I need to complain about an advertisement that’s driving me apeshit.

A guy’s sitting watching football (or basketball, wev) on his bigscreen TV (which is the product being advertised), and the channel keeps flipping over to ice skating. He flips it back with his remote, only to have it flip back. He looks out his window, and across the alley separating two apartment buildings, he sees through her window a beautiful woman with a matching TV, on which she’s watching the ice skating. She smiles, and he smiles back, less annoyed now—until the channel flips again. He swivels around to look at her, but she’s gone and the TV is off. He leans to the side a bit, and, as we share his viewpoint, the window of the apartment next to hers is revealed. Standing there is a man in a bright purple shirt (behind him: a matching TV tuned into the ice skating), who gives football guy a come-hither look and wriggles his remote at him.

The ad, could, at this point, go one of two ways.

Our straight guy could be a cheeky devil and grin impishly while using his remote to change the gay guy’s TV to football, then they share a good-natured laugh before they both turn their TV’s back to what they want to watch.

Or: Our straight guy could whip around like he’s just witnessed a murder, slink down into his chair with a mortified look, and then appear close to vomiting.

Guess which way the ad goes?

I’m so intensely irritated by this advert—which I’ve only seen running on ESPN, of course—that I can’t even remember what the company is. (I think it’s Panasonic. I asked Mr. Shakes if he remembered, and he replied, “Actually, I doon’t. I’m always too busy looking at you to see your ootrage.” Ha.) Every single time I see it, it just leaves me fuming. Three seconds difference at its end, and the ad wouldn’t be a perfect exercise in homophobia, but a clever reversal on its intended audience’s expectations. Lame gay joke vs. sophisticated twist. That the advertiser offers the lame joke is not only an overt insult to gays, but a covert insult to straight men, who are implied to be homophobic fuckwits—and the suggestion is that, certainly, they should be.

Because gay neighbors will shove their remotes right up your ass if you’re not careful! Mwah ha ha ha!


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