Comedy Czentral

Well, I’ve finally made it to day number last in Prague. It’s been a lovely and productive trip in so many ways, and I think I’ve drunk my postpartum weight in red wine, but I miss the kids and Nate terribly, and I’m ready for some nice clean socks and a grilled cheese sandwich.

I’m also starting to get a bit twitchy after a whole week without reality television; at one point I did hear Larry King on CNN International interviewing Tom Sizemore about Celebrity Rehab, raced out of the bathroom dripping wet, and practically hugged the television. I also caught a few minutes of Germany’s Next Top Model, which somehow feels 14% less vapid when it’s not in English.

I’m like a heroin junkie, only addicted to stupid.

The truth is, the best entertainment on the 19 channels in the hotel room hasn’t been the shows, although I did get a kick out of Bea Arthur and Rue McLanahan bickering in German overdubs. The best part is the ads.

Oh lord, the ads.

It turns out that late at night, MTV airs any number of sex phone line ads which, well, wow. I guess teens do things a little sooner here in Eastern Europe. But nearly as provocative is the ad for Taiwan tourism that opens with some baum chicka baum porn soundtrack, and the line “Taiwan can touch you in many ways.”

Then more baum chicka baum, a few sexy Taiwanese ladies batting their eyelashes for the camera, and finally the tag line,  “It will always leave you longing for more.”

I’d imagine premium cable subscribers can upgrade and order their commercial with release.

In fact, all the Asian airlines are running these sort of suggestive ads kind of like this one for Singapore airlines. Each one features subservient, highly made-up flight attendants smiling coyly while they serve their male passengers. It’s like Memoirs of Geisha at 25,000 Feet. I guess it works though. I mean, all of our airlines are talking leg room and on-time arrivals and they’re millions in the hole. Time for Hooters Air? Anyone?

But my all time favorite ad this week has easily been the the SNL-esque spot for the Republic of Georgia. Georgia! Advertising! And because it’s on every four minutes, I’ve had ample time to memorize the entire script.

The spot opens on a satellite shot of the earth, with a big party lighting up all of Georgia. Let’s say it has all the production values of your favorite used car dealership spot. As we zoom down, we reveal a huge New Year’s Eve style bash on the streets with a lot of badly dressed people wearing party hats and dancing like it’s the 137th take.  I couldn’t even imagine where this was going: Eurasian Mardi Gras promotion?

When the British announcer asks them what’s going on, they all scream in unison WE ARE CELEBRATING PROGRESS TO COMBAT WORLDWIDE CORRUPTION! Then resume their partying. Clearly making Georgia the best place on the entire planet to bring your business.

In other words: Come to Georgia. It’s not as corrupt as it used to be.

So much better than Larry King.


21 thoughts on “Comedy Czentral”

  1. I don't know how good your german is, but after living in Germany for the last 7 years, I think I actually find Germany's next top model 10% bitchier but 40% more orderly. Germans can be like that. It's rather endearing.
    And yes, since CNN Int. is our only source of English tv, I'm seriously considering partying down with the Georgia commercial after all those viewings. Hip, no?

  2. Welcome to the world of international commercials in a semi- or non-Western context.

    This post had me laughing – loudly. Especially this line:

    “I'd imagine premium cable subscribers can upgrade and order their commercial with release.”

    You are brilliant as always!

  3. Are you sure those eyelash-batting Taiwanese ladies were ladies?? I'm thinking Hugh Grant in Bridget Jones II here …

  4. Exactly what I thought…they're so crazy and orderly at the same time??? What the heck?

    Oh, and yes, they do do things sooner there. Do they ever.

  5. I feel like this whenever I watch regular ol' American TV. Because I haven't had TV in ten years, every time I watch at a friend's house or public place, I'm the idiot laughing maniacally at the beer commercials. I'm also easily startled by things that happen on gigantic screens equipped with HD or Blue Ray or whatever. I'm the guy ducking when the football spirals toward the camera or flinching when the there's a tight shot of the news anchor.

  6. Hooters Air sounds like a definite plan….think of the millions they could make!!! European TV is most amusing!!!

  7. If you think German TV advertising is liberated take a trip to Scandinavia! You can't really blame them either, as if you had to spend six months of the year living in freezing cold conditions and darkness your avenues for entertainment would be somewhat limited!!

  8. “we are celebrating progress to combat worldwide corruption”?!

    that is some copy.

    as for the chauk baum baum, so funny 🙂

  9. Russian television was entertaining in that same twilight zone kind of way. There was the overdubbed Sex and the City, lots of movies that were in other languages were subtitled sometimes in Russian, sometimes in English. There were constant ads for mayonnaise and cell phone ring tones. There was an orange juice like drink called J7 that I could probably recall the English jingle for if I thought about it.

    The BBC saved our sanity, but our favorite, by far, was the Russian version of Survivor.

  10. Regarding the Singapore Airlines uniforms, I used to work in a hotel where the flight crews would stay for a few days after international flights. Most of those girls are stick thin, and the uniform pads their boobs and hips, to give them curves.

    Word ver: reewaha

    which sounds like it might be the rallying cry for Georgians fighting corruption, no?

  11. “I'm like a heroin junkie, only addicted to stupid.”

    best line ever! glad your trip is going well!

  12. This was hilarious! Isn't Prague so mysterious? I really loved the antiquity of it all. Your commercial recaps are priceless!

  13. In a rare moment of dyslexia I mis read it for “Abs” and thought- are Czechs known for their abs of steel? I was about to google “Czechoslovakian hot abs eye candy” and then remembered that “wait no, it's the czech republic now” and then i thought “wait, does that even say abs?” and then I re read it and now I'm holding you personally responsible for the lack of hot czech abs eye candy available on the internet. I did, however, discover which contains both abs and I believe, czech's.

    Umm. Glad you had a nice trip and GOOO GEORGIA! Fighting the good fight! With dancing!

  14. The Georgia ad cracked me up! I can just see it! My husband and I took Georgia Airlines from Turkey to Tblisi, and our ticket said “Have a Lucky Trip!”. And, the pilot greeted me with a big kiss just as we were boarding. I LOVED traveling in Georgia; it is one juicy travel story after the next.

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