Sorry the Friday Random Ten+5 hasn't made an appearance in the last couple of weeks -- the well kind of ran dry as far as +5 ideas and the whole thing was on the verge of getting stale. It'll be back next week, I promise, but for right now I want to talk about something else: Olive Garden commercials.
The subject of Olive Garden ads has popped up repeatedly in recent conversations I've had with friends, for some reason, and the conversations invariably revolve around one common belief: that these ads are terrible. They always start off with a group of unreasonably chipper people sitting around a table getting way more involved with, and excited by, the menu than any normal person should be, and then the "kicker" that segues into the voice-over is some lame joke so mild and/or unfunny it hardly qualifies as a joke at all. They're like the "Small Wonder" of national TV spots, and even though I've never eaten at an Olive Garden before in my life, I'm pretty sure that the types of conversations that take place in these ads would never actually happen in real life, ever.
To that end, I've taken a number of recent Olive Garden ads I'm sure you've seen and rewritten them to be a little less perfect, a little less cutesy, and a little more reflective of the deep-seated conflicts and simmering angst that pervade our 21st-century society. For the first of these, I've chosen the ad that, in its original form, I think has aroused the most contempt of late; I call it "Disclosure."
STEVE: OK, so I've done the math on this never-ending pasta bowl -- 42 different sauce and pasta combinations!
JEFF: Well, you do the math, I'm doing the alfredo. (uproarious laughter)
ALEX: And while you're doing the alfredo, I'll do your fiancee! Ha ha! Yeah! . . .
(ALEX puts hand up expecting a high-five; no one responds. An excruciating silence descends.)
STEVE: Not cool, dude. Just . . . not . . . cool.
MICHELLE: That was way over the line, Alex.
ALEX: What? What'd I do?
JENNIFER: Why do you always have to make people feel uncomfortable?
ANNOUNCER (V/O): Olive Garden's never-ending pasta bowl, with new asiago-garlic alfredo! Pick any sauce and pasta combination, then another, just $8.95. At Olive Garden!
STEVE (whispering): Seriously, dude, did you not know Jeff and Becca were in counseling? He caught her having sex with one of his co-workers at their office Christmas party . . . ?
ALEX: Oh my God, oh my God, I am so sorry . . .
ANNOUNCER (V/O): Olive Garden -- when you're here, you're family!