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Weekend Discussion Thread: Riffable Infomercials and Commercials

Murdock Hauser observes:

I ran into one of my favorite infomercials that I haven’t seen in years the other week on YouTube and that’s the “Ronco Showtime BBQ Rotisserie.” In the late ’90s early 2000s, I remember watching it all most every mourning while folding papers for my paper route and thought it would be perfect for MST3K. Now, what say you?

On further consideration, it seems like this is too narrow a topic, so let me broaden it a bit to include ALL TV commercials.

I, for example, would call out the plague of prescription drug commercials. Not just their terrifying lists of side effects “including death,” but also lines like “tell your doctor about your medical history.” Up to now my doctor’s had no interest in that!

Have at it!

75 Replies to “Weekend Discussion Thread: Riffable Infomercials and Commercials”

  1. jay
    Ignored
    says:

    Lawyer Ads –

    Around here we have two law firms that seem to be in competition for the “How Fast Can I Hit The Mute Button” award. If I found a live rat in my take home pizza I would not call them. If I got rear ended by Mega-Weapon I would not call them. If I knew a guy who was a chronic abuser of the civil litigation system I would have him call them. Fifteen times a day.

       8 likes

  2. SmudgyTheBootblack
    Ignored
    says:

    Ray Dunakin:
    There was a super-irritating ad for condoms that used to play on Comedy Central back when the show was there. It has some brainless, all-attitude punk ranting against condoms and how condoms are a tool of The Man or some such nonsense. It was easily the Most Annoying Commercial In The World. The guy made you want to punch him the face and kick him in the ‘nads.

    But in lieu of actual violence, I would like to see it riffed.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aIeaz9M_7tY
    Enjoy! I’m Evil >:)

       3 likes

  3. goalieboy82
    Ignored
    says:

    Cornjob:
    Any ads where someone starts casually talking about their diarrhea or vaginal infections.

    Also there was a series of ads run by Duracell that featured this incredibly annoying family of clockwork automaton style robots. Unfortunately some of these ads got recorded on some of my MST tapes. To this day when given a choice I buy Energizer batteries.

    Diarrhea is like a storm raging inside you.

       7 likes

  4. DiscoJer
    Ignored
    says:

    Every so often there is this infomercial selling like 500 knives for $200 (or 200 knives for $500), with the idea that you would then resell some of the knives you buy. But it’s all sorts of random knives, plus the occasional sword or machete and very odd.

       1 likes

  5. Endoplasmic Reticulum
    Ignored
    says:

    Off Topic. It seems that http://www.club-mst3k.com has been taken down. That was a great site for finding less popular episodes.

       1 likes

  6. Warren
    Ignored
    says:

    There are so many bad commercials to choose from, it’s like shooting fish in a barrel. Sling and swing rhyme with each other? Yes, we get the f^&*%#g joke already. One time I was up much too late and saw just a little bit of an Adam & Eve infomercial. I don’t hate the idea but it could be riffed. Someone mentioned the two Sonic guys, that’s two guys too many. The liberty mutual stuff might be tolerable if not for the inane jingle at the end. Is there a law that says good original music isn’t allowed in commercials? There was a trend for awhile where it seemed that every other commercial had some kind of inane whistling tune. I hope the empty suit or focus group who pushed that idea got fired.
    “Much later in life, “There’s only one Bob Rooooarrman!”
    Believe me, we’re all grateful for that.”
    Yes, but I prefer the quantum alternate reality where a young Bob settled on a completely different profession and he never appeared in any commercials.

       0 likes

  7. mst3kme
    Ignored
    says:

    Please allow me to post my own sort of commercial here.

    I have tried with enormous frustration over the past year to post comments on the AVClub website. However, if you don’t use Facebook, Twitter, or have a Google account, you’re screwed over with what they call a “burner account.”

    I found out that means they can burn you when they repeatedly don’t recognize your assigned longer than two phone numbers password and/or don’t post your comment.

    I miss the edit button here, but at least DISQUS isn’t infuriating.

       0 likes

  8. The Original EricJ
    Ignored
    says:

    Jason: Also, I don’t know if this is true, but: the place where I work has an elevator with a sort of bulletin board that lists bits of useless trivia.One bit of trivia said that the My Pillow guy was a drug addict whose addiction got so bad that his own drug dealers staged an intervention.Make of that what you will.

    charlieguenette: AMEN! If I saw him inside my medicine cabinet, I’d scream bloody murder, grab a sharp object, and start stabbing repeatedly, long past the point that he stops breathing!

    I don’t expect anyone from more recent generations to get it, but I’m from that vintage-70’s-TV Joel generation that keeps expecting him to say “Hi, guyyy…” (Oh, c’mon, it’s been reffed in a few episodes.)

    As for Geico’s smugly lazy everything-but-insurance ads–and the rapidly spreading plagues of “wacky, random” emus at other insurance companies–there is nothing remotely funny or riffable about them. They deserve a good, savage wilding with spiked bats.

       5 likes

  9. Sitting Duck
    Ignored
    says:

    jay:
    Lawyer Ads –

    Around here we have two law firms that seem to be in competition for the “How Fast Can I Hit The Mute Button” award … If I got rear ended by Mega-Weapon I would not call them.

    Certainly not! I think it would be a great honor to be rear-ended by Mega-Weapon.

       6 likes

  10. jay
    Ignored
    says:

    Sitting Duck: Certainly not! I think it would be a great honor to be rear-ended by Mega-Weapon.

    You got me there. They would probably award you The Order of the Pressed Duck. heh-heh

       6 likes

  11. mando3b
    Ignored
    says:

    The Original EricJ: and the rapidly spreading plagues of “wacky, random” emus at other insurance companies

    Omg, that %^$*^%(*! emu! Spiked bats would be too gentle! NOT. FUNNY. But since it’s trying desperately to be, that would make riffing harder. (On the other hand, I actually enjoy [most] Geico ads. The gecko is cute, the “surprised” ads are amusing & clever. These are the only ads going that I don’t mute with extreme prejudice.)

    jay: Lawyer Ads

    Ambulance-chasing lawyers rank barely above the above-mentioned emu. That is the very type of character that The Brains do a great job on in their angry-satire mode. Mega-weapon, spiked bats, fart jokes–throw the whole arsenal at ’em, I say!

       2 likes

  12. The Original EricJ
    Ignored
    says:

    LoneZombie: My most-hated commercial of all time is the Grand Daddy of all prescription drug commercials, the original ad for Claritin. At the time, pharmas were apparently allowed to place ads for drugs but not allowed to say anything about what the drug did. So, it was the most inane, cloying commercial, with people in hot air balloons flying in clear blue skies accompanied by various voice overs. “Claritin. Ask your doctor about Claritin. It’s a new day with Claritin. Ask your doctor about Claritin.” No indication of WTF Claritin was supposed to do or what condition it was supposed to treat, everyone was just supposed to ask their doctor to tell them about it, whether they could use it or not. It still makes me furious!

    And lest we forget…”Only Zantac is Zantac.”

    (Because of that, we got the new advertising rule that you could get the short pharm ad OR the long, long ad, which must include 1) the URL info link or mention of old-people’s-magazine ad in AARP or Golf Digest, 2) no mention that it “cured” something but that “Improvements were seen in a significant number of test cases”, and 3), the long, long list of deathly side effects, including rash, fatal swellings, loss of appetite, difficulty urinating, or athlete’s head…Please consult your doctor if body parts fall off, as this may be signs of a more serious condition.
    And in most cases, it was “Ask your doctor”, since, as Bill Maher joked “Tell your doctor to get the drug? Doesn’t that technically make him a pusher?”)

       0 likes

  13. Cornjob
    Ignored
    says:

    Pharmaceutical ads touting medications that will save your life and/or kill you, and have possible side effects like: may cause your skin to fall off, your eyeballs to explode, or your genitals to spontaneously combust.

       2 likes

  14. jay
    Ignored
    says:

    Commercials on old MST3K videotapes –

    When I converted my old home-taped videos on to dvds I left in the old commercials. Which of those antiques induced the most eye rolling and tooth grinding back in the day? Richard Simmons prancing to the oldies? Penn Jillette blaring network promos? How about …

    THE PSYCHIC FRIENDS NETWORK

    A group of women (it was always women) blathering about the unbelievably accurate predictions they got over the phone from Madame Ripoffia. Aarghhh!!

       9 likes

  15. dakotaboy
    Ignored
    says:

    O keepers of the cool
    O masters of the past
    I seek thy catalog
    800 number

    It’s a free call, it’s a free catalog.

       1 likes

  16. Kenneth Morgan
    Ignored
    says:

    dakotaboy:
    O keepers of the cool
    O masters of the past
    I seek thy catalog
    800 number

    It’s a free call, it’s a free catalog.

    Actually, I like that commercial. It’s so thoroughly odd it pretty much defies riffing. It would be good material for a host segment spoof, though.

       1 likes

  17. The Original EricJ
    Ignored
    says:

    jay: How about …
    THE PSYCHIC FRIENDS NETWORK
    A group of women (it was always women) blathering about the unbelievably accurate predictions they got over the phone from Madame Ripoffia.Aarghhh!!

    And then, when they did the half-hour infomercials, you noticed it was the SAME three predictions in rote rotation. (Oh, did we mention it was always women?):
    1) “Congratulations on that new job!” 2) “How’s that new baby coming along?” 3) “He’s cheatin’ on ya, hun!”

    Until Madame Ripoff…er, whatever the “Jamaican” woman’s name was, visibly started getting bored with the routine, and started livening them up with creative embellishments:
    “He’s cheatin’ on ya, hun!” started becoming “He’s wanted in seven states, hun, call the police!”

    (Sorry, I just like this topic. :) Think it was all those years of commercials on my old VHS tapes too, that made believe the Future was Forsaken.)

       1 likes

  18. Crowdini
    Ignored
    says:

    Haven’t seen this one yet:

    IT’S MY MONEY AND I WANT IT NOW!!

    It’s from that cash advance service JG Wentworth, who also released an annoying operatic ad that is also quite riffable.

       3 likes

  19. Cornjob
    Ignored
    says:

    “Mom, do you ever have times when you don’t feel so fresh.”

    “Yes honey, that’s why I take a bath daily.”

       7 likes

  20. Eddie J Miller
    Ignored
    says:

    I actually like the commercials for Progressive Auto Insurance (maybe because I have a crush on ‘Flo’), but I find it odd that it seems to be a like a sit-com now, with even side characters getting whole commercials, and Flo playing her own sister! That being said it would be fun to have all the commercials riffed. Since there are so many of them it will end up as long as a real episode!
    As for irritating commercials I nominate the blow-hardy PSAs we get about Vaping. This may not be nationwide, since California leads the world in hysterical health scares, but every time I see a sermon from our nutty PSA department I change the channel immediately.

       1 likes

  21. Brock Lee Rubberband
    Ignored
    says:

    Every single Craftmatic adjustable bed commercial. They use bizarre people in their commercials that no other company would dare use in theirs.

    Just try and forget these people…

    https://www.ispot.tv/ad/wv_i/craftmatic-legacy-so-much-more

       1 likes

  22. jay
    Ignored
    says:

    Eddie J Miller:

    As for irritating commercials I nominate the blow-hardy PSAs we get about Vaping. This may not be nationwide, since California leads the world in hysterical health scares, but every time I see a sermon from our nutty PSA department I change the channel immediately.

    Anything that is against products that turn children into addicts I am for. I am sorry you find them so bothersome.

       3 likes

  23. mando3b
    Ignored
    says:

    Eddie J Miller: maybe because I have a crush on ‘Flo’

    NO!!! Please, Eddie J, tell us you’re joking! You’re better than this, get a grip, man, turn the TV off. In the meantime, I will light a candle and pray for you . . .

       2 likes

  24. yelling_into_the_void
    Ignored
    says:

    Yeti of Great Danger:
    I’ll nominate the commercials for The Snuggie®…

    The Snuggie has one practical use: a convenient coat alternative for the wheelchair bound. But it’s marketed as the perfect accessory for at home, in the car, or on the job, as well as camping, boating, outdoor sporting events or where ever good times are held.

       3 likes

  25. Endoplasmic Reticulum
    Ignored
    says:

    jay: Anything that is against products that turn children into addicts I am for.I am sorry you find them so bothersome.

    What’s bothersome is the hyper-inflated scare tactics. Shades of Reefer Madness. “It has chemicals found in DRAIN CLEANER!!!!!!!!” Or some such, I don’t remember just what scary thing they were claiming parity with. It is true that vaping fluids contain traces of deuterium oxides, a chemical used in NUCLEAR POWER PLANTS!!!!! Vaping fluids contain some of the same chemicals that are found in illegal liquor made in unsafe conditions by six-fingered, toothless hillbillies, and just look at THEM!!!!!!!

       0 likes

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