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Monday, February 4, 2013

I'm sorry, AV Club, but you're wrong.

I genuinely enjoyed exactly one commercial during this year's Super Bowl telecast and it was this one for Audi:


This is a great commercial.  It's got a great John Hughes/Pretty in Pink vibe to it that really speaks to me.  I'm not going to run out and buy a 2013 Audi or anything--and believe me, I totally could; blogging has been very good to me--but I thought the spot had a lot of heart and it appealed to the teenage romantic that still exists inside of me below the layers of belly fat and balding pate.

Not everybody enjoyed it though, including certain pop culture commentators over at my second favorite Web site, the AV Club.  Here's what Scott Tobias had to say:

"The Audi commercial “Prom” tapped into the same fantasy of nerd triumph with less busyness, but it was creepy and distasteful, like something brainstormed by American Psycho’s Patrick Bateman. Before getting the keys to dad’s Audi, the kid in the commercial is a pitiable dork, but the change in status gives him a little too much bravado. He has the courage to storm across the dance floor and plant one on the prom queen, knowing full well that she’s there with the prom king, but her consent doesn’t enter into it. While it’s unreasonable to ask for a pause for him to ask her if she’d like to be kissed, some wordless exchange where she signals an interest would have been preferable to him smooching her from out of the blue. When we see him behind the wheel afterwards, flashing his Bateman smile with a black eye, we’re supposed to be impressed that he got away with something. But this doesn’t feel like a stolen kiss to me—it’s considerably ickier than that." 

When I originally read the above description of my favorite Super Bowl advertisement, I was aghast, but, perhaps, not for the reason you think.  All of the references to Patrick Bateman, the psychotic, woman-murdering "hero" of Bret Easton Ellis' novel, led me to believe that maybe I was wrong about the Audi "Prom" commercial.  Was my enjoyment of said spot and admission of my secret desire to drop chainsaws on screaming women from higher up?  Was I some kind of demented creep who got off on casual sexual assault?  The AV Club had never been wrong before.  I was crestfallen.

Then, I was all, like, "Uh-uh, AV Club, you got it all wrong."  See, the young man in this ad is essentially a latter-day Duckie, only, you know, not as "theatrical."  I don't get the impression that this is his first interaction with the prom queen.  She obviously knows him.  She kisses him back, for Pete's sake!  She genuinely seems to enjoy their dancefloor smooch.  Here's what I think is going on, so listen up, AV Club:

The young man, let's call him Wes, has an art class with the prom queen, who we'll call Gwen.  Now Gwen is an extremely talented artist, but her boyfriend, prom king Blaine Thatchington IV, discourages her from her art and forces her to hang out with his football buddies and their ditzy cheerleader girlfriends at various drug-soaked mansion parties on the rich side of town.  Wes, on the other hand, encourages Gwen to follow her dreams and move to New York City after graduation.  They share a secret, chaste love affair, but when Wes makes the grand gesture of asking Gwen to the prom, she denies him, afraid of what everyone else will think.  This is why Wes is going stag.  He has this whole thing planned.  His dad Audi isn't telling him to kill like a neighbor's dog or anything.  He's confidant now.  The car has a little to do with it, sure, but he also knows that this is his last shot at Gwen.  So he goes for it.  That's romantic, not psychotic.

So, there you have it.  The AV Club was wrong and I'm not a murderer.  Let us never speak of the Super Bowl again.

Oh, Beyonce was pretty great, right?  OK.  I'm done now.


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