Television commercials go too far

FLINT – So I’m watching TV when a chipper blond woman with an English accent comes on and says, “Let’s talk about your bum.”

At first I thought, “What’s my brother got to do with anything?”


I quickly realized, though, that – being British – she was talking about another type of bum altogether, and the product she so earnestly wanted to “talk about” was – good grief – a product for cleaning it.

I had several reactions to this commercial.

The first was “Oh for Pete’s sakes, I’m trying to eat here!” Which I was. I had a sandwich, which had suddenly become a lot less appetizing. Apparently I’m squeamish. I prefer a little mystery. Or decorum. Whatever.

The second was “Who does that?” And by “who” I don’t mean the nice English lady. At least she was being paid to shoot the commercial, although you have to think this officially ends her hopes of being a leading lady someday. (Casting agent: “She’s great but, uh, wasn’t she the wet naps woman?”)

No, I mean the people in the commercial, which was shot in an airport, man-on-the-street style. What the heck is wrong with them?

Put yourself in their position. You’re in the airport terminal – the wheel on your suitcase is pulling to the left, the crowds are horrendous, the kids are whining. And, oh look, here comes a lady with a camera crew. You think: Hmm, maybe it’s an English documentary about how insane American airports have become. The woman stops you and asks if she can ask a question. You say yes, but instead of asking if you’re worried that the TSA agent will try to get to second base with you during the pre-flight screening, she smiles and says, “Let’s talk about your bum.”

Wouldn’t you smack her … or at the very least flee? Who wants to talk about that on TV? Not me, that’s for sure. I can just imagine my friends: “Hey, nice answer, wet nap boy. Got that fresh feeling?”

But the people in the commercial were not only willing to answer an intrusive question by a complete stranger on a ridiculously private subject, they seemed eager to. In fact, I’ll bet most of the people in the commercial had viewing parties with their friends and loved ones. “Look, look, there I am!” “Honey, we’re so proud.” That’s what’s wrong with this country. We all want our 15 minutes. So much for dignity.

I guess I miss how TV used to be. Back in the day, the worst you’d get is an antacid commercial.

Now every other commercial is about stuff I’d rather not think about while I’m trying to relax – bum wipes, quicker picker-uppers (aka Viagra), various forms of leakage, foot fungi, gastric bleeding, adult diapers, low testosterone. The list goes on and on.

It’s enough to make a guy switch to books.

EDITOR’S NOTE – Andy Heller, an award-winning columnist, appears weekly in the Daily Press. He graduated from Escanaba Area High School in 1979. Write to Andrew Heller at or follow him on Facebook and Twitter.