Friday, January 16, 2009

The cult of Snuggie

Posted By on Fri, Jan 16, 2009 at 2:58 PM

As we retreat inside for the winter each year, huddling around a nice warm television, there always seems to be one low-budget commercial for mail-order junk that bedevils us night after night. Over the years, we thought we'd seen it all: Clappers, ShamWows, Flowbees, Ginsu knives and Aqua Globes. What we'd give to have all those minutes back!

At their best, these ads have a predictable formula that can make them as comforting as an episode of Scooby-Doo. They have actors who, via clunky silent-movie style theatrics, show they're unable to do simple things. If they must cut a tomato, they'll first try it martial-arts style. If they resort to a knife, they seem to have never picked one up before. If they try reaching up to turn off a light switch, they strain like they were that dude from Ultraman reaching for the Beta Capsule. To drive home how unsatisfactory life is, they are continually grabbing their lower backs, shaking their heads, and looking angry and frustrated.

Then, once they have the product, they are serene and calm, happily using the device to make their lives work again. Never mind that they often look stupid (see the FlowBee) or silly (see the Clapper); they're in seventh heaven, all problems solved, and much more cheaply than if they had bought another, superior product.

But since that first Ginsu I commercial aired in 1978, we've never seen a TV spot that irritated us as much as the new one for a product called “The Snuggie,” which is essentially a blanket that has sleeves in it.

The setup is ridiculous: A woman, who has prudently turned down her thermostat to save money, is trying to relax under a blanket that's about as large as a motel towel. (Get a bigger blanket, stupid!) Then, her land line rings, and she struggles for four seconds to free her arms to answer the phone. (Whoa! That was close!) Life has clearly become unmanageable.

But what if her blanket had sleeves?

The answer is quite obvious: She'd look like a crazy member of some cult. Anybody would! But this fact is lost on the makers of the Snuggie commercial, who show an extended family that's wearing these things, looking like either medieval monks eating microwave popcorn or Heaven's Gate cultists at a high school football game. It's really quite disturbing.

But times have changed. Unlike the old days, when we'd get up and make a sandwich to get away from these cheap TV pitches, people are using the Internet to fight back. Which is why we busted a gut watching various hilarious remixes of this awful commercial. These online jokesters have livened up the cultlike family with tracks from Carl Orff, title commentary, and distorted sound to make it more disturbing. Finally, through the magic of YouTube, we don't have to suffer alone anymore.

The original commercial:

With new titles and a Carl Orff soundtrack:

With new titles and repackaged as a cult classic, including the announcement “Join NOW and receive your cult robes.”

Disturbing remix, with slowed-down audio track, turns the free reading light into a sinister mind-reading device:

Diced into buzz-bits:

This very funny late entry has renamed the robe-blanket as the "The WTF Blanket."

And, perhaps best of all, is this "This Hour Has 22 Minutes" version: The "Fuggly."


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