At home, unable to use a computer (this review, for the most part, is written in pen on computer paper), I watched a lot of Pluto TV. It’s a sort of streaming service, offered for free through my smart television, though I understand you can also download it in other places. I’ve written a bit about Pluto channels before, but trapped in a world of re-runs of Forensic Files and World Poker Tour, I found myself drawn to one particular thing.
Pluto has a real lack of commercials. A free channel, the commercial edits are abrupt and sudden, spliced crudely as if by machine. There is no human care here, and we are cast adrift. With a lack of commercials, Pluto plays the same commercials. Over and over. Into eternity.
These are those commercials.
MEN! Want to feel better?!
Get your complimentary bottle of Nugenix Total T. It’s allegedly a “man boosting” formula. They do not explain what this means, though it said several times in relation to a professional athlete, a smiling man known as the Big Hurt. He heavily implies that it has to do with your dick. What he doesn’t imply or state is that 90 capsules will set you back $65 at GNC. The commercials (there are two) mostly involves a smiling professional athlete who talks about how hard it is to be a man over 40, how you can feel sluggish and less able to satisfy your partner sexually, and that this has to do with lower testosterone.
It has the standard nonsense phrases that stick in your brain “number one selling” and “clinically researched to prove your free testosterone.” The last is my favorite. What does it mean to be “clinically researched?” Not “clinically proven” but “clinically researched.” The commercials are ultimately pretty standard heavily gendered GNC ads, and I can’t get the phrase “man boosting formula” out of my head. I desperately want to try Nugenix. How will it boost me?
“The My Pillow Guy” is hiding in your medicine cabinet, ready to tell you that his pillow is making sure you’re “sleeping better” and “feeling better.” My Pillow has a “patented fill,” but it looks like, y’know, a pillow. I’m not sure what any of that means, but the “My Pillow Guy” is the kind of mid-40’s cheery man that only exists inside of the Stepford Wives or at the greeting rooms of small creepy churches. He’s the kind of man who turns out has murdered several women, and years later members of his congregation will say something like “but he came to church every Sunday” as an excuse for why they didn’t see it coming. The “My Pillow Guy” wear a blue shirt with his cross untucked so you can’t see his chest hair but you can see how much he loves Jesus.
I’m not sure what Jesus has to do with a comfortable, chilly pillow but I feel like the “My Pillow Guy” would creepily expound on that subject for far longer than I could pretend to maintain interest. Already regularly seeing his commercials for the “My Pillow” and “My Pillow Mattress Topper” has convinced me that his pillows have something terribly wrong with them, and that purchasing one of his branded pillows will summon the smiley faced mascot into my own medicine cabinet where we will rhyme into the abyss.
There is another Pluto channel called Newsy. Realistically this is a category of commercial for Pluto, an incredibly plentiful category — commercials for other Pluto network channels. There’s a terribly obnoxious one for People TV that focuses on the sexiness of its stars and weight loss (“when do you feel sexiest” opines a host to a series of confused stars); another commercial focuses on Buzzr, a network of rather ancient game shows; a channel exclusively of 24/7 Dog the Bounty Hunter content or a channel where you can just watch Survivorman. But the most pervasive of these channel advertisements is for a channel called Newsy.
Newsy commercials, despite being ostensibly for a channel about the News, are never actually about the news. Instead they feature inexplicable factoids about historical moments, medical oddities, the life cycle of the cockroach, or the newest iteration of the career of the cast of Fixer Upper. The spots have about as much information as a tweet and are almost always delivered with utmost sincerity by a woman with long blonde hair and a frankly incredible amount of intensity for someone explaining how long long a cockroach can live headless. It’s a week.
Regardless, none of this is actually The News.
It’s a commercial for a timeshare industry thing which helps people legally terminate their timeshares for being dishonest or for pressuring people into timeshares. This is a weird commercial because they basically describe the only kind of relationship I’ve heard of someone having with their timeshare company (dishonest, pressuring, inaccurate) and then say “has this happened to you” like this is somehow not the norm.
“The black line at the bottom of the pool never talks back” is legitimately a good line, and it’s a shame it’s in a deeply bizarre commercial for therapist-in-your-pocket service Talk Space. Michael Phelps returns from obscurity (I see him so frequently as a basketball-wife on the World Poker Tour) to talk about how even folks who win gold medals need therapy.
It’s a deeply bizarre commercial. It’s theoretically commendable to have famous people talk about mental health, even if it calls to mind that Pete Davidson Weekend Update sketch, but this commercial is shot like a high concept art film — it feels every inch a college students attempt at gussying up a boring mental health commercial, all the angles odd and sweeping shots of Michael Phelps sitting in a random armchair in a leaf strewn empty pool. It’s weird.
ALSO WHERE ARE HIS SHOES WHY DOES HE TAKE HIS SHOES OFF TO SIT IN AN ARMCHAIR IN AN EMPTY POOL?