Friday, February 13, 2009


Alex and I are good at a lot of things—having shiny hair, thinking of nicknames, and complimenting each other, for example. One thing we're not so good at is updating this here blog.

But! All that is about to change RIGHT NOW, because I really like this list I wrote for the Spec last semester and want to find a place on the internet where I can both post it and link to all the videos I'm talking about so that you can see for yourselves why these commercials are awesome and that place is going to be right here on Rusty Stapler.

Who knows? Maybe this will open up the blogging floodgates (those last two words make the most terrifying spoonerism) and we'll start posting on a regular basis. Maybe we'll get a book deal! A book deal would be so great.

Without further ado: The Top Ten Commercials of the Early-Mid Nineties

10. Mall Madness: Four big-haired 'tweens (future Carries, Mirandas, Charlottes, and Samanthas?) giggle as they play a board game about reckless consumerism. Because nothing's more fun than pretending to use your fake credit card at the virtual clothing boutique—am I right, ladies?

9. Play-Doh Meal Makin' Kitchen Play Sets: Raise your hand if you thought this commercial made Play-Doh look delicious.

8. Cool Shavin' Ken: Finally, a male doll who sports a beard that "disappears with warm water!" Because what kid hasn't dreamed of having her very own man to shave? Bonus: As the jingle tells us, Ken smells so good because he "wears Old Spice." That's some questionable cross-promotion right there.

7. Dum-Dums: Dayglo-colored children's heads on lollipop sticks lip-synch to a doo-wop jingle. It's a lot less creepy on film than it sounds on paper.

6. MUZZY: A Carol Brady sound-alike explains how lazy parents can use these BBC video sets to teach their children a second language through osmosis. I never bought the tapes, but I did learn how to say "I am a little girl" in French from the commercial: "Je suis la jeune fille!"

5. Pure Moods: Of all the compilation CDs of the '90s—The Carpenters' Yesterday Once More, Monster Ballads, Now That's What I Call Music!—Pure Moods was the greatest. That's because the CD's commercial was the only one to feature both majestic unicorns and a snippet of the X-Files theme song.

4. Crossfire: The ad shows two kids competing in an epic, fiery battle. In real life, the game involves shooting marbles or something. Clear winner of the "thing that looks much, much cooler on TV than it is in real life" award. Honorable mentions: Mouse Trap (way too much trouble to set up) and Guess Who? ("Game cards do not actually talk").

3. Anti-Drug PSA with Rachel Leigh Cook: Before she was all that, Cook smashed up a kitchen with a frying pan to show the effects of heroin on not only your brain, but also "your family... and your friends! And your money! AND YOUR FUTURE!" This commercial inspired hundreds of kids to seriously consider cutting back on smack.

2. Mr. Bucket: Possibly the most awesome jingle of our time. Sing it with me now: "I'm Mr. Bucket, balls pop  out of my mouth..."

1. Gopher Cakes: For some reason, lists that count down cinema's greatest twist endings rarely include this Hitchcockian gem of an ad. You think you're watching a commercial for a new snack cake, but (spoiler alert!) it's actually a PSA about exercising. Sneaky!