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BYH, some see the glass as half empty. I say just get a smaller glass and quit complaining....

Funniest TV moments brought to you by ... commercials

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Sunday, June 16, 2019

Even though I’ve spent a significant portion of my adult life working in TV, I was often too busy to actually watch much of it, or at least to pay much attention to the commercials.

Now that I’m semi-retired and am watching more television, mostly on cable news channels, I’m noticing that much of the humorous creativity in TV ads seems to be centered in the car insurance business.

GEICO seldom fails to bring a smile when one of its odd line-up of characters — or creatures — starts letting me know how easy it is or how happy it will make me to save hundreds of dollars on my car insurance.

The company started the quirky campaigns in 2004 with “So easy a caveman could do it” and followed with “As happy as a camel on hump day,” which I understand still gets thousands of hits every Wednesday on YouTube.

The lovable, Cockney-accented Gecko is still in GEICO’s commercial rotation, most recently as he visits a 24-hour diner to chat with the waitress about 24/7 telephone and internet access to agents, as well as to explore 24/7 access to “some of that lemon meringue pie.”

My current favorite GEICO spot, though, is the one in which researchers at a station in Antarctica are subjected to cabin fever.

“I can’t believe it,” says one of the scientists.

“What? That Carl brought his Karaoke machine?”

“No. How easy it was for me to save hundreds of dollars on my car insurance with GEICO.”

At that point, one of those trapped with the Karaoke decides he’d rather perish in the howling winds and swirling Antarctic snow than endure any more singing and has to be dragged back inside.

Who in the world came up with this novel idea to sell something as boring as auto insurance? Probably someone who considers Karaoke even more boring.

Speaking of boring, whatever happened to the garden-variety headache once made to seem so common by TV pitchmen? During my growing-up years, it seems every other television commercial was for an over-the-counter headache remedy.

Anacin and Bufferin are two brands I particularly remember. In the 50s and 60s, TV spots commonly featured an actor purporting to describe a typical headache — where it started, how it moved around and where it came to rest. Today’s pain reliever ads seem to emphasize headaches less and general body aches more.

Come to think of it, whatever happened to Alka-Seltzer, or at least its prominent place in my consciousness? I know the stuff is still around, and has, in fact, mutated into a range of products, although I don’t hear much about it anymore.

I ruefully admit that during the 60s and early 70s, as a college student and before Ruthie and I had children, I thought of Alka-Seltzer as something of a miracle cure for a combination of headache, body aches, upset stomach and acid indigestion — in other words, hangover.

Thinking “Plop, plop, fizz, fizz, Oh, what a relief it is.” still makes me feel better, even though I probably haven’t had an Alka-Seltzer in at least 20 years and it’s probably been 40 years since I last heard that jingle.

The lines, “I can’t believe I ate the whole thing” and “Mama Mia, that’s some spicy meatball,” from two other Alka-Seltzer ads and are no doubt recorded in some TV ad copy hall of fame.

If I can find some Alka-Seltzer, I’ll drink a toast. Oh, and to bring the whole discussion back to our starting point, I’ll include a nod of appreciation to whoever dreamed up Allstate insurance’s “Mayhem” character. Pure genius.

Bob Garner is a UNC-TV restaurant reviewer, freelance food writer, author of four cookbooks, barbecue pit master and public speaker. Contact him at bgarner2662@gmail.com.

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Humans of Greenville

@HumansofGville

Local photographer Joe Pellegrino explores Greenville to create a photographic census of its people.

Look

September 18, 2019

I moved to Greenville in 1997 and as a poor, struggling college student, my meals consisted of ramen noodles, fast food, pizzas, and bread and water. OK, so that sounds kind of harsh, but you understand the food dilemma that attaches itself to college students.

The only time we could enjoy a nice…

Garlic Noodles (1).jpg

September 18, 2019

Q: My neighbor told me she went to an all-day event last year that was great for people with diabetes. Do you happen to know what, where, when? JS, Greenville

A: I am always happy to promote the Winning with Diabetes Event. Tuesday, Nov. 5, is the date for the 18th Annual Winning with Diabetes…

Kolasa, Kathy

September 11, 2019

Q: My daughter has been diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome. What lifestyle measures can help her? JF, Winterville

A: Yes, lifestyle changes can help your daughter and other women who are diagnosed with PCOS and can reduce some of the undesirable side effects. Chloe Opper, a Brody medical…

Kolasa, Kathy

September 11, 2019

Q: My daughter has been diagnosed with polycystic ovarian syndrome. What lifestyle measures can help her? JF, Winterville

A: Yes, lifestyle changes can help your daughter and other women who are diagnosed with PCOS and can reduce some of the undesirable side effects. Chloe Opper, a Brody medical…

Kolasa, Kathy

September 11, 2019

“Like parent, like child” is an often-used idiom reflecting an individual’s tendency to carry on the traits of prior generations.

In the case of type 2 diabetes, take heart. While it does tend to run in families, lifestyle changes now can help one avoid, or at least delay, its…

Highlighting Your Health.jpg

September 11, 2019

Cucina LaMantia Sicilian Ristorante at 3700 S. Memorial Drive in front of Lowe’s has some exciting news for their customers. Starting Oct. 1, they will be serving lunch off a menu 11:30 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday. 

They have been open for almost a year and in that time have built…

The Godfather Sandwich).jpg

September 06, 2019

More than six decades after the murder of a teenager became a rallying point for the civil rights movement, his memory is being preserved through the arts.

Emmett Till is the inspiration for both an exhibit and a dramatic production at ECU this month.

The African-American teen was beaten and shot…

090619goemmetttill

September 04, 2019

Summer is almost at its end, but that doesn’t mean you should stop eating healthy. You need to keep nourishing your body with fresh and wholesome foods that keep you fully charged and healthy during the long winter months. Let Bateeni Mediterranean Grill & Cafe at 1868 W. Arlington Blvd.…

HUMMUS.jpg

September 04, 2019

Q: I thought intermittent fasting was a fad diet, but I heard a reputable speaker talk about it. What do you think? RJ, Greenville.

A: Once considered a fad, intermittent fasting is the target for serious research. The results of new studies do not paint a clear picture for us. Connie Zhong, a…

5cff256e6c8fd.image.jpg

September 04, 2019

Q: I thought intermittent fasting was a fad diet, but I heard a reputable speaker talk about it. What do you think? RJ, Greenville.

A: Once considered a fad, intermittent fasting is the target for serious research. The results of new studies do not paint a clear picture for us. Connie Zhong, a…

5cff256e6c8fd.image.jpg
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