KQED Food Blog: Bay Area Bites: Deliciously YouTube
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Thursday, May 25, 2006
Deliciously YouTube

I'm completely obsessed with TV. No, really. No. Really. I watch it, I write about it, I talk endlessly about it, and when people tell me they don't own a television set, I have a Joey Tribbiani urge to ask, "You don't? Then what is all your furniture aimed at?" I usually manage to squelch that urge because I don't want to come off as a complete bitch. I let people get to know me before I invite them to that side of my personality.

One of my most prized possessions is a version of Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile. It was recorded off of the ABC Monday Night Movie back around nineteen-eighty-something. Now, I do love that movie for what it is, but the reason I keep it in a fireproof box is not because of Angela Lansbury's sloshily wonderful performance as a drunk novelist, it's because of the commercials that are forever preserved on that magnetic strip. There's the "We! Build! Excite! Ment! Pon-ti-ac!" and the Snicker's "Packed with peanuts, Snickers really satisfies" where -- in a precious bit of CGI -- the Snickers magically appears from a fist of peanuts and the "Time flies, and you are there! Time cries, and makes you care! We understand the world we sha-a-a-are! Time brings you closer to living!"

There's now a site where I can spend hours -- HOURS! -- watching old commercials that remind me of my callow youth. The San Mateo-based YouTube was founded in early 2005 and as "a place for people to engage in new ways with video by sharing, commenting on, and viewing videos. YouTube originally started as a personal video sharing service, and has grown into an entertainment destination with people watching more than 40 million videos on the site daily."

I first became aware of YouTube when someone sent me a disturbingly hypnotic link to a SIMian Jean-Luc Picard rave dancing. At first, I thought YouTube was just for homemade, original videos -- the Mentos-Pepsi experiments are in there, as are fantastically edited episodes of Star Trek that pit Kirk against Picard -- but then I discovered a dangerous place where I spent no less than five hours in complete retro-ecstasy. Food commericals.

Pre-Seinfeldian Jason Alexander singing and -- what's even worse -- dancing about McDonald's McDLT ("The hot stays hot, the cool stays cool!") in Miami Vice-like attire.

Matt LeBlanc wearing a pink tee-shirt to shill "Isn't it cool in pink?" Cherry 7-Up.

Several Pepsi: The Taste of New Generation bits featuring Michael J. Fox all his Marty McFly sexiness. ...What?

Hearing that old lady crab, "Where's the beef" will never get old. Ever.

Nor will catching the Coke Wave with Max Headroom.

The outtakes of a drunk Orson Wells promoting Paul Mason sparkling wine is sort of pathetic.

Overly estrogened General Foods International Coffee spot.

Oh, oh, oh! Who's that kid with an Oreo Cookie?

(It's not food, but do you guys remember those Summer's Eve commercials? With the jaunty songs and weird references to "keeping good times on my mind"? Bizarre.)


Blogger Derrick said...

I agree there's lots of great stuff on YouTube.

But to answer your question, our furniture points at itself. We do own a TV, but it only gets used for DVDs and video games. I could not tell you where the cable jack in our apartment is. :)

5/25/2006 7:53 AM

Blogger wendygee said...

Check out the retro commercial where Cheerios teams up with Dentyne Gum!
YouTube is totally fun! great way to share and watch videos.

5/25/2006 6:31 PM

Blogger Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic said...

Ever notice in those vintage ads how it's never "Ask your mother to buy Cheerios," and it's always "Ask Mother to buy Cheerios," sans possessive adjective?

5/25/2006 11:30 PM

Blogger cucina testa rossa said...

Ok Steph, I'm one of those people withOUT a TV. For someone who up until 3 years ago had the food network going 24 hours a day and never missed a seinfeld, it's actually a good thing because the TV is my crack. It's been rather precarious since I discovered tv shows on iTunes.... If this keeps up I may need an intervention. Stay tuned....pun intended ;-)

5/26/2006 5:37 AM

Blogger shuna fish lydon said...


I used to visit my grandmother every Spring in Plymouth Massachusettes. Cranberry World is there and they had a special room where you could press a button and see all the Ocean Spray commercials that there ever was.

I am new to owning a tv but I am a ood sport, making up for lost time and even having a Favorite Show. (as you know...)

My old fave is "My bologny has a first name--" the one where the little boy says at the end, "How's that." I know his pain. I used to be in cereal commercials.

5/26/2006 10:10 PM

Blogger wendygee said...

ok...check out the rolling stones rice crispy commercial! Got this one from the SFGate article on YouTube classic rock clips

5/30/2006 8:56 AM

Blogger Stephanie V.W. Lucianovic said...

Yeah, and now a ton of those videos have been removed due to copyright infringement. When I talked to YouTube they told me that they don't own copyrights; the onus is on the uploaders to not be infringing and shit. However, as in these cases, the vids will get removed if infringement takes place.

5/30/2006 1:03 PM


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