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Steven.
July 9, 2002 3:51 PM   Subscribe

Steven. Steven. Steven. I can't get enough of this incredibly-cute-but-I-don't-normally-go-for-such-obvious-twinkiness pitchperson for Dell Computers. Apparently, neither can anyone else, as Steven (or more properly, actor Ben Curtis) has been Dell's most successful advertising, uh, tool ever. Why do we love him? His Bill'n'Ted vocabulary? His toothy grin? Whatever the reason, at least now I no longer have to glue myself to the television to watch his latest commercial overandoverandoverand Dude, I'll get a Dell if you deliver it to me personally. So to speak. Is it wrong to love a fictional character so much? Is there a support group? Any other MeFites have a strange attraction going on here? I can't be the only one, can I?
posted by WolfDaddy (66 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Oh dear, what have you done to the front page?!!?
posted by dash_slot- at 4:00 PM on July 9, 2002


I like him, too. Shh, don't tell.
posted by katieinshoes at 4:03 PM on July 9, 2002


If Steven were on fire, I wouldn't piss on him to put it out.
posted by Optamystic at 4:04 PM on July 9, 2002


How could you guys like him?! Really, I don't get it, he's really annoying.

He reminds me of the old gen x pitchman for that online brokerage or whatever it was, that helped people at his company get online. He had big sideburns. Someone help me out here, he was in the Clinton parody movie made at the whitehouse. At least that guy was given funny lines, the dell guy is just a dim bulb saying "dude" too much.

Isn't it strange that Dell choses to try and sell computers by using a character that seems like he should be working at a gas station? Wouldn't someone seemingly smarter be a better spokesperson?
posted by mathowie at 4:07 PM on July 9, 2002


How could you guys like him?!

I DON'T KNOW!!! That's what's so frightening.

Wouldn't someone seemingly smarter be a better spokesperson?

No, because all the smart people already have computers. I'm thinking "lowest common denominator" here. Dude.
posted by WolfDaddy at 4:11 PM on July 9, 2002


Hmmmmm, Steven, or a balding CEO yackin' at a talking cow? Which computer should I buy?

(I build my own, Dood)

That having been said, I think the Steven campaign is one of the cleverest and most consistently memorable I've seen to date, and sure beats the hell out of the clueless freaks in Job's "Switch" ads. Just remember, DELL = Don't Expect a Lotta Love.
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:12 PM on July 9, 2002


Someone help me out here

Stuart. I think he got fired after helping Mr. P get on the wave of the future to buy some Kmart stock.
posted by machaus at 4:13 PM on July 9, 2002


Irritatingly like the "It's like punk rock" Subaru guy. Sheep and children like him because they don't know any better.
posted by TurkeyMustard at 4:13 PM on July 9, 2002


The first time I saw Ben-Steven in a Dell commercial, he was sort of awkward-cute, like a puppy learning to run. He reminded me a lot of Peter DeLuise, back in the Jump Street days.

Now, I just want to see him die in excruciating agony.

Nothing personal, y'understand. I felt the same way about Clara Peller too.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 4:20 PM on July 9, 2002


Do you buy everything you see on TV?

You sound like an advertisers wet dream. Do you not get up to go to the bathroom during commercials either?
posted by Starchile at 4:20 PM on July 9, 2002


Steven. Bane of My Existence.
posted by jonmc at 4:22 PM on July 9, 2002


Steven makes me sad to be an NYU alum.
posted by dogmatic at 4:23 PM on July 9, 2002


I posted a very brief rant about Dell Dork Steve on my site several months ago, and it is the second-most searched-for item in my SiteMeter logs. Number one, sadly, is "daniel pearl murder execution video." "Steven's" commercials are memorable for their memorable-ness.

Having said that...Gateway's commercials are just the coolest ones EVER. I love that cow. Best one: he & Ted watching the filming of a sales video, which features many writhing Britney-wannabes.
Ted to cow: "The new computers look pretty good." (or to that effect)
Cow reply: "What computers?"

Wish Ted would cut his damn ponytail, though...freakin' hippie.
posted by davidmsc at 4:24 PM on July 9, 2002


Gateway's commercials are just the coolest ones EVER

*shaking head in sad denial*
posted by Wulfgar! at 4:28 PM on July 9, 2002


Watch out, WolfDaddy, the AdBusters kiddies are going to come to your house and deprogram you in your sleep.


How could you guys like him?! Really, I don't get it, he's really annoying.

Well, speaking for myself, Matt, I think it's because he's totally shaggable. I hate the commercials, yet the character provides just enough fantasy fodder to make them tolerable for a randy gay such as myself. He's an archetype- the cute, dim-witted late teenage lad who works at Target, or Appleby's, or wherever, who seems easily malleable and seduce-able. Just give him a ride after his shift is over, ply him with a few beers and a joint, and his supple little frame is yours for a few hours. (Did our jonmc ever fit this demographic? heh.) I've met quite a few of these sorts of lads, and this scenario never fails.

Ahem. But I digress.

I suspect this accounts (to a greater or lesser degree) for Steve's popularity with the gay male demographic. Am I right, WolfDaddy? As for why anyone else likes him, it's a mystery to me. The spots were cute at first, but they're way too self-conscious now.
posted by evanizer at 4:36 PM on July 9, 2002


*begins pounding head against desk*
posted by jonmc at 4:37 PM on July 9, 2002


Did our jonmc ever fit this demographic?

I unequivocally state that I have never been supple.
posted by jonmc at 4:39 PM on July 9, 2002


Do you buy everything you see on TV?

No, but only because the commercials are stripped from the TV episodes I download from Usenet. Who needs TiVo?

I guess now wouldn't be the time to mention The Meaty Cheesy Boys and how I love them, but never eat at Jack in the Box (Flash site), would it? Sometimes adverts are good for things other than consumerism.
posted by WolfDaddy at 4:39 PM on July 9, 2002


Am I right, WolfDaddy?

Um. Yeah. It just sounds so CHEAP when you phrase it like you did. *whimper*

I unequivocally state that I have never been supple.

I note you failed to deny that you are "malleable and seduce-able" however.
posted by WolfDaddy at 4:41 PM on July 9, 2002


oooh and I also love that guy Jared from the Subway commercials! Have you seen that one where Jared meets the trench coat guy from the other Subway commercials and they have a little verbal sparring? Oh, classic tv. You know what would be nice? To see Mr. Dell, Mr. Subway and Jared in one commercial together. Then they could get that Digital Sprint PCS guy in the trench coat! Oh what adventures they'd have!

*begins to bite through wrists to loose self from mortal coil*
posted by eyeballkid at 4:43 PM on July 9, 2002


Could it be that MeFi has become meta-threaded? The next discussion is entitled "The incredible shrinking thought" ^_^ Appropriate for a chat on the Dell Dork...
posted by clevershark at 4:52 PM on July 9, 2002


Dood, this is so gay!
posted by anathema at 4:53 PM on July 9, 2002


I am reminded of that kid who used to sell Encyclopaedia Brittanica (the one with glasses, remember?). Now he was annoying. Steven is not as bad, but I am very tempted to turn the channel when he is on.
posted by paladin at 4:56 PM on July 9, 2002


They're are great advertising because now you're not getting indistinguishable computer thx-1138, you're getting a DELL. That's advertising genius.

As for the rest of it, you fellas are on your own.

And Hencio did a nice little S.A.B. for DellBoy.
posted by NortonDC at 5:05 PM on July 9, 2002


Just because I feel like I have to one-up paladin, I haven't hated a TV salesperson this much since Jungle Jimmy ("rhinos only eat at night and they sleep standing up" - anyone remember the kid who sold those wildlife cards?). Steven is much, much worse Jimmy or even than Joe Isuzu.

I have daydreams where I kick the crap out of "Steven" just after he gets his diploma. My favorite part is the panicked look on his face when when I tell him, "Dude, you're getting a beatdown."
posted by Samsonov14 at 5:11 PM on July 9, 2002


I think it's because he's totally shaggable

Seriously? I have a window of approximately 3 seconds to change the channel when a Dell commercial comes on. Any longer and my girlfriend starts raging about how much she hates him. I don't think she's repressing anything. I can't find the link, but those who care might find an article about Dellboy in the archives of the Morning News.

As an aside, please don't equate him to Stuart from Ameritrade. That was a terrific ad. "I'm going to try to make it Stuart. I really am."
posted by yerfatma at 5:13 PM on July 9, 2002


that encyclopedia kid takes the cake... hands down.
posted by ggggarret at 5:17 PM on July 9, 2002


Of course, before Stuart (Michael Maronna) was Stuart, he was the older Pete on Nickelodeon's "Pete & Pete". That article linked above makes it sound like he was undiscovered before the Ameritrade commercials.

And the most annoying kid used in a commercial manner is, hands-down, the little snot on the Farina box.
posted by stefnet at 5:49 PM on July 9, 2002


Farina boy? You mean Zulatran?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 5:58 PM on July 9, 2002


Not to start a platform holy war here (too), but you PC weenies can keep your slack-jawed Steven. Personally, my spokesdork fantasies are all about Apple's nameless "Rip. Mix. Burn." guy. Rowr!
posted by bradlands at 6:01 PM on July 9, 2002


To answer your question, WolfDaddy, you're definitely not alone. I have named an external drive I use with my Inspiron "Steven" so that I may mount him on a nightly basis.
posted by dougb at 6:04 PM on July 9, 2002


Ooo. Matt, you can delete this thread. I've found BenCurtisfans.net -- the only support group I'll ever need!

I'm sure this irritates all Steven-haters to no end. Neener.

Oh, and dougb? After visiting your site, guess to what I've decided to re-name my (re)mountable drive? Neener neener!

Don't worry RJReynolds, you're still my #1 guy.
posted by WolfDaddy at 6:28 PM on July 9, 2002


Just so you know, Dell added sexual orientation to its non-discrimination policy fairly late in the game, in 2001. Here's a 1993 soc.motss thread that expressed major annoyance at Dell.

Still, you're not alone in liking the guy, Wolfdaddy: "Dell's home consumer market share has soared despite a struggling economy that has many other competitors suffering. And the actor who stars in the company's campaign is riding a dream break to hot commodity status..."

Some interesting gay reactions to Ben in this soc.motss thread from last December, including my fave: "I *thought* I was in love with him when I saw the early commercials. It has since become obvious that what I loved was the way the early commercials were edited."

He's an archetype- the cute, dim-witted late teenage lad who works at Target, or Appleby's, or wherever, who seems easily malleable and seduce-able.

That was my reaction, too.

The spots were cute at first, but they're way too self-conscious now.

That was my reaction, too.
posted by mediareport at 6:38 PM on July 9, 2002


Oops, I'm sorry. The 2001 date was for domestic partner benefits, not the non-discrimination policy. Still, that's late, especially for the oh-so-enlightened tech industry. And this comment from Dell's 1993 letter is just appallingly stupid: "It is inappropriate for any governmental body or special interest group to attempt to influence Dell's, or any other company's benefits policies. If the comments being made about Dell are aimed at pressuring the company into changing its benefits policy, these tactics will not be successful."

Ok, it was 9 years ago. But it still doesn't speak very well of Dell.
posted by mediareport at 6:45 PM on July 9, 2002


If a straight guy was going on about some barely-legal girl the way you gay fellas are going on about young Steve, I'm guessin' there'd be much gnashing of teeth.

Just an observation...
posted by Optamystic at 6:45 PM on July 9, 2002


Oh yeah? Well I'm partial to the DJ chick in the Apple 'Switch' ads.
posted by jeff-o-matic at 6:47 PM on July 9, 2002


Yeah, well, Optamystic, that's just one of the benefits of being a gayboy. Ha ha!

What, you don't think homosexual supremacists exist or sumpin'? Sheesh.

Okay, I'm exiting this thread ... I've obviously created a monster. Chuckle.
posted by WolfDaddy at 6:49 PM on July 9, 2002


It's all good, Wolfie. I'm not offended or anything. Just making a half-assed observation, is all.
posted by Optamystic at 6:52 PM on July 9, 2002


i'd sure like to check out his hard drive!
posted by billybob at 6:52 PM on July 9, 2002


I note you failed to deny that you are "malleable and seduce-able" however.

You could never afford me, bubba...
posted by jonmc at 7:14 PM on July 9, 2002


If a straight guy was going on about some barely-legal girl the way you gay fellas are going on about young Steve, I'm guessin' there'd be much gnashing of teeth.

Barely legal? Oh, come on, he's extremely legal (21 years, 249 days to be precise; but who's counting?)

That's way more legal than Britney Spears (although admittedly I haven't done as much research on her). I bet a great many straight men have "gone on" about her without evoking the least bit of teeth-gnashing.

And thank you, WD :-)
posted by dougb at 7:15 PM on July 9, 2002


I'm not as proud about living in Chattanooga since he announced that it's his hometown....

Before Ben:
A: Where are you from?
B: Chattanooga, Tennessee
A: Oh, home of the "Chattanooga Choo-Choo"

Now:
A: Where are you from?
B: Chattanooga, Tennessee
A: Oh, that's where the Dell dude is from!
B: I wouldn't know, I use an Apple.

posted by mkelley at 7:23 PM on July 9, 2002


Damn you jonmc. Damn you to hell for making me break my "I'm exiting the thread" oath. However:

so what you're saying is that everythingone has its their price, yes? *cracks knuckles* shall we commence to haggle?

*running away very far very fast* (and you're welcome, dougb, and yeah all good Optamystic, though you'll note I refrained from mentioning the "X DAYS TIL NATALIE PORTMAN IS LEGAL" thing that countingdown.com had goin' there. Til now, anyways. Now leemee alone, I'm running away from this thread. Race you to su's tesseract.)
posted by WolfDaddy at 7:26 PM on July 9, 2002


i vote for rip, mix, burn, stephen was sorta interesting in the first ones, but he looks sickly and weird lately, plus he was in a car with a girl in some commercial i think, and that is such a turn off :P
posted by rhyax at 7:44 PM on July 9, 2002


I agree. Let's rip him, mix him, and burn him.

The existence of this thread is too great a testament to his power. We should unleash it on Osama or send him to Yucca Mt.
posted by sj at 8:05 PM on July 9, 2002


jonmc: if I give you a shiny quarter, can I touch your knee?

>:D
posted by metrocake at 8:09 PM on July 9, 2002


a quarter!!???

w00t! I'm naming a Ferrari after you....
posted by jonmc at 8:11 PM on July 9, 2002


Just give him a ride after his shift is over, ply him with a few beers and a joint, and his supple little frame is yours for a few hours.

that's just... that's just so very very wrong...

wrong.

VERY wrong.
posted by lotsofno at 8:52 PM on July 9, 2002


lotsofno, I agree. A few hours with a supple young man would kill an old fart like evanizer.

*runs*
posted by mr_crash_davis at 9:09 PM on July 9, 2002


I'm surprised at the homoeroticism of Dell dude, when there is the very cute and very out of the closet "Can you hear me now? Good!" Verizon guy out there, just ripe for the pickin'. (And recently single in real life, from what I hear.)

But in any case, for me, the only good spokesman is an adult spokesman. And if he pitches a product that I already have, therefore immunizing me from his sales pitches, even better. And when he can hold his own with such b-list celeb-wannabes as the MIB Wormguys, Charo, Shamu and Richard Simmons, well, I'm smitten. So you can have your Gateway cows and Dell dudes and whomever else, just give me Black Trenchcoat Sprint PCS Guy and we'll call it even.
posted by Dreama at 9:20 PM on July 9, 2002


Mmm. Dell Steve plus Original Style Steve. I'll be the bacon. Wow, this thread is really tacky. I'm proud of you, WolfDaddy!

Oooo Sprint PCS Guy... Grrr... good call!

Let's turn off our TVs, shall we?
posted by RJ Reynolds at 9:52 PM on July 9, 2002


RJ Reynolds, I called dibs on Original Style Steve like, years ago. It pays to have little kids. You should see what happens when a bunch of mothers get together and start talking about guys like Steve or the Krofft Brothers. But that's a whole 'nother topic!
posted by Dreama at 10:02 PM on July 9, 2002


i'm a bit late on this one, but the degrees of separation 'twixt me and the dell fellow might be lower than many of you. you see, i attended chattanooga state for a year and a half in the early 90s. i took french from a professor named anne curtis. i found out just last month that anne curtis is...

the dell dude's mom.
posted by grabbingsand at 10:04 PM on July 9, 2002


Dude, you're totally getting a boner.
posted by kirkaracha at 10:25 PM on July 9, 2002


Hey, neat. The gay letches have over-ridden the antikapitalist kids and the reflexive boob-toob haters. Nifty. I like this thread.
posted by jammer at 10:29 PM on July 9, 2002


Wait a minute, there are gay people here?
posted by mr_crash_davis at 10:35 PM on July 9, 2002


CONSUMER WHORE!!!!!!!
posted by Kodel at 11:18 PM on July 9, 2002


I like the Steven commercials, probably because they're way better than the standard "Buy A Floptium XKJ20380! And Rule the world!" or Apple's smarmy "Oh, look, I'm a 'new media graphic somebody' and I use a Mac so you should too or else you can't wear the black turtleneck". Or the Intel "clean room" idiots dancing around.
posted by owillis at 11:18 PM on July 9, 2002


during the world cup, i kept seeing the verizon guy on univision. same commercial, except there he says:

¿escucha? ¡bueno!
posted by mlang at 11:23 PM on July 9, 2002


Where the Encyclopedia Britannica Kid is Today. Or maybe not. Also, larkmike's Britannica Boy Answers.

<hetero>
For shaggable sheilas in ads, I vote for the Allstate girl who at first seems to be whining about her boyfriend (best part: the eye-roll by the black woman at the other table), the Brooke Shields toothpaste ad (if that is her, I'm uncertain), the Tic-Tac gal, and the British spitfire for that whitening gum. Oh, and the girl touting Wendy's 99 cent menu to her grandma.
</hetero>
posted by dhartung at 12:34 AM on July 10, 2002


I like this guy so much, I wanna hit him with a truck because I'm afraid of losing him. dude, you're gettin' a concussion!
posted by mcsweetie at 1:06 PM on July 10, 2002


¿escucha? ¡bueno!

Hey, adorably cute, no fear of heights, well-travelled, well-versed in the riding of burros, and bilingual! If only my brother were single...

(No slight intended toward his actual SO, who is one of my best friends and someone I love muchly.)
posted by Dreama at 2:38 PM on July 10, 2002


Hey, neat. The gay letches have over-ridden the antikapitalist kids and the reflexive boob-toob haters. Nifty. I like this thread.

hey! i'm a gay antikapitalist kid! screw you! :P

gay anticapitalists represent! ;)
posted by rhyax at 6:21 PM on July 10, 2002


Add another vote for rip/mix/burn boy over the dellbot. And Evanizer, I've been on both sides of that sweet intoxication you speak of, and don't regret any of it :)
posted by holycola at 10:32 AM on July 11, 2002


Holy Cola, Batman! May I buy you a drink, cutie?

*wink*
posted by evanizer at 12:38 PM on July 11, 2002


This thread has got to explain why that old Maytag repairman suddenly has a dashing young intern now...
posted by pzarquon at 1:44 AM on July 12, 2002


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