OK. Here’s the deal. I find the latest KIA Flashdance-inspired car commercial very funny. I laugh (or at least smile) every time I watch it. However, there is such thing as overkill and this commercial is about to meet its demise (at least in my heart).

Why? Well I’ll tell you why.

Here’s the KIA Flashdance Commercial in Question

Now Here’s Why It’s Falling Out of Favor with Me

I was eating a nice meal at a local Orange County Pho restaurant with a friend of mine and we were having a nice time. On the TV was the end of the Patriots game and the typical post-game discussion. Of course there were a number of commercials within the 30 minutes that was the post-game coverage. One of the first commercials was the KIA Flashdance commercial. At this point, I was still very much in favor of this commercial. In fact, it spawned a conversation about it and praise from both my friend and I. The discussion quickly moved on to other less KIA-focused talk but then about 5 minutes later, the KIA Flashdance commercial was back on the TV. I laughed and thought to myself “Oh goodie! It’s on again. Finally a commercial I enjoy watching. Let’s watch again!”. So we watched the commercial again, chuckled, and continued our meal. But then things started to get a bit abnormal. Right as I was about to take a bite of a delicious shrimp spring roll, the KIA Flashdance commercial came on AGAIN! Now this is only about one minute after it played previously. I laughed again, however I was laughing at the absurdity of the media buying agency/company who purchased time during the Patriots post-game coverage. They must have had some extra money to spend and decided to dump a portion of it during the game. Oh well, it’s their money.

NOW This is Where Advertising Gets Absurd

If the story was to end here, I wouldn’t have much to say about this KIA TV commercial. I would have seen it here and there as I randomly surf my TV channels looking for entertaining programs and would still laugh when I watch it. However, this story doesn’t end here. Actually, it doesn’t end until the KIA Flashdance commercial runs an additional 4 MORE TIMES!!!!!!! I’m serious. This commercial ran a total of 7 TIMES in about 35- 40 minutes. Each time it popped on the screen, I laughed; not at the commercial, but at how many times it continued to play. My friend and I eventually stopped eating completely just to watch for the next appearance of the ad. By the 6th time it had shown, we were amazed and bewildered as to why anyone would approve running any TV commercial 6 times in such a sort period of time. Now I’m no media buyer so I don’t know if this is a proven method of getting a brand stuck in ones head (I think they call it “frequency” in the media buying world), but by the 7th time it showed, I had had enough of it. I hope I don’t see it for a very long time.

In Closing

Although this absurd observation of the KIA Flashdance TV commercial with 35 minutes may not make the front page of the Los Angeles Times, it’s something I found hilarious, bewildering, intriguing, and laughable. So I guess in the end, I’m glad I saw it 7 times in one sitting. It makes for a semi-funny story.

The End

As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’m 29 years old, which means my preteen years were entrenched in the mid to late 1980s. Although most of my childhood memories are limited, I’ll always remember watching a select assortment of recorded-off-tv-years-before Christmas TV specials (and we’re not talking about Frosty the Snowman or A Charlie Brown Christmas). To this day, these Christmas TV specials are near and dear to me. And although many of these are widely known and have become cult classics, it’s always fun to reminisce and take a look back at the vintage TV specials that have helped create the special feeling I get around Christmas. So if you have kids or just want a nice assortment of Christmas videos to get for the holidays, here are my Top 5 Recommended Christmas TV specials from my childhood.

(NOTE: We’re starting with 5 and working down to my favorite Christmas special. Read on!)

5) A Muppet Family Christmas (1987)

Synopsis: Kermit, Fozzie Bear, and the gang unexpectedly drop in on Fozzie’s mother for Christmas right before she’s about to leave for a winter vacation. A snow storm blows in and strands everyone at the house, aside from Miss Piggy, who is desperately trying to make it to Fozzie’s mom’s house to be with her Kermie for the Holidays. Of course she arrives just in time and everyone has a very, merry Christmas. This special highlights various Jim Henson creations including some of the Sesame Street gang and even the Fraggles from Fraggle Rock.

Fondest Memory: The Swedish chef is in charge of killing and cooking the Christmas turkey. Of course the turkey talks and is trying to convince the chef not to cook him. Of course in the end they become best of friends and the chef serves cereal for dinner (I think).

4) A Claymation Christmas Celebration (1987)

Synopsis: Two claymation dinosaurs, Herb and Rex, host this animated Christmas special and guide viewers through several claymation sketches featuring the Three Wise Men, singing camels, ice-skating penguins, and more. This Christmas TV special ends with the California Raisins doing a rendition of Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer.

Fondest Memory: There’s one funny skit that I remember always made me smile. It’s about a chorus of bells that hit themselves in the head to play the tune Carol of the Bells. The funniest part is the chorus is led by the Hunchback of Notre Dame and there’s one dorky bell who keeps messing up and is oblivious to what he’s suppose to play. Definitely a fond memory.

3) A Garfield Christmas Special (1987)

Synopsis: Garfield wants to have a nice Christmas at home; one filled with presents, toys, and of course lasagna. Instead, he ends up going to Jon’s parents house in the country with Odie in tow and dreading the initial experience. Of course in the end he learns the value of being with your family during the holidays and everything works out perfect.

Fondest Memory: Although it is just an animated show, the picture of Jon’s parents snow covered farm house in the country always made me want to experience that type of Christmas at least once (I’m a Southern California boy so I’ve never experienced a true white Christmas). It’s not necessarily a memory, but rather a desire I now have that I would still like to experience.

2) Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas (1977)

Synopsis: A young otter named Emmet desperately wants to buy her mother a necklace for Christmas be he’s very, very poor (as is his mother – father died years ago). So, in an attempt to make some money, Emmet and his buddies form a jug band and enter a holiday battle of the bands. What they don’t know is that his mother also enters the battle of the bands (as a solo vocalist) because she also wants to buy Emmet something nice for Christmas. In the end neither Emmet nor her mother win, but there is a very, happy ending.

Fondest Memory: For those of you who don’t know about the Jim Henson production, Emmet Otter’s Jug-Band Christmas highlights quite possibly the best puppet rock band performance ever! The band consists of a group of tough biker animals including a snake, frog, weasel, and a bear. And the band they have is called “The River Bottom Nightmare Band.” It’s amazing! One additional scene that has made me laugh years later is at the very end the mayor (who is a frog) is hopping along on the road and the puppetry is so crude in this scene that his legs actually bend backwards a couple times. It literally made me roll of the floor laughing when I watched it.

1) Pee-Wee’s Playhouse Christmas Special (1988)

Synopsis:

Pee-wee Herman celebrates Christmas at his playhouse and has a ton of celebrity guests such as Frankie Avalon and Annette Funicello, Little Richard, Magic Johnson, and even Oprah Winfrey. They all decorate the playhouse, make Christmas cards, and sing songs. In the end Santa stops by to spread some joy but tells Pee-wee that his list was way too big and none of the other children will have any toys. So Pee-wee out of the kindness of his heart tells Santa he was just too greedy and the he doesn’t want anything. Santa rewards his kindness by letting him help him deliver all the toys that night.

Fondest Memory: As were most individuals my age, I was a huge fan of Pee-wee’s playhouse when I was a kid. It was so animated and colorful and just grabbed you by the horns and shook you until you were happy. I will always remember watching this Christmas TV Special with a huge smile on my face because it was just so awesome! But the one memory that will always stick in my head is wondering whether or not K.D. Lang was a guy or a girl (I didn’t know who the hell she was then and honestly didn’t know which gender she was). It makes me laugh thinking back now because I was genuinely confused, but I truly didn’t care (I was too busy being entertained.

Before we get into The Dark Knight Joker comparison, I must start out first by saying I’m 29 years old and I’ve NEVER read ANY of the original Batman comics nor do I know any of the original story lines from the comic book series. What I do know is that when I first saw the Original Batman movie (the one staring Michael Keaton) I fell in love with the modern day interpretation of the characters (Batman, The Joker, blah, blah, blah). To this day, I feel Michael Keaton is the best Batman. Of course Adam West’s interpretation of the Caped Crusader is second to none and Christian Bale has definitely breathed new life into the role – which by the 4th Batman movie in the previous series (Batman & Robin) was on life support and in desperate need of having the plug pulled (thank God they did); but there will always be a special place in my heart for Keaton’s Batman.

BUT WE’RE NOT HERE TO TALK ABOUT BATMAN ~ LET’S TALK ABOUT THE DARK KNIGHT JOKER!

By now we all know that Heath Ledger is playing The Joker in the upcoming The Dark Knight (Batman Begins 2) movie. I personally have only seen the most recent movie preview and a number of promotional photos highlighting The Joker in this movie, but based on my first glance, it looks like Heath will do The Joker character some justice. However, just like with Keaton’s Batman, I feel that Nicholson’s Joker just can’t be beat… or can it?

The Joker Comparison

The Dark Knight Joker (Ledger) does look quite intriguing and appears to be promising. However, never trust a movie preview (that’s what I always say). My judgment on who is the true Joker victor won’t me made until after I see The Dark Knight but let’s do a comparison based on what we’ve seen so far.

The Original Joker – Cesar Romero

He definitely set the bar high for actors portraying The Joker.
The Joker - Casar Romero
Positives: Very animated, exceptional laugh, and of course, great over-exaggerated smile.

Negatives: Maybe it’s just me but although Cesar Romero added much arm movement to animate The Joker character, he seemed a bit stiff with his legs (unlike The Riddler in the original TV series – quite animated). I would have liked to have seen a bit more jumping around (am I being too picky?). Also, his lines were a bit cheesy. Of course that’s no fault of Mr. Romero’s, but it’s still something to consider.

The Tim Burton Joker – Jack Nicholson

A natural choice for the first modern-day Joker.The Joker - Jack Nicholson
Positives: Best facial expressions out of the three. The perfect marriage of a comical court jester and a murderous criminal.

Negatives: Laugh was just so-so. Also I personally didn’t care for all the hats he wore. You gotta show off the disheveled chemically mutated hair. He also wasn’t as animated as I’d like him to be. But then again, Mr. Nicholson is known for his personality and acting prowess, not for jumping around.

The Dark Knight Joker – Heath Ledger

So far, looks pretty good (although my coworkers do not agree). The Dark Knight Joker - Heath Ledger
Honestly I didn’t even know it was Heath Ledger playing The Joker in the upcoming movie. When I saw the trailer, I had to ask someone who was playing The Joker…and I was honestly surprised, and impressed.

Positives: You can’t really tell it’s Heath Ledger (and it’s a positive because if you could tell it was him, you probably wouldn’t be able to get the image of The Joker sodomizing Jake Gyllenhaal out of your head). Also, it looks like he has some good threads in this one (rather than the typical purple and green attire). And finally, it sounds like he has a pretty good laugh – not too corny, not too forced.

Negatives: In some shots in The Dark Knight movie trailer, The Joker kinda looks homeless, which actually works against my assumption that he’ll have some interesting attire (we’ll have to wait and see). Also, the white makeup and red lips look like The Joker just got drunk and fell into his mother’s makeup case. But I don’t know what back story they’re creating for this version’s Joker, so again, we’ll have to wait and see the reasoning behind it all.

SO, Which Joker is Better?????

Honestly, I don’t know yet. Each has its flaws and it’s perfections. And we don’t know the whole story with Heath Ledger’s Joker yet. After I see the movie, I’ll have to re -examine this comparison and see if my assumptions were wrong.

UPDATE!!!!!!

Unbelievable! On 1/22/08 Heath Ledger was found dead in his apartment of an alleged drug overdoes. Since the Dark Knight Batman movie is in post (aka in the can), then this shouldn’t change his role in this movie. It just changes his role as an actor. We’ll still be able to compare his performance as the Joker.