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5 Commercials From The 90s That Can't Be Unseen

5 Commercials From The 90s That Can't Be Unseen
Ryan Boyd

As the end of summer approaches and school creeps back into session like a molasses crab, one’s thoughts naturally turn to the commercials of the 1990s – these relics of a bygone era were not so much advertisements as highly conceptual performance art pieces meant to confuse and frighten children, and as they return to school in a few weeks, the most important thing they can take with them is the existential dread of living in a world that once contained these commercials:

  1. Staples Ad From 1996

We’re witnessing complete mental breakdown here. Polo Dad is cavorting around Staples like a prospector in a goldmine filled with nitrous oxide, and the glassy stares of his children only underscore the glee radiating through his face (which looks unnervingly like Dave Coulier's.) He staples the air in front of their faces. He sharpens pencils that are not there, his shaking hands rotating a rotisserie that only he can see. All of this while a giddy voice shrieks about how the children are doomed to return to school, laughing, laughing.

  1. Wendy’s Ad From 1990

“My daughter Wendy said, ‘Dad, the Super Bar is such a great deal, people are going to want to eat there every night!” I said ‘Wendy, that’s what we’re hoping for.” In the economic hangover following the raucous foam party of the 1980s, families huddled under the fluorescent light of their local Wendy’s. They’ve assembled makeshift shelters out of discarded Styrofoam and drink carriers, warming their cracked hands over the same cans of Sterno they use to heat their pizza. They eat here every night, they live and they die here, because it’s all they have left – the gray space between living and dying, burgatory crammed to bursting with lost souls. Dave Thomas was hoping for this, and he is very, very pleased.

  1. BK Teevee

“We need to let the MTV Metal Rappers know that we’re just a bunch of rad burger bros who can shred the competition on a skateboard made of Blind Melon records. Pop quiz, hotshot: how do we make popcorn alternative? Make the unwashed urchin with the weird ladyhair throw that fluffed corn product into the air like a crazy man and catch it in his wretched, wretched mouth. We hate people with epilepsy, so be sure to weed them out with flashing nightmare letters, because epilepsy is neither gnarly nor X-treme. MTV. Alternative grunge hats. Steak or the chicken? Zeitgeist or relic? Both. Cut it, print it, sold. Pogs.”

  1. Chuck E. Cheese

A sleaze clown playing a calliope organ informs frumpy children having a horrible time in the rain that going to Chuck E. Cheese will make them feel “scrumptious.” The oompah music picks up the pace, and we cut to children riding plastic planes with rictus grins and getting dragged beneath a ball-pit by unseen forces. We close on a silhouetted puppet jumping on an invisible trampoline with several children, their shadows passing through each other like liquid ghosts. Rancho Cucamonga.

  1. Coke

The burning, disembodied head of Winston Churchill can sense that school is back in session. Hoisting an insanely large bottle of Coke out of the landscape, he drifts across the sky like hell’s own cue ball until he finds an old-timey schoolhouse and plucks a composition book out of the bell tower. What are the sun’s designs? Does it haunt the children because the sun could never expect to fit its burning old-man head into the four walls of a schoolhouse? The comp book falls forward, revealing that the sun is actually the Coca-Cola logo stamped with ALWAYS FALL. ALWAYS COCA-COLA. It will remain Autumn forever, and the children will stay huddled under the watchful burn of the sun, never leaving the sanctuary of the schoolhouse lest the bespectacled face of vengeance find them away from their studies.

If your kids need something to help them bear the weight of the world as they trudge off to school, eBags has some excellent deals going for backpacks and other school supplies. Shop for deals here, and try not to think too hard about the psychic burden they’ll have to carry with them the rest of their lives.