Concerned parents are up in arms about the new Carl’s Jr. commercial featuring a barely-clad Paris Hilton sudsing up a black Bentley to sell a hamburger, claiming the ad is soft-core porn promoting sexuality. My favorite objection is the one on the grounds that because the ad runs during Fox’s The OC
, teens who watch The OC
will to be exposed to this highly sexualized message before they are ready. Um, what exactly do these people think happens between
commercials on The OC
? A Carl’s Jr. rep says that these people need to "get a life"
and that the ad simply portrays a “beautiful model in a swimsuit washing a car.” I think what he meant to say was a “
dullard in a leather cat
herself. Mark your calendars, I’m going on record as agreeing with the conservative watchdog group. The ad is disgusting, but not for the reasons they think.
Let’s consider the demographic most likely to buy a variation on Carl’s Jr.’s “famous $6 burger.” Having driven past Carl’s Jr. establishments hundreds of times (and even once partaking in some variety of fried chicken parts from there), I have yet to spot a $300,000 Bentley purring in one of its drive throughs. This commercial brings all the hubris of Hilton’s The Simple Life
to the middle of regularly scheduled programming. I watched approximately 18 minutes of season 2, episode 1 of The Simple Life
before my involuntary dignity reflex propelled me off the couch in search of a book - - one with big, important words. The show opened with Hilton and partner-in-derision Nicole Richie on a shopping spree at a shoe store. (Hilton charges approximately a hundred grand to her credit card for her haul.) Ten minutes later, the pair is bumming gas money from commuters at a tollbooth. Hilton and Richie aren’t cajoling Bentley drivers with their girlish, fake-tanned wiles: the people who give them money are working-class, hourly-wage earners, on their drives home from jobs in which talent or skill was exchanged for money. Basically, they get money from the same type of people who are nice (naïve?) enough to host the duo while Hitlon and Richie take advantage of them, mock them, and finally leave, reminding themselves that they are, in fact better than the people who work for a living using skills other than ordering complicated coffee drinks, intensive pampering, and purchasing small dog accoutrements.
It’s no wonder I was speechless last year when my Big Brothers Big Sisters “little sister” told me that The Simple Life
was her favorite show. A little girl whose immigrant, non English speaking, single mom commutes one hour each way by bus to a $9/hour job at a fast food restaurant enjoys watching two trust fund snobs ridicule regular people all over America? Where were the moralistic, family-values-touting watchdog groups then?
So no, I don’t like the commercial. I don’t like that it’s selling regular, hard-working, middle class people who still believe in the wholesomeness of beef a hamburger by telling them that they too can have the approval of this opportunistic sex kitten. Paris will like it all right. She’ll snigger all the way to the bank.