Wednesday, August 24, 2011

De Oratore

Sometimes, verbage is everything.

The Olive Garden, that cesspool of imitation Italian cuisine, recently ran an advertisment that has been bugging me. Just as a side note, Olive Garden sucks. Their bread is cardboard and their pasta is drowned in crappy imitation sauces. I believe my friend Johnathan Cartelli once told me that the only way he'd ever bring his grandfather to Olive Garden would be if he was punishing him for something, or if he wanted to kill him. I can't remember; with John it could have been either. Or both.

In any event, the Garden recently ran an advertisement for their never-ending pasta bowl (another testament to our ever-fattening society). You can watch the ad here. It begins with a bunch of young decently attractive people sitting around a table at the titular restaurant, and their conversation goes something like this:
Man: That movie was great.
Woman: I know, I never wanted it to end.
Hold it, wait. What? The group moves on to talk about the meal ("Well at least the pasta is never ending!"), but I can't. I have to address this. What did she mean she never wanted it to end? There are at least two possibilities that I can think of.

First, there's the possibility that she wanted the movie to never end. In other words, she wanted that particular film to go on ad infinitum, consuming her entire life and continuing onwards even after her death. And my friends, her death in this situation would not be pretty. Her wish would have doomed her to watching this film for the rest of her days, forsaking food and drink, use of the restroom and personal hygiene (she looks like the kind of person who wouldn't dare sneak out of the theater to use the bathroom - and we all know people who swing the other way on this one). She would end up a stinky emaciated lifeless husk, her rubbery flesh melded into the theater seat and her image-bombarded eyeballs long receded from their sockets. I don't think she meant this, and if she was granted this wish, one would only hope that she would immediately regret the horror she had inflicted upon herself, her friends and the other moviegoers. So let's put possibility one to rest.

Possibility two is probably the one she meant. I think it's far more likely, anyway. Possibility two is that she meant to say this: At no point during the film did she actively want it to be over. This is not a glowing review of a film, people. It doesn't mean the film was great. It doesn't even mean it was good. It simply meant that this lady managed to sit through the whole thing without begging for it to end. That's a ridiculous way to review a film. It's a ridiculous way to evaluate anything. That would be like having a coversation like this:
Man: Hey, your friend Leo is a great friend.
Me: I know, I've never wanted him dead.
That doesn't mean he's a great friend. That simply means that I've never actively prayed for his death. It means I wouldn't kill my friend Leo for a quarter and a Snickers bar. And you know what? That's not even true. I totally would.

Here's what really happened. The man in the commercial was trying to start a nice conversation. "That movie was great," he said. He was trying to get a discussion going. And what did she do? The speaking equivalent of puking on his shoes. She said nothing of substance. Worse, her asinine comment steered the conversation away from the movie and towards the food! The lady across from her says, "Hey, at least the pasta is never-ending." And that's it. Everyone laughs and the conversation that guy wanted to have about the movie is dead in the water. Watch that guy for the rest of the commerical - he is not happy. He looks at her at the very end - I wonder if he's thinking in words or if it's just a red murderous haze at that point.

Verbage is important, people. That commercial's been in my head all morning. Makes me hungry. Maybe I'll have Italian tonight.

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