|We're Coming For You, Andersons|
Baseball is weeks and weeks away, and my interest in the sport is at an Oakland A's-inspired (de-inspired?) low. Football was last month, and ended with my second or third least favorite franchise having what might be their sweetest moment yet, and the next day, my job unexpectedly ended, with my old manager being a Patriots fan, so, um, yeah. Screw football. I haven't cared about college hoop since I stopped going to college many years ago, and MMA, NASCAR, etc., just haven't cut through the clutter to me. Especially now that my free time is utterly theoretical.
Which means that the only sport that has any hold on me right now is the NBA, and that means a lot of the national telecasts of the games. ESPN, TNT, NBA TV, ABC. I pretty much put on one of these exclusively right now.
So I've seen the following ad enough times to commit it to memory. Painful memory. Let's deconstruct it, shall we?
We start with a Dad (hey, not a white guy for once! bold casting choice!) angry at his white friends for taking their kid to a basketball game. Honestly. So right away, we're in a pretty odd place of envy driving action, and Dad is a rage monster who hates it when his friends are having a good time. I don't know about you, but I want to be more like this guy!
Next, we have the opportunistic kid (note: I am not prepared to say son, due to what seems to be copious amounts of cosmetics and a sonically neutral voice, Not That There Is Anything Wrong With That), with tablet in hand, who has prepared for exactly this moment. They've got the site and device all lined up, ready to pounce on the opportunity for some sweet NBA action, and the fact that Dad can be goaded into major purchases by trivial provocation? Makes them truly dangerous. Don't let this kid near depressed people, or those in addiction programs, or anyone, really, with poor impulse control. So as bad as Dad is, the kid might be worse. Hey, people of indeterminate genders can all be equally awful. It's strangely uplifting, honestly. Role models for everyone!
"But the game is sold out..." offers Dad, maybe trying to walk back from his aggressively effective offspring, and save himself major bucks. But the camera needs to switch off to the presumed Mom, possibly the most smug person on the face of the Earth, as she prepares some juice-like experience in a kitchen that has clearly never been inhabited by humans, let alone used in food prep. Just look at her eyes closed smirk, and her deep knowledge that Dad is going to take a major economic hit for his lack of impulse control. She's probably poisoning his smoothie while she listens to this. In the world of the Anti-Andersons, she's a survivor.
"The games are never sold out," punctuates the kid with overly emphatic hand gesture, knowing that the prospect is on the hook and MUST NOT ESCAPE. Since the ad is for all NBA markets, we also have to just scroll up and down on the tablet to show all of the teams, rather than an arena floor plan, too. Any basketball game will do, even between the worst teams in the Association, because THOSE BASTARD ANDERSONS.
"Never?" asks Dad, who doesn't know he's already dead. "And they are never fake," says the kid, going for the close, because Dad is pegged as not just a sucker, but one who can be goaded into action by fear of a wildly unlikely crime. The tickets are never fake? Why, I'd be losing money not to spend it!
"Your Dad's a genius," says our doomed soul, then proves he isn't really African-American by going for the hair touch that was in no way appreciated. Seriously, consider the freeze frame at the top of this post, and tell me that kid's middle distance stare won't haunt your dreams. They know they are complicit and corrupt in the exploitation of an idiot, but they've made peace with it, because it's getting everyone out of the house and away from all of the horrors that the rest of the Impossibly Perfect House contains. Soon the Andersons, who, let's not forget, clearly deserve it for advertising their existence in a Nelson Muntzian Ha Ha Moment, will get theirs. Oh yes, they will get theirs.
"Grab the keys. We're going to the game," Dad says in full strut, as if he hasn't been fully played by life. The way he delivers the message to his wife, as if he's just dunked in her face, has more than a small whiff of misogyny, and the fact that he hasn't asked her if she wants to go or not is more of the same, but whatever, we're an American sporting audience, and misogyny is just table stakes. As he trails off, Mom and Kid high five behind his back, because another few hours of existence are going to pass without being alone in a room with this guy, and life is all about moments, really.
So, what have we learned?
> NBA fans are seething mounds of resentment that can be goaded into purchases through trace amounts of peer pressure
> The children of NBA fans lie in wait to take advantage of their parents with poor impulse control
> Everyone involved is impossibly rich, bi-racial, gender ambivalent and ready to change their plans for the day in 20 seconds of real time
> There is only one way to purchase tickets, and expense be damned, because criminals clearly use all of the other sites, and
> You can always go to the game, because attendance is a lie, money trumps everything, and you want to go, because you want to be like the worst people you've ever met, or their frenemies
Now, just show this 10 times a night for the next 5 years, and we'll all get the message!