expands canon in a way that only Mac and Me dared to do in the 1980s
November 28, 2019 8:20 AM   Subscribe

The E.T. sequel finally happened ... in the form of a commercial [YouTube] “Thirty-seven years after Elliot (Henry Thomas) made contact with an extraterrestrial, took a magical bike ride through the skies, then sent the otherworldly being back on his way home, “E.T.” returns to Earth in a brand new sequel to Steven Spielberg’s 1982 film. [...] In the four-minute short, E.T. drops down in grown-up Elliot’s backyard and befriends his old pal’s kids just in time for Christmas. As a found family, they have dinner, resurrect dead plants, have snowball fights, play with the family VR headset — it’s 2019! — and introduce E.T. to the wonders of the internet. Specifically, Xfinity high-speed internet. Which kids love.” [via: Polygon]
posted by Fizz (57 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
 
the continuation comes in the form of a commercial for Xfinity cable television and internet...
...“Looking at the storyboards, I could see exactly why Steven [Spielberg] was really behind it, because the integrity of the story isn’t lost in this retelling.”....


Well, I believe E.T is considered the trail blazer for product placement in film, so...I guess so?
posted by nubs at 8:24 AM on November 28, 2019 [8 favorites]


I "noped" out of that 20 seconds in.
posted by cirhosis at 8:28 AM on November 28, 2019 [4 favorites]


Should have been a Disney+ commercial instead, with Baby Grebleips and Baby Yoda playing together in the snow.
posted by jozxyqk at 8:34 AM on November 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


The sequel isn’t the only canonical expansion to the world since the 1982 movie; the alien species shows up in the Galactic Senate in one shot of Phantom Menace (meaning E.T. exists in the Star Wars universe), and the character showed up during the medal ceremony of a 1995 episode of Nickelodeon’s Guts (meaning E.T. exists in the Mike O’Malley universe).

Ah yes, gotta love the assumption that all appearances like this are meaningful and never just a jokey way to fill in a crowd scene. This sort of thinking ultimately leads you to one place: the Westphall Continuum.
posted by egypturnash at 8:42 AM on November 28, 2019 [6 favorites]


That felt so artificial, I might as well have eaten Reece's Pieces made out of styrofoam.
posted by KHAAAN! at 8:45 AM on November 28, 2019 [8 favorites]


Also, Gertie's gonna be pissed when she finds out nobody called her about this...
posted by jozxyqk at 8:50 AM on November 28, 2019 [5 favorites]


"sequel" ... Do words not mean anything? Fuck Comcast
posted by jazon at 8:50 AM on November 28, 2019 [5 favorites]


Also, Gertie's gonna be pissed when she finds out nobody called her about this...

I choose to believe that this is the same universe in which Charlie's Angels exists and so Gertie grew up to become a super kick-ass-spy-assassin. It's canon in my brain.
posted by Fizz at 8:51 AM on November 28, 2019 [17 favorites]


the [ET] alien species shows up in the Galactic Senate in one shot of Phantom Menace (meaning E.T. exists in the Star Wars universe)

I hadn't had that scene pointed out to me previously.
posted by fairmettle at 8:52 AM on November 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


It was a weak sauce retread of the same old scenes.
posted by grumpybear69 at 8:52 AM on November 28, 2019


the [ET] alien species shows up in the Galactic Senate in one shot of Phantom Menace (meaning E.T. exists in the Star Wars universe)

I hadn't had that scene pointed out to me previously.


This was George Lucas returning the favor for this scene:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wA1SLrPXLc0

and (as I mentioned above), the race is canonically named "Grebleips" in the Star Wars universe, which is Spielberg backwards.

It also implies that somehow ET and Star Wars share a universe, but at the same time Star Wars is a movie in that universe which inspires Halloween costumes, so it's best not to think about it.
posted by jozxyqk at 8:56 AM on November 28, 2019 [8 favorites]


This is going to do the same thing to my brain as seeing the Muppets shilling for Facebook, isn’t it.
posted by RobotVoodooPower at 9:00 AM on November 28, 2019 [6 favorites]


Fizz: "Xfinity high-speed internet. Which kids love"

ISPses Pieces.
posted by chavenet at 9:01 AM on November 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


(my mistake. The race is "Asogian". Grebleips is the name of one of the senators who appears in the TPM scene. Sorry for getting that slightly wrong, Star Wars nerds...)
posted by jozxyqk at 9:10 AM on November 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


and the character showed up during the medal ceremony of a 1995 episode of Nickelodeon’s Guts (meaning E.T. exists in the Mike O’Malley universe)

Wait, Guts was just a competition show, no alternate-world setting. So that's just what we're calling the real world, the "Mike O'Malley universe"?

I mean, he seems like a nice guy, but still.
posted by solotoro at 9:24 AM on November 28, 2019 [5 favorites]


Also, this "sequel" is like the most late stage capitalism kind of bullshit. Something concocted in a nightmarish boardroom meeting.

EXECUTIVE #1: “How can we both pander and exploit at the same time.”
EXECUTIVE #2: “Have any of you ever seen E.T.?”
posted by Fizz at 9:31 AM on November 28, 2019 [14 favorites]


Specifically, Xfinity high-speed internet. Which kids love.

Nope. As much as I'd like to think this is worth watching, I'm not gonna give 'em the click-through. Eff Xfinity.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:33 AM on November 28, 2019 [3 favorites]


I’ve lost count of the things from my childhood that got fully mined for selling junk. That said, Muppets for Facebook (!!!) is a level up - way worse - for me than E.T. for Comcast.
posted by hijinx at 9:35 AM on November 28, 2019 [4 favorites]


Muppets for Facebook (!!!) is a level up - way worse - for me than E.T. for Comcast.

What a lovely Black Mirror Thanksgiving for all of us!!
posted by Fizz at 9:39 AM on November 28, 2019 [8 favorites]


*watches video*

Ok. So.

It's not the holidays until the guys in space suits wordlessly burst in and the whole house is tented in a positively-pressurized plastic shroud.

What? You didn't have childhood nightmares about that for months on end?

Get off my lawn.
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 9:47 AM on November 28, 2019 [17 favorites]


Am I the only one who thinks the "raped my childhood" crowd shows a wierd double standard when it comes to stuff like this?

A female Ghostbuster? "AARRGGH!!".
ET shilling for Comcast? "Awwwww...."
posted by Paul Slade at 9:49 AM on November 28, 2019 [9 favorites]


Probably because the first example is an actual departure from the comfort of the familiar and expected; the second example is the commercialization of our nostalgia, which is about as expected, familiar, and comfortable as it gets?
posted by nubs at 9:53 AM on November 28, 2019 [2 favorites]


I've thought a lot about this comment from former Mefite Prospero, about the fundamental cynicism of Spielberg movies:
"Time and again in his movies you get a nuclear family that's abandoned by its father figure to chase some wild-eyed fantasy, because in Spielberg's world families just aren't meant to hold together, for people prefer idle idealistic fantasies to the family structure that's supposed to be the realization of the American dream. In Jaws the family gets abandoned for some guy to chase a giant shark. In Close Encounters of the Third Kind the family (which is even more deliberately annoying, especially the screaming kids) gets abandoned for some guy to chase a spaceship. In Hook the family gets abandoned for some guy to play Peter Pan. And ET is a pretty clever trick, because while you, the audience member, are distracted by the little animatronic alien making its quirky noises, just as if you're the standard Spielberg protagonist, you don't have your eye on the ball--you're not noticing the single mother in the kitchen who drifts off to the edge of the frame and cries for a little while, then turns and re-enters the action with a false smile on her face as if there's nothing wrong. And listen to the wisecracks that the doctors make over ET's corpse--that is a complicated and bitter movie, with a deliberate sugarcoating to make the subversion commercially palatable."
I'm not going to watch it; but I'm going to assume that a four minute commercial is simply that Spielbergian cynicism evolving into its final form.
posted by mhoye at 9:54 AM on November 28, 2019 [11 favorites]


I choose to believe that this is the same universe in which Charlie's Angels exists and so Gertie grew up to become a super kick-ass-spy-assassin.

Whereas in my head canon, Gertie grew up to be a Santa Clarita zombie.
posted by warriorqueen at 10:06 AM on November 28, 2019 [2 favorites]


This is going to do the same thing to my brain as seeing the Muppets shilling for Facebook, isn’t it.

And how do you feel about Muppets shilling for Farmers Insurance?
posted by Kirth Gerson at 10:29 AM on November 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


This was just terrible. Then again, maybe it was written by an AI who only had the original film and Comcast commercials to work with.
posted by Mchelly at 10:51 AM on November 28, 2019 [5 favorites]


And Peanuts sold MetLife for 30 years
Somehow it didn’t feel like shilling though..
posted by calgirl at 10:55 AM on November 28, 2019 [1 favorite]


(meaning E.T. exists in the Mike O’Malley universe)
Wait, Guts was just a competition show, no alternate-world setting. So that's just what we're calling the real world, the "Mike O'Malley universe"?


There is no E.T., only The Rick.
posted by Huffy Puffy at 11:21 AM on November 28, 2019


It's not the holidays until the guys in space suits wordlessly burst in and the whole house is tented in a positively-pressurized plastic shroud.

What? You didn't have childhood nightmares about that for months on end?

For me it was the scene in which the adults storm the bathroom that E.T. and the kids were holed up in...ugh. I kind of checked out of the movie after that weirdness.
posted by zardoz at 11:45 AM on November 28, 2019 [2 favorites]




I'm having issues with the Sesame Street Muppets being used to sell Farmer's Insurance at the moment. I'm much to concerned about that to be bothered with this whole E.T. situation.

Like, not the actual Muppet family of muppets. The muppets which were USED TO TEACH CHILDREN THINGS ABOUT LIFE ARE NOW SELLING SHIT TO THE SAME CHILDREN WHO ARE NOW ADULTS.

This level of subliminal horror as far as "trust our company" through advertising has me frothing. Who even approved this?
posted by hippybear at 12:07 PM on November 28, 2019 [12 favorites]


" Specifically, Xfinity high-speed internet. Which kids love.”

Fuck. That. Noise.
posted by Catblack at 12:13 PM on November 28, 2019


“The audience is going to get everything they want out of a sequel without the messy bits that could destroy the beauty of the original and the special place it has in people’s minds and hearts,”

We are going to Thomas Kinkade the shit out of this!

The sequel isn’t the only canonical expansion to the world since the 1982 movie; the alien species shows up in the Galactic Senate in one shot of Phantom Menace (meaning E.T. exists in the Star Wars universe), and the character showed up during the medal ceremony of a 1995 episode of Nickelodeon’s Guts (meaning E.T. exists in the Mike O’Malley universe).

There is also an E.T. skull in the trophy room in Predator 2. Just because it wasn't actually shown in the movie doesn't mean that it isn't in there somewhere.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 12:42 PM on November 28, 2019 [4 favorites]


I read a book sequel to E.T. which googling reveals is called The Book of the Green Planet

Even as a kid I found it a little sad to think E.T. didn't have anyone of his own species that was as important to him as this kid he met on Earth.
posted by RobotHero at 1:29 PM on November 28, 2019 [2 favorites]


Everyone knows that ETs bosses zapped all the human witnesses with particle beams from their space ship. That's your sequel.
posted by Burhanistan at 1:50 PM on November 28, 2019


During his stay, E.T. learns that Elliott now has a family of his own and that technology has completely changed on Earth since his last visit.

[E.T., leafing through the family's ISP bill, shuffles over to the wireless router and pokes at it]

E.T.: "You assholes have had over 30 years to figure this out and THIS is what you have to show for it? Did you see the shit I could build from a goddamn Speak and Spell WHILE DRUNK? And THIS? THIS is your communications network? And THIS is what you're paying for it EACH MONTH? Also, did you know it's full of Nazis? Look, I'm gonna be honest. I'm leaving a Yelp review for this planet, and it's not gonna be complimentary. No stars. NONE."
posted by mandolin conspiracy at 1:55 PM on November 28, 2019 [50 favorites]


Slow hand clap for the thread title!
posted by Ber at 1:59 PM on November 28, 2019


I won't be the least bit surprised to see a $14.95 'E. T. licensing fee' on next month's Xfinity bill.
posted by prinado at 2:45 PM on November 28, 2019 [2 favorites]


Fuck Comcast.
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 2:48 PM on November 28, 2019


Ew no. I don't even want to touch it let alone do that.
posted by hippybear at 2:54 PM on November 28, 2019


It also implies that somehow ET and Star Wars share a universe

Since Star Wars happened a long time ago in a galaxy far away, the Grebleips have apparently been around for quite some time. And no doubt the Halloween costumes inspired by Star Wars fit into the same cultural niche as costumes of fairies or bigfoot - whatever truth they had is long-obscured by the mythic retellings, and kids (and most adults) think they're entirely fictional.

It's an interesting commercial - a pack of "awww" moments with no connection whatsoever to XFinity other than the credits at the end. It looks like someone's slice-of-life fix-it fanfic come to life, with a corporate label slapped on to remind you that capitalism is the source of all good things.
posted by ErisLordFreedom at 5:01 PM on November 28, 2019


What in the heck was the point of the ET movie anyway? I mean, it's such a pile of gobbledygook that only seemed to exist to feed its own cloying sentimentality, like someone took a "boy and his adopted dog that he bonds with but then returns to the rightful owners" kind of story and made it an ET instead. I guess what I'm saying is it was a commodity itself and a product placement icon from the get-go so this dumbass commercial really doesn't tarnish its legacy or anything.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:19 PM on November 28, 2019 [6 favorites]


And how do you feel about Muppets shilling for Farmers Insurance?

Seems like kind of a sell-out.
*sips Lipton tea*
But that’s none of my business.
posted by dephlogisticated at 5:33 PM on November 28, 2019 [12 favorites]


I look forward to a few decades of deepfakeuckery involving everything we love and admire prostituted for commercial or political purposes. When Mr Rogers shows up in a MAGA hat the revolution is going to kick off.
posted by BrotherCaine at 6:15 PM on November 28, 2019


Okay, as long as we're doing this... Am I the only person that finds E.T. just horrifying and repellent instead of cute? He looks as if he were formed from fresh, glistening turds.
posted by Rat Spatula at 8:59 PM on November 28, 2019 [4 favorites]


Gertie grew up to be a zombie? Could be worse. At least she didn’t grow up to be a home wrecking teenager with a thing for middle aged men like Poison Ivy.
posted by Jubey at 9:18 PM on November 28, 2019


(Glistening turds with a tumescent dick neck)
posted by Burhanistan at 10:21 PM on November 28, 2019


Just to make this even more weird, here in the UK (where there is no Xfinity) the exact same footage is being used as an advert for Sky TV's 'please watch our television shows this Christmas' family advert (Corporate tweet link). We're talking Roger Corman levels of reuse here.
posted by ewan at 3:27 AM on November 29, 2019


Rat Spatula: YES. Well, to be more accurate, I have a lifelong, severe (like, panic attacks in video rental stores whenever I so much as glimpsed the cover) phobia of the little fucker. I can't even look at the Universal logo.
posted by captain afab at 6:12 AM on November 29, 2019


Wasn't ET in an advert for BT internet in the UK a bit ago?

In '99 no less.

YouTube link
posted by entity447b at 6:55 AM on November 29, 2019


Muppets shilling in television commercials? Outrageous! A stain on their legacy!
posted by Leviathant at 6:57 AM on November 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


Would have been interesting to see E.T. show Up on Better Things during Henry Thomas’s brief run as Sam’s current boyfriend.
posted by hwestiii at 8:48 AM on November 29, 2019


I have a very visceral reaction to E.T. and by extension Spielberg & his particular brand of sentimentality. I can intellectualise it somewhat but it is a deep seated issue for me.

I saw E.T. when I was a child when it came out, I was about 8 I think. We went to the movie with little to no expectations. Just another kids movie. But... about halfway through I vomited. I'll spare you the gory details but it was a lot. Whether it was a reaction to something in my popcorn or my emotional response to film it is hard to say. I recall my father and I alone in the bathroom, him desperately trying to clean his suede jacket, me wobbly and confused. We went back in and finished off the movie. My father refused to take me to another movie that year because of that incident. Thankfully he eventually relented but was forbidden to have any popcorn for a long time after that.

E.T. still makes me a bit queasy.
posted by Ashwagandha at 8:52 AM on November 29, 2019 [4 favorites]


This makes sense considering navigating Xfinity's customer service is not unlike the experience of playing E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial the video game.
posted by elwoodwiles at 10:26 AM on November 29, 2019 [1 favorite]


Terry Gilliam on Spielberg
posted by Omon Ra at 11:55 AM on November 29, 2019 [2 favorites]


(Muppets commercials)
posted by mwhybark at 1:56 PM on November 29, 2019


MeFi: It's canon in my brain.
posted by fairmettle at 3:47 AM on November 30, 2019


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