Friday, August 28, 2015

The cheese that goes...

There is an apocryphal story of my youth that immediately after I had my tonsils removed, I asked for not ice cream, which is the standard request, but Cheetos, which are not soft nor smooth.  I liked Cheetos as a kid more than I do now, but if I'm line for a catered sub lunch, I'll reach for the Cheetos probably more often than I'd reach for anything else since nobody seems to go for sour cream and onion anymore.  I guess onion breath is more offensive than orange teeth.

A couple of years ago, Cheetos sort of rebooted Chester from a sort of loser who thinks he is the coolest cat on the block who spends the commercials trying (unsuccessfully) to get his paws on some delicious Cheetos into a weird kind of jerk who uses Cheetos not for food, really, but more as props primarily to embarrass some of the people around the human characters (usually friends or family) in the commercial.  (I tried to find more samples on YouTube, but searching for Cheetos is mostly crowded out by videos like this about getting Irish people to try American things.  I must admit, I was amused.)

As an example, two recent ones have a child firing Cheetos out of a catapult at her father (I think?) for stealing the remote or something.  Another has a child making a Cheeto bikini for her sleeping father so that when he wakes up, he'll have bikini tan lines.  In none of these are there anything about the Cheeto dust that gets on everything.  It's not as bad as Dorito dust or glitter, but it's in the conversation.

There are a number of baffling aspects of these commercials.  First, none of the people seem to be fazed by the fact that there is a cartoon Cheetah telling them what to do, which, now that I think about it, is reasonably consistent with the commercial universe.  But really, why not show case the snack as being desirable?  The earlier incarnation was not Geico Cavemen or anything as far as commercial quality goes, but it was clear that the snacks were so good that Chester was willing to endure physical pain.  In the new versions, I'm not really sure that the effects would be any different if they replaced the Cheetos with a bag of bread crusts cut off from little kids' sandwiches..

They've made more of these commercials that Darrell Hammond got to make Colonel Sanders commercials, so there must be something to it.  But to me, it makes me sad.  I cannot imagine 3 year old me wanting to ask for Cheetos with a mascot like this after a tonsilectomy.  I guess it really isn't easy being cheesy.

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