Though 2008 was a disappointing TV year in many respects, there was one bright spot: the rebirth of the art of the cheesy, cheap cable commercial with a bizarre pitch for a completely useless product. The year began with Vince Offer (who looks like one of the Lawrence Brothers working as a telemarketer while on PCP) and his unseen “Camera Guy” demonstrating the miracles of the ShamWow! And toward the end of 2008, the Snuggie came along to demonstrate that even if you’re so poor and desperate that you can’t heat your home or afford a decent blanket, you can still save your health and life by purchasing a backwards flannel bathrobe.
But which of these commercials was a greater achievement? I think it’s clear that the Snuggie has made more of a cultural impact, mostly because of the fact that everyone in the commercial looks like they’re members of a cult that already controls the world. (Yes, I said “already.” There’s only one way to explain why these people would send away for a flimsy, fire-hazard Masonic robe, and that’s their certain knowledge that by doing so, they will be allowed to get the secret parking places that only world rulers know about.) Time Magazine even gave it a write-up this week. And it gets extra points for starting the narration in rhyme and then dropping the device for no reason, as if the writer just couldn’t think of any more rhymes and said “to hell with it.” But the ShamWow! was there first, and there’s something endearingly desperate about Vince screaming at us about the wonders of German efficiency.
You decide. What’s the 2008 stuff-you-don’t-need champion, or, as the Germans would call it, materialnichtbenötigenmeister? Is it this:
Update: The most recent episode of This Hour Has 22 Minutes already addressed the cultish nature of Snuggiehood:
Also, I should point out that Dino Stamatopoulos predicted the evil Snuggie cult 15 years ago when he wrote this sketch for The Ben Stiller Show (aka “The 13 episode show that Ben Stiller borrows from every time he makes a movie”):