


Next I must call out the SelectQuote ads because everyone in them is too, too annoyingly perfect. The spokesman has a perfectly modulated voice, his hair is perfectly coiffed into a casual look for an aging male.

Jim and Deidre with their great kids

Then there are the "subjects" of the ad, in this case "Jim" and "Deidre" with their "great kids." Aren't they just too perfect, playing with their serenely well=behaved kids? We note that Jim and Deidre both have brown hair but the children have varying shades of blond hair. How'd that happen Deidre?

They're so perfect they make my teeth itch.

4 Phillips lady

Phillips lady

When you're an aspiring actress, I suppose you'll do 'most anything to get work doing something other than waiting tables in a restaurant, but really, has this woman no shame?

Phillips lady on a neighbors trampoline

She pops up everywhere. Nobody, nowhere, is safe from her intrusive "regular talk" about the state of your digestive system. Always so perky, so pushy.

Taking a nice tour of the city? How's your fiber?

Enjoying the trampoline in the backyard? Let me sell you some Phillips!

Good grief.

5 Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz for abolishing the IRS

Then there's the very junior Senator from Texas insisting that we should sign his petition to abolish the IRS.

Ted Cruz, abolish the IRS

Of course, most people don't like to pay taxes, although we should be happy to pay taxes, because it means we have income. But these ads are aimed at the gullible, who are willing to believe that if you abolish the IRS the government won't collect taxes. They'll just have to create some other agency to collect taxes! How does Senator Cruz think his senatorial salary is going to be paid if no taxes are collected?

True enough, there was a time when the government did not collect income taxes but we're never going back to the days of collecting sufficient money from tariffs to fund the government.

Apart from the sheer silliness of this Tea Party fantasy, Cruz bears an uncanny resemblance to the late Joe McCarthy who made McCarthyism a noun. And Cruz engages in the same loutish, loud behavior as the thankfully-departed McCarthy.

Texas has become a hotbed of insanity. Instead of waiting for them to secede, I think we should expel Texas, and then we'd be done with the likes of Cruz and Perry.

Last updated on Apr 13, 2018



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