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My Aunt Katherine is ALLERGIC to wi-fi.
June 25, 2014 11:59 AM   Subscribe

This is not a think piece about how "problematic" the terrible fuckin puppets are in DirecTV's new series of ads currently running over and over during every commercial break of every TV show. It's A FACT PIECE. And the facts are in: Fuck these puppets. (Gawker)
posted by davidjmcgee (136 comments total) 23 users marked this as a favorite

 
Why would a puppet be trying to seduce her husband in a commercial for a television subscription?
posted by KokuRyu at 12:04 PM on June 25 [3 favorites]


Oh, god. The one where the puppet-wife asks hubby if he thinks she's still pretty...And then she strips down to a negligee?

Creepy.

As.

Fuck.
posted by Thorzdad at 12:05 PM on June 25 [34 favorites]


Yeah, it's like there's nothing good on TV.
posted by pulposus at 12:05 PM on June 25 [2 favorites]


See also.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:07 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


I'm glad I'm not the only one who really hates those puppets.
posted by sparklemotion at 12:07 PM on June 25 [3 favorites]


This is the part that bothers me: How the fuck does she even get her robe off? She's a puppet! She has strings going to her hands that are attached to the same thingy as the string going to her head!

Fuck that.
posted by muddgirl at 12:08 PM on June 25 [9 favorites]


It's almost like DirecTV wanted people talking about the ad campaign. And it's almost like Gawker took their bait hook, line and sinker. And it's almost like the pot calling the fucking kettle black because fuck the stupid shit Gawker media writes day in, day out.
posted by Talez at 12:09 PM on June 25 [42 favorites]


Obviously when you cross the uncanny valley, suspension of disbelief becomes more difficult.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:10 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


Seriously the seduction one is appalling on countless levels. How they made her look; what they made her do; what they made her say; how they dressed her; how he reacts; the entire backstory such as it is. . . I die a little inside every time I see it.
posted by The Bellman at 12:10 PM on June 25 [4 favorites]


It's almost like DirecTV wanted people talking about the ad campaign.

I mean, of course they did, but unless the ad campaign is "buy our services or we'll continue to air these horrifying commercials" I'm not sure how many DirectTV subscriptions this is selling.
posted by griphus at 12:11 PM on June 25 [22 favorites]


I mean, of course they did, but unless the ad campaign is "buy our services or we'll continue to air these horrifying commercials" I'm not sure how many DirectTV subscriptions this is selling.

Well they have to counter Comcast and their "we're the worst piece of shit company in America" press that gets plastered over the public sphere.
posted by Talez at 12:14 PM on June 25 [4 favorites]


I'm glad I'm not the only one who really hates those puppets.

Definitely not. I hate them too - and I'm currently dating a puppeteer.*

Also, some support for the "my aunt is allergic to wi-fi" angle - one of my best friend's moms had multiple chemical sensitivity, and got so messed up when a cell phone tower first got turned on in her neighborhood that she had to leave New York for a couple years and make occasional visits until her tolerance built up. This is very totally a thing.



* (Note to self - ask SchmoopBoy his take on these ads because I bet it'd be HYSTERICAL in its wrath.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:14 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


Here is an example of a great wireless puppet commercial from a decade ago.
posted by fairmettle at 12:14 PM on June 25


That was great. That writer seems really edgy.
posted by thelonius at 12:14 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


That writer seems really edgy.

Twist ending: he's actually a PUPPET.
posted by davidjmcgee at 12:15 PM on June 25 [4 favorites]


My wife spends a lot less time shouting obscenities at the TV than do I, but she really hates these commercials. The lady puppet, holy christ.

Also I don't understand the "wireless DVR" thing. Is it just that you don't need a separate cable hookup to the DVR? One fewer wire? Two instead of three? Also you still need a satellite dish?
posted by uncleozzy at 12:15 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


OH HELL YES!

Good to know it's not just me. I hate those motherfucking puppets. It's like the Uncanny Marianas Fucking Trench.

Fuck those puppets. Fuck them to hell.

Sorry about the language. I just really hate those goddamn, shit-eating, motherfucking puppets
posted by bondcliff at 12:15 PM on June 25 [17 favorites]


Kinda funny...but actually not as funny as the convoluted arguments referenced in the first sentence about how like totally PROBLEMATIC(tm) the puppets are.

Now those are funny
posted by Fists O'Fury at 12:16 PM on June 25


This article doesn't ask the true horror of the question: whose giant hands are manipulating the puppet family? Could God be such a shitty puppeteer?

Are the puppets an allegory?
posted by Think_Long at 12:18 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


I don't mind these commercials.
posted by josher71 at 12:18 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


Another ad-hater here. The wife one is exceptionally creepy, but the one with the son is barely less so.
posted by rtha at 12:19 PM on June 25


Just be glad if you're not watching Hulu Plus and, consequently, having to watch the "Doesn't Coke taste better at McDonalds?" commercial over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over forever because apparently the advertising sales department at Hulu Plus has only been able to sell three commercial spots, which, for your watching pleasure, you are going to have to watch like the fucking Chinese water torture drip drip dripping until you end up calling McDonalds threatening terrorism unless they stop with the goddamn commercial because Coke taste exactly the same everywhere but Mexico and no one in the whole entire universe, no matter how juvenile, bored, and stupid they are, has ever texted their friends about how good Coke tastes at fucking McDonalds or sent a selfie of their vain, petty visage next to a trashcan-sized cup of Coke and no one, no matter how juvenile, bored, and stupid they are, would ever send back a witty "I know, right?" sort of text because this is not the actual planet that they are showing us without relief.

Mind you, I could just turn off the TV, but I get lonesome.
posted by sonascope at 12:20 PM on June 25 [57 favorites]


I'm kind of okay with commercials that evoke BODY HORROR. Great use of the corporate art medium.
posted by pmv at 12:20 PM on June 25 [7 favorites]


If only there were a metaphor somewhere...
posted by grumpybear69 at 12:20 PM on June 25 [2 favorites]


I hope these commercials continue forever. I hope they keep escalating to the point where they're not even coherent commercials anymore, but rather just nightmarish glimpses of puppet porn from a universe where nothing means anything and there are no rules.

I hope that when people try to understand why this is happening, they discover that DirecTV's offices have no doors and no windows. There are no employees on record. There is no cash flow.

The commercial tapes are not even sent through explicable means. They simply appear in various television offices, no matter how many times you lock the office, no matter how many times you try to put them back.

But, no matter how hard you look, no matter how hard you try to understand it, instead of a grand plan, or a Lovecraftian paroxysm, or any sort of conclusion or catharsis whatsoever, there is simply more puppet porn.
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:21 PM on June 25 [97 favorites]


Shouldn't the son be a human-puppet hybrid? With like less wires or something?

Also I think Oh Joy Sex Toy should do a review of the wife.
posted by localroger at 12:22 PM on June 25 [11 favorites]


This is one of those times where I'm glad I watch just about everything streaming. I only have to watch two or three ads (over and over again).

Also:

MetaFilter: [Images via Hell]
posted by brundlefly at 12:22 PM on June 25


I assume a sitcom starring the puppets is what the rabbits in David Lynch's Rabbits are watching.
posted by griphus at 12:22 PM on June 25 [7 favorites]


On the topic of horrible commercials that I actually love, though, I can't get enough of Ticket Oak. I giggle with delight every time I see him.
posted by uncleozzy at 12:23 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


But, no matter how hard you look, no matter how hard you try to understand it, instead of a grand plan, or a Lovecraftian paroxysm, or any sort of conclusion or catharsis whatsoever, there is simply more puppet porn...

...in the Twilight Zone.
posted by localroger at 12:23 PM on June 25 [2 favorites]


I'm not easily wigged but these ads wig me the fuck out.
posted by jonmc at 12:24 PM on June 25 [2 favorites]


But, no matter how hard you look, no matter how hard you try to understand it, instead of a grand plan, or a Lovecraftian paroxysm, or any sort of conclusion or catharsis whatsoever, there is simply more puppet porn...

...Um....actually, puppet porn is kinda awesome.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:25 PM on June 25 [2 favorites]


Yeah, it's like there's nothing good on TV.

You may not be incorrect.
posted by tommasz at 12:25 PM on June 25


...Um....actually, puppet porn is kinda awesome.

THIS IS YOUR DAILY REMINDER THAT ROLAND TOPOR'S MARQUIS EXISTS
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:26 PM on June 25 [3 favorites]


MetaFilter: ...and I'm currently dating a puppeteer.

I have got to find a way to work that into a conversation. Though probably not with my wife.
posted by ODiV at 12:27 PM on June 25 [7 favorites]


fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit, you accidentally linked back to this thread in your post above - - here it is with the corrected url:

This is my favorite article on the topic, by Sarah Benincasa:

The DirectTV Commercials Were Probably Made by a Sociopath

posted by fairmettle at 12:27 PM on June 25 [7 favorites]


From the Benincasa piece:
IMPORTANT UPDATE WITH INSIDER INFORMATION: A Facebook person typed this tip on Facebook! “Haha I auditioned for this. It was so creepy. The casting director was like ‘This is going to be a terrible commercial, there’s no way to actually make it funny because it’s not, so just pretend you’re a puppet and make the striptease part as awkward as possible.’”
posted by brundlefly at 12:27 PM on June 25 [27 favorites]


It does get me some fascinating reactions, I'll tell you that.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:27 PM on June 25


(That last bit was in response to ODiV.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 12:28 PM on June 25


The first time I saw one of these was the one with just the wife, and after my initial 'WTF?' reaction, I then thought, "what are they saying here? That the ideal woman is a puppet? Huh?" which is a sign that Ive been on MeFi far too long.
posted by jonmc at 12:29 PM on June 25 [10 favorites]


KokuRyu: "suspension of disbelief"

Current status: glaring at you real hard on even the off chance that this was a deliberate terrible pun.
posted by komara at 12:29 PM on June 25 [14 favorites]


The weird thing is how easily it would have worked if they didn't try to make the puppets seem human at all. Like if they were old school wooden marionettes. But the Uncanny Valley pushes back hard here.
posted by inturnaround at 12:32 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


That writer seems really edgy. Twist ending: he's actually a PUPPET

Of course he is. What kind of name is "Price Peterson," anyway? That even sounds like a puppet name.
posted by octobersurprise at 12:32 PM on June 25


Honey, do these wires make me look sexist as all fuck?
posted by sexyrobot at 12:33 PM on June 25 [7 favorites]


Talez: "It's almost like DirecTV wanted people talking about the ad campaign. And it's almost like Gawker took their bait hook, line and sinker. And it's almost like the pot calling the fucking kettle black because fuck the stupid shit Gawker media writes day in, day out."

Wife and I were considering going back to DTV, saw one of these ads on broadcast TV and that conversation Just Ended. So maybe the "all pr is good pr" bon mot isn't that awesome when your advertising makes people shun your product.
posted by boo_radley at 12:35 PM on June 25 [3 favorites]


Seriously the seduction one is appalling on countless levels. How they made her look; what they made her do; what they made her say; how they dressed her; how he reacts; the entire backstory such as it is. . . I die a little inside every time I see it.

The fourth 'skin job' is Pris. A basic pleasure model.
posted by KokuRyu at 12:36 PM on June 25 [13 favorites]


A friend of mine is a puppeteer, and he was VERY ANGRY the first time he saw these commercials. Mostly because they're not even real puppets, just CGI, and couldn't they at least give a puppeteer a job?
posted by Bill_Roundy at 12:37 PM on June 25 [4 favorites]


Also, I clicked through to website of the ad agency that did this, Grey Group (founded by Tor Myhren), and discovered part of their surely wondrous culture:

Inspiration might even strike in Tor Myhren’s bed. Yes, that’s right – Tor’s actual bed sits in a glass-enclosed room in the midst of the agency’s busiest workspace, just the place for those who do their best thinking with a pillow beneath their heads.

FWIW.
posted by knownassociate at 12:38 PM on June 25 [13 favorites]


, and couldn't they at least give a puppeteer a job?

Shades of Being John Malkovich!
posted by KokuRyu at 12:40 PM on June 25


The Teen Titans Go! puppet episode did it better, mostly because they actually made real puppets.
posted by Small Dollar at 12:42 PM on June 25 [2 favorites]


Thus, his ambition led him not to relieve his customers’ madness, but to exasperate it—to let it breathe with a life of its own. And this he did in certain ways that wholly eradicated what human qualities remained in these people. But sometimes that peculiar magic he saw in their eyes would seem to fade, and then he would institute his ‘proper treatment,’ which consisted of putting them through a battery of hellish commercials intended to loosen their attachment to the world of cable and to project them further into DirecTV, the realm of the ‘silent, staring universe’ where the ultimate insanity of the infinite void might work a rather paradoxical cure. The result was something as pathetic as a puppet and as magnificent as the stars, something at once dead and never dying, a thing utterly without destiny and thus imperishable, possessing that abysmal absence of mind, that infinite vacuity which is the essence of all that is immortal. And somehow, in his last days, the CEO of DirecTV used this same procedure on himself, reaching into spaces beyond death.
all apologies to thomas ligotti
posted by Sticherbeast at 12:42 PM on June 25 [3 favorites]


Inspiration might even strike in Tor Myhren’s bed. Yes, that’s right – Tor’s actual bed sits in a glass-enclosed room in the midst of the agency’s busiest workspace, just the place for those who do their best thinking with a pillow beneath their heads.

It's like a not particularly talented writer was halfheartedly trying to come up with a way to depict a total asshole.
posted by codacorolla at 12:43 PM on June 25 [12 favorites]


Any man who says he wouldn't have sex with a puppet is, deep down, a liar.

...I mean, maybe not THAT puppet in particular. She's a bit too stringy for my tastes.
posted by delfin at 12:43 PM on June 25 [2 favorites]


I'm in the middle of a Mad Men binge, and this ad coupled with the 2-3 episodes I'm watching every night is just causing some really weird things in my brain. Like, my brain is currently trying to put together a scene of Don and Peggy and Roger in the pitch meeting for this campaign.

It isn't going...well. But Roger is likely to have some good jokes, I think.
posted by nubs at 12:45 PM on June 25 [5 favorites]


Discomfort inducing commercials to sell products that I have no interest in buying. Wireless Receivers!? You still need a cable to plug your TV in! I'd be more interested in something that piggybacked on the power outlet like LAN-over-powerline stuff. Besides the Chromecast and Roku dongle have already won that battle in my book.

Hell, lately I've been trying to get more wires! Do you know how hard it is to get a wired mouse nowadays, a keyboard even? I can't be pwning nubs in Planetside 2 and have my batteries go out!
posted by The Power Nap at 12:51 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


Shouldn't the son be a human-puppet hybrid? With like less wires or something?

Out of the hundreds of problems I have with these ads (thank you all for making me feel the world in general is not ok with these ads), the biggest is that they bring out a really recidivist, male chauvinist side that's not really me, because at one point I turned to my wife next to me on the couch and said, "NOW DID HE FUCK THAT PUPPET AND THAT'S SOMEHOW THEIR KID— (calming down) or is he such a complete loser that he felt like he couldn't land an attractive puppet and went for one with a kid who felt vulnerable?"

Once we rid the world of these ads, can we drive the Charmin ad company out of business? They've gone from bears with dirty toilet paper on their hind quarters to an ad that touts the value of "finishing". I have a mouth so dirty it's a borderline Superfund site and yet either I am getting old very quickly or the Internet has made the world much more accepting of public crassness than is right.
posted by yerfatma at 12:51 PM on June 25 [16 favorites]


Kinda funny...but actually not as funny as the convoluted arguments referenced in the first sentence about how like totally PROBLEMATIC(tm) the puppets are.

You don't need convoluted arguments to find the puppets PROBLEMATIC(tm). It is straight up gross to imply that a human man would marry a woman is literally controlled by strings.

Honey, do these wires make me look sexist as all fuck?
posted by sexyrobot at 2:33 PM on June 25


Eponysterical.
posted by sparklemotion at 12:52 PM on June 25 [4 favorites]


I actually like those Charmin bear commercials because one of the cubs reads Kafka on the toilet.
posted by Small Dollar at 12:56 PM on June 25 [5 favorites]


It is straight up gross to imply that a human man would marry a woman is literally controlled by strings.

That's bad enough and then there's also the "oh women are so insecure HAHAHA no really it's annoying though, those needy puppets."
posted by Mrs. Pterodactyl at 12:56 PM on June 25 [7 favorites]


...I hope that when people try to understand why this is happening, they discover that DirecTV's offices have no doors and no windows. There are no employees on record. There is no cash flow.

The commercial tapes are not even sent through explicable means. They simply appear in various television offices, no matter how many times you lock the office, no matter how many times you try to put them back.

But, no matter how hard you look, no matter how hard you try to understand it, instead of a grand plan, or a Lovecraftian paroxysm, or any sort of conclusion or catharsis whatsoever, there is simply more puppet porn.

posted by Sticherbeast at 3:21 PM on June 25


You've put me in mind of one of my favorite SCP Foundation entries.
posted by magstheaxe at 12:56 PM on June 25 [4 favorites]


I don't understand: you still have to plug the tv in, right? There's at least gonna be a power cord running to the tv, right?
posted by elmer benson at 12:57 PM on June 25 [2 favorites]


You don't need convoluted arguments to find the puppets PROBLEMATIC(tm). It is straight up gross to imply that a human man would marry a woman who is literally controlled by strings.

Look, let's not kinkshame. We all have our hang-ups -- some of them are just a little more obvious.
posted by delfin at 12:57 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


Kafka on the toilet.

Oh, I've been waiting for the second in the series. Is it out already?
posted by uncleozzy at 12:57 PM on June 25 [7 favorites]


When I first saw the one with just the puppet wife and the normal human dude, I began to contemplate the potential backstory there, and it was like my mind approached the precipice of a vast, gaping abyss and peered into it before deciding, no. No, that is not an abyss I wish to look into, nor to have look into me. I'd almost managed to forget about the existence of this commercial, but you have just now reminded me, and I do not thank you for it.
posted by yasaman at 1:04 PM on June 25 [7 favorites]


I just hope the mother isn't a Helicopter parent.
posted by wcfields at 1:05 PM on June 25 [5 favorites]


Everything about those commercials makes me believe that they're fully intended to horrible (in multiple senses), and criticizing them for being that way is just playing into their game. For reference: the houseguest in the one where the wife serves snacks is visibly uncomfortable with everything about the situation to the point that he can't even look at the wife - he's your avatar. I think that one guy is maybe the only character in the ads (I've seen 4 different ones) that you're not supposed to recoil from. Why they thought that would be a successful ad campaign, I don't know.

I don't understand: you still have to plug the tv in, right? There's at least gonna be a power cord running to the tv, right?

Yeah, there's a disclaimer on the ads saying you still need a couple wires, so...
posted by LionIndex at 1:07 PM on June 25 [2 favorites]


I saw one of these while I was visiting my parents around father's day weekend (a rare visit/exposure to having a tv consistently broadcasting into your face) and I have to agree with Sticherbeast. Make more... make them darker... more abstract... more bizarre.

life imitates Tim and Eric.
posted by ghostbikes at 1:10 PM on June 25 [5 favorites]


I don't understand: you still have to plug the tv in, right? There's at least gonna be a power cord running to the tv, right?

Not with these babies!
posted by the man of twists and turns at 1:11 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


The next installment in the series just leaked (nsfw)
posted by tonycpsu at 1:21 PM on June 25 [3 favorites]


We all have our hang-ups -- some of them are just a little more obvious.

ISWYDD
posted by brundlefly at 1:21 PM on June 25


Not with these babies!

And I thought the Joes had discontinued use of the Broadcast Energy Transmitter after the Cobra-la incident.
posted by The Great Big Mulp at 1:31 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


Gee, it's almost as if advertising is about getting your attention instead of informing you about a product. As if there's no difference between good attention and bad attention when it comes to how memorable the advert is.

As if most people, after price, make purchase decisions based on whether they recognize one brand versus the alternatives, not based on the quality of the product. As if it's far easier to change perception of a brand from bad to good than from unknown to infamous.

As if advertising efficacy is so difficult to measure that it has little to no relationship with marketing budgets to begin with.

And don't forget that it's an ad for a satellite TV service provider, the one that's about to merge with AT&T so they can combine their strengths in ripping off consumers and explore new frontiers in poor customer service. Associating feelings of revulsion, confusion, surreality, horror and disbelief with the brand puts them way above par for that industry.
posted by ceribus peribus at 1:36 PM on June 25 [3 favorites]


How naive we all were when we hated the Arby's Oven Mitt.
posted by Kafkaesque at 1:38 PM on June 25 [8 favorites]


I have not seen these commercials, and the specific show I was watching when I didn't see them was Candle Cove.
posted by rifflesby at 1:41 PM on June 25 [4 favorites]


ceribus peribus: "Gee, it's almost as if advertising is about getting your attention instead of informing you about a product. As if there's no difference between good attention and bad attention when it comes to how memorable the advert is. "

ey good job dere will hunting
posted by boo_radley at 1:43 PM on June 25 [6 favorites]


I'm sorry?
posted by ceribus peribus at 1:46 PM on June 25


I concur. The puppets are super creepy.

Now that we have descended into the uncanny valley, can we all agree that the newer version of Mr. Clean is seriously disturbing?
posted by rekrap at 1:46 PM on June 25 [4 favorites]


For reference: the houseguest in the one where the wife serves snacks is visibly uncomfortable with everything about the situation to the point that he can't even look at the wife - he's your avatar.

On reflection I think this is entirely too generous. I don't think visitor dude is appalled at the stuff we find appalling, I think he's appalled that his poor friend is still dealing with all these wires (and rationalizing that they're a good thing, can you imagine!) when DirecTVTM totally has a better solution for that available.
posted by localroger at 1:49 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


Kaf, I always wanted the Arby's oven mitt to hook up with the Hamburger Helper hand and make sweet sweet love, but then I'm a romantic.
posted by jonmc at 1:51 PM on June 25 [14 favorites]


When Mrs. Puppet gave birth to PuppetBoy, did the strings just run up into her puppet womb? If so, does that mean she has a pair of hands up inside her to control her newborn and give it life? Or do puppets always give birth to stillborn babies that don't become alive until Ceiling Cat or whoever actually picks up their strings?

Next: how does PuppetBoy grow? Does he molt?
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 2:08 PM on June 25 [25 favorites]


Maybe it's like Strings.
posted by Small Dollar at 2:11 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


On the other end of the spectrum, the commercials I'm really enjoying are Sprint's Framily spots. Bonus points for Judy Greer.
posted by Thorzdad at 2:18 PM on June 25 [3 favorites]


Those ads really made me squirm. That was a worthy rant.
posted by Devils Rancher at 2:18 PM on June 25


I think puppet boy grows by his strings pulling in opposite directions. You know, like a torture rack.

Since puppet boy is a man/puppet hybrid, do you think his strings are actually veins? If you cut his strings, do they bleed???
posted by Think_Long at 2:23 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


So the actual value of the product they're selling is negligible, unless you are extremely interested in eliminating one (and only one) specific kind of wire that normally travels between the wall and your cable box. You still have to give power to the actual box and to the TV, and you still have to connect the wireless Genie to the TV. But DirecTV is suggesting that now the box is small enough that you can hide the whole thing behind your TV.

Thus it's not the ad agency's fault; they can't get blood from a stone. The commercial is absurd because they can't mask the absurdity of the premise (that anyone would actually switch TV providers over the presence/absence of a single coaxial cable), so they create an intentionally absurd situation and hope that you're too creeped out to notice.

It's DirecTV's fault. They're the ones who think this is something that the masses either want or care about, and if this particular agency didn't give them the attention-getting commercial they wanted they'd have moved on to the next one. I thought it was bad enough that they tried to sell their Genie system by anthropomorphizing it into a hot chick (revolutionary!) or tried to warn me that an increasingly improbable series of events will happen if I don't get rid of cable.

If the ads aren't annoying, it's not DirecTV. Fuck those guys.
posted by savetheclocktower at 2:23 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


The puppet spots' absurdity makes me chuckle, and obviously I am horribly wrong for this.
posted by DrAstroZoom at 2:23 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


When Mrs. Puppet gave birth to PuppetBoy, did the strings just run up into her puppet womb? If so, does that mean she has a pair of hands up inside her to control her newborn and give it life? Or do puppets always give birth to stillborn babies that don't become alive until Ceiling Cat or whoever actually picks up their strings?

Next: how does PuppetBoy grow? Does he molt?


I imagined it was some kind of remote controlled system. Like the soul of a person is in one of those puppets but to move it has to send signals up the wires and then back down, which is why they move so clumsily. Maybe the husband is some kind of techno-witch, who is punishing his family this way.
posted by Ray Walston, Luck Dragon at 2:29 PM on June 25 [4 favorites]


Omg, it's the puppets from Stingray. I thought they were in the Marianas Trench.
posted by fshgrl at 2:37 PM on June 25




Seriously the seduction one is appalling on countless levels. How they made her look; what they made her do; what they made her say; how they dressed her; how he reacts; the entire backstory such as it is. . . I die a little inside every time I see it.


Those moves are kinda jazzy though.
posted by louche mustachio at 3:02 PM on June 25 [2 favorites]


I hope DirecTV is cutting Gawker a nice check, because I had never heard of or seen these ads until now.
posted by threeants at 3:39 PM on June 25 [2 favorites]


Since puppet boy is a man/puppet hybrid, do you think his strings are actually veins? If you cut his strings, do they bleed???

They're nerves, so he spends his life in the searing pain of exposed nerves. He doesn't even know that physical existence isn't supposed to hurt.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 3:41 PM on June 25 [9 favorites]


I like these commercials too. I am, perhaps, too easily won over by puppets.
posted by prize bull octorok at 4:09 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


"one of my best friend's moms had multiple chemical sensitivity, and got so messed up when a cell phone tower first got turned on in her neighborhood that she had to leave New York for a couple years and make occasional visits until her tolerance built up. This is very totally a thing."

This is total bullshit, but at least you started it with a classic urban legend lead-in to tip us off.
posted by klangklangston at 4:43 PM on June 25 [32 favorites]


Now that we have descended into the uncanny valley, can we all agree that the newer version of Mr. Clean is seriously disturbing?

Seconded: the old Mr. Clean just seemed to want to clean stuff. I always feel the new one is plotting against us on some level. He's clearly up to something.
posted by umberto at 4:47 PM on June 25 [2 favorites]


Before he met his wife, dude probably masturbated into a pets.com mascot.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 4:48 PM on June 25 [7 favorites]


I find the puppet people more pitiful than annoying. There's something so vulnerable about them, with those wiggly arms and clumsy feet. Their expressions are almost always kind of worried, and you get the feeling that the puppet people have not had an easy time of it in life.

I think maybe you could read them as disabled or disfigured people, or just any group that's endured a lot of suspicion and cruelty because they were "different" from the norm. They have a lot of insecurity and defensiveness regarding their puppet-ness, but here they are in the suburbs trying to blend in and live "normal" lives.

I didn't get the alleged sexism thing in the ad where she asks if she still thinks she's pretty, because... well, partners in a marriage DO ask each other stuff like that! I definitely didn't interpret his response as smug or bro-y or whatever. It's more like he's trying to be calm and reassuring in the face of his wife's momentary self-doubt. When he says her would-be "sexy" dance is "kind of jazzy," I thought it was sweet. You get the feeling that maybe he IS a little weirded out by the whole puppet family thing, but he's where he wants to be and he'd never let his family think he had any misgivings about their weird bobbly heads. They seem like a happy family, although a very weird one.

I think I like these ads more than I thought I did.
posted by Ursula Hitler at 5:27 PM on June 25 [11 favorites]


I hope these commercials continue forever. I hope they keep escalating to the point where they're not even coherent commercials anymore, but rather just nightmarish glimpses of puppet porn from a universe where nothing means anything and there are no rules.

We should be so lucky if they end up being produced by the Don't Hug Me I'm Scared team.
posted by mykescipark at 5:29 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


When Mrs. Puppet gave birth to PuppetBoy, did the strings just run up into her puppet womb?

I think we have to accept she had the child before marriage, assuming the husband had the common decency to make an honest puppet out of her after the fact. It's like someone scoured the Real Doll ads, never wondered why one of them was almost half price and then found the Real Doll came with a Roomba that needed constant attention.
posted by yerfatma at 5:30 PM on June 25 [6 favorites]


The puppets are definitely inhabiting a metaphorical space that appears to be a stand in for all manner of minorities. You could read it as racism, ableism, sexism, or even classism and I'd say that reading would work. In a way it's an almost perfect encapsulation of everything wrong the majority cultural subconscious and its approach to minorities.

And I get the joke, at least I hope it was a joke, poking at the product itself. What possible benefit is gained from using WiFi on a DVR? There are some things that are all but designed for a wired connection, and stuff like a DVR falls into that category in my opinion. Who wants to pump their video through a narrow pipe?

But did he have to poke at the product with the bullshit lie of electrosensitivity? There's already too many gullible twerps out there who appear to genuinely believe that crap, and every article that brings it up in any context other than withering contemptuous condemnation at the stupidity of the concept adds fuel to the fire.

Overall, I think it was a pretty worthy rant, marred only by the spreading of the lie of so-called "electrosensitivity". 7/10. Would have been 8/10 without spreading and validating superstitious nonsense.
posted by sotonohito at 6:03 PM on June 25


My Aunt Katherine is ALLERGIC to wi-fi.

No, she isn't. There's been quite a lot of research on this, and although the symptoms are real, electromagnetic radiation is almost certainly not the cause.

Be honest, Gawker Contributor Price Peterson, you were just reaching for low-hanging fruit to try to make your histrionic rage at a mediocre ad campaign seem like it sprang from soil less petty and cynical than "I've got a deadline, what did I hate on TV last night?"
posted by belarius at 6:06 PM on June 25 [6 favorites]


This is total bullshit, but at least you started it with a classic urban legend lead-in to tip us off.

If it's total bullshit, I'd like to know whose apartment I was helping my best friend clean out after the death of its occupant. He certainly seemed hurt enough for it to have been his mother...
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:07 PM on June 25


"If it's total bullshit, I'd like to know whose apartment I was helping my best friend clean out after the death of its occupant. He certainly seemed hurt enough for it to have been his mother..."

Yeah, clearly the part I was calling bullshit on was it being his mother. I thought it was a complete stranger who had the entirely legitimate "wifi allergy."

Perhaps she didn't buy enough crystals to clean the apartment's aura?
posted by klangklangston at 6:10 PM on June 25 [5 favorites]


Klang, it's a thing. I don't know what to tell you.

But hey, tell the author of this article that her Aunt Katherine is bullshit too.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:19 PM on June 25


Oh. I chose that as the pull quote because I thought it was clearly a joke. I had no idea people were actually claiming there was such a thing as a WiFi allergy. Huh.
posted by davidjmcgee at 6:25 PM on June 25 [8 favorites]


FWIW, the font of all human knowledge says "Electromagnetic hypersensitivity is not currently an accepted diagnosis. At present there are no accepted research criteria other than 'self-reported symptoms', and for clinicians there is no case definition or clinical practice guideline."

It also says marionettes are "complex and sophisticated to operate, requiring greater manipulative control than a finger, glove or rod puppet" but does not go on to say "also, fuck those puppets."
posted by davidjmcgee at 6:28 PM on June 25 [7 favorites]


Different thing.

In any case, I'm sorry she was suffering.
posted by davidjmcgee at 6:37 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


[klangklangston/EmpressCallipygos, you guys should drop the back and forth at this point]
posted by mathowie at 6:42 PM on June 25


I think we need a WiFi Fanfare feature, so people can take it there.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:13 PM on June 25


I was sincere in my apology for being on a hair trigger. And my observation that at least we can all agree on the puppets being wack.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 7:15 PM on June 25


LionIndex nailed it. these commercials are meant to be awkward, and touch a nerve. Conceptually, they are pretty wild. i'm surprised people are so worked up, and can't just 'see through it.' When 99% of all commercials exist in a pseudo-viral-video universe of bland stereotypes (like those awful KFC "blog post" ones); at least these ones are truly strange. Also, this kind of article, with all the "edgy" swearing, is such a tired trope.
posted by coaster at 7:20 PM on June 25 [2 favorites]


I think I just acted out the defining scene of our era: having to watch an ad on Youtube in order to watch the ad you wanted to watch.
posted by threeants at 7:21 PM on June 25 [10 favorites]


adblock adblock bo badblock banana fana fo fadblock fee fi mo madblock
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 7:24 PM on June 25 [8 favorites]


I mean to be honest what would I do with the extra time anyway, there are only so many exciting customer surveys I can participate in
posted by threeants at 7:29 PM on June 25


what would I do with the extra time anyway

New Moon?
posted by davidjmcgee at 7:31 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


Oh thank you so much for this.

When these first aired, I immediately noted that marionettes have STRINGS and NOT WIRES. I have a bunch of old Pelham Puppets from the 60s and trust me--wires would not work at all. Strings. They're strings, f'chrissake. This has irritated me to an irrational degree and this piece just throws more fuel on my fire. My crackling, burning marionette fire.

Fuck these ads. Fuck 'em hard.
posted by kinnakeet at 7:57 PM on June 25 [2 favorites]


This is just Being John Malcovich/Mad Men fan fic. The up by Duck Philips, because at Grey, account men are expected to have ideas.
posted by bleep at 8:02 PM on June 25 [1 favorite]


And by "the" I mean "thought"!
posted by bleep at 8:09 PM on June 25


I wonder if Thomas Ligotti wrote these ads
posted by Renoroc at 8:43 PM on June 25


Just be glad if you're not watching Hulu Plus

Truer words have rarely been spoken.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:21 PM on June 25


Also my theory on the puppets is that the entire concept was written by the ad agency for a different client, maybe based around a "no strings attached" pun, which would be stupid but would actually make at least some minimal sense. But then for whatever reason they needed something for DirecTV and ran with it, and the DirecTV people bought it.
posted by Kadin2048 at 9:26 PM on June 25 [4 favorites]


Before he met his wife, dude probably masturbated into a pets.com mascot.
posted by robocop is bleeding
But, where's the love for the ferret?!?
posted by mon-ma-tron at 9:27 PM on June 25


I'm a little confused why people would continue to pay money to a shitty company who runs shitty ads, but I'm seriously not getting why this was ever written in the first place. Is this what passes for cultural commentary? Jesus.
posted by Emperor SnooKloze at 9:47 PM on June 25


but I'm seriously not getting why this was ever written in the first place.

I presume to make people laugh and discuss the commercials.

Is this what passes for cultural commentary?

No. I can tell because it doesn't mention Brechtian distanciation.
posted by muddgirl at 10:03 PM on June 25 [4 favorites]


Overall, I think it was a pretty worthy rant, marred only by the spreading of the lie of so-called "electrosensitivity".

The mind is an interesting thing. The 30% of a placebo "works" seems to be a myth but some people can work themselves into thinking they are electrosentive enough so their bodies react where others don't. Thus one can see someone who is obviously effected around electronic stuff.

I got dragged into the world of 1 person who made such a claim by a lawyer - and got paid for some of my time with this person. They believed they were one of these electrosensitives and had an array of cheap gadgets with no useful legal outputs to reinforce their worldview. Now one of these devices was sensitive enough to pick up the regular cellular transmission from the smart meter and express it in a spike in the local magnetic field - but my taking a refrigerator magnet from the local environment and moving it fast past the meter ALSO made it spike. Once they told me they could tell they were "under electronic attack" because of ear ringing and kidney pain I mentioned uncontrolled high blood pressure to not only them but the lawyer involved as a possible issue and mentioned how the statements about the attacks happening the closer court dates came may have a correlation. Soon after the lawyer bailed on their case.

I never got to deploy the laptop with a modified DSP to get an idea of the relative field intensities to 1.6 GHz, but I did want to see their local home environment VS the hotel they'd go and stay at when "the attacks got bad" because my guess is the 10 watts of overall home electrical use (unless the furnace was running) resulted in less EM than a hotel.

(for people who might find the idea of electricity/EM effecting biology an interesting question I'll just leave this claim about a 1964 USDA thing In 1964, the USDA performed tests in which a negative electrode was placed high in a tree, and the positive electrode was connected to a nail driven into the base of the tree. Stimulation with 60 volts DC substantially increased leaf density on electrified branches after a month. Within a year, foliage increased 300% on those branches!)
posted by rough ashlar at 6:50 AM on June 26 [2 favorites]


adblock adblock bo badblock banana fana fo fadblock fee fi mo madblock

Doesn't work properly anymore because I'm suddenly seeing ads in the middle of youtube videos on all browsers that I have had adblock installed in for years despite having made no changes to any of the settings, byeee.
posted by elizardbits at 7:18 AM on June 26


I hope DirecTV is cutting Gawker a nice check, because I had never heard of or seen these ads until now.

I might just be too jaded, but a couple paragraphs in, I was pretty sure that this was sponsored content. The way it's "edgy," but the joke isn't on DirecTV; it's on the author of the article. It felt very much like one of those Buzzfeed sponsored lists.

But I don't see an acknowledgment anywhere, which I think they would legally have to provide.
posted by roll truck roll at 8:15 AM on June 26 [1 favorite]


I think they just took their cues from those weird-ass Skittles/Starburst commercials from a couple years ago: If your TV spot is weird enough, you'll get a shitload of free advertising out of it from people who think they're somehow running counter to your goals.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 8:57 AM on June 26


I think the recent Hopper commercials (with the stuffed kangaroo that comes to life) are a bit weird, but they also explain WTF the Hopper does and why you'd want it.

These commercials are weird seemingly for the sake of being wierd. In the first place I don't find wires to be ugly and this commercial actively fights against the idea that they are by presenting a family that needs "wires" to live and move; in the second place I don't know how this device gets rid of all my TV wires (the power cable? my DVD player cable?); in the third place televisions on commercials never have wires going to them anyway, so lampshading that fact in this commercial is just odd; and in the fourth place marionettes have strings, not wires.
posted by muddgirl at 9:14 AM on June 26


As disturbing as the ad with the wife is (and it is), the one with the son bothers me on some basis parental level, where we're expected to laugh at this kid for things that are out of his control. As if there were a commercial where the humor was based on a kid with Down's or autism or Tourette's. At least Puppet Mom is a grown-up. Or maybe I'm thinking too much about this?

[Seconding those Sprint Framily commercials. They are delightfully surreal.]
posted by Ben Trismegistus at 12:33 PM on June 26


I feel sorry for that kid because neither of his parents ever removed that spinning death trap they call a fan from his house. Somebody call CPS!
posted by InfidelZombie at 12:37 PM on June 26


I keep getting a recurring Hulu ad for Hot Pockets where the best compliment some poor random guy on the street can come up with for the Hot Pockets Sandwich Artist Who Really Knows Sandwiches is that in these new food-truck sevred Hot Pockets he can "really taste the flavor." The faintest of faint praise.

At least the repetitive Lumosity ads make me giggle now, thank you Mallory Orberg.
posted by maryr at 12:50 PM on June 26


I assumed that the guy built his puppet-wife and kid himself, and somehow has the whole house wired up to control the puppets, with lots of different pre-programmed scenarios set to run at random times, so he can pretend his creepy puppet-family is real. The friend who's visiting in the ad with the lemonade? Someone the guy kidnapped or lured in, who is now desperately trying to figure out how to escape.
posted by sarcasticah at 2:55 PM on June 26 [6 favorites]


Hey, maybe these ads are just the backdoor pilot for a horror film.

AVAILABLE ONLY ON DIRECTV!
posted by davidjmcgee at 4:25 PM on June 26


Didn't the Geico caveman get their own TV show? Maybe it's the next season of American Horror Story.
posted by codacorolla at 5:52 PM on June 26


I realize I'm late to this party but yes, fuck those ads in their fucking ears.

They are just terrible, with hoorifically reinforced gender stereotyping and--important point--WHO IS HOLDING THE FUCKING STRINGS AND HOW WHEN THE HOUSE HAS A SECOND FLOOR?

The one where the kid gets caught in the ceiling fan and goes "whee" was darkly funny though. Kinda.
posted by feckless fecal fear mongering at 7:13 AM on June 27


I am looking forward SO MUCH to the body horror fanfic that will come from these commercials in the Yuletide challenge.
posted by nicebookrack at 12:41 PM on June 30 [1 favorite]


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