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Pop Culture: Scourge of the Onelys, Part 33.5a: Singlist AT&T Commercial November 15, 2010

Posted by Onely in Food for Thought, Heteronormativity, Pop Culture: Scourge of the Onelys, YouTube Style.
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I have been bothered by this commercial for several months now, and I’m embarrassed to say that I wasn’t able to pinpoint why until this weekend, when it hit me: OMFG the only reason this guy becomes PRESIDENT is because (besides having AT&T, duh) he met the right girl, got MARRIED, and had kids.

Couplemania at its worst, if you ask me.

Copious Readers, please share your thoughts.

— Lisa


1. Alan - November 15, 2010

I don’t know…for some reason this commercial never really attracted my attention. A bit far fetched…”Choose the right seat, and you’ll marry a girl and your son will become President!”…but I didn’t really see it as presenting marrieds as better than singles.

2. Onely - November 15, 2010

It is TOTALLY far fetched, beyond even the traditional rhetoric of couplemania. So I can think of only two ways to interpret it:

either (1) couplemania taken to never-before-achieved heights (or lows!) or

(2) a commercial that just doesn’t make a lick of sense.

Neither makes me want to switch to AT&T. No matter how cool the IPhone is.


3. Lauri - November 15, 2010

I think you are misinterpretting the commercial. I’ve always been under the impression that it is the KID who becomes president. So they are saying that if his parents hadn’t met, he wouldn’t have been born, which would be a shame because he’s the type of person who is successful enough to become president. It’s kind of stupid, but I don’t think it’s singlist. Might be a bit of couplemania and birther-mania, like “if only you meet ‘the one’ you too could give birth to a president!” But it’s basically saying that if the phone hadn’t changed the train ticket, the president wouldn’t have been conceived.

Onely - November 16, 2010

Wow Lauri, I seriously hadn’t seen it that way, but I’ve watched it a couple more times and can totally see what you’re saying! Thanks for the clarification (though I still find it bizarre).

— Lisa

I HAVE CAT - November 16, 2010

Interesting…I think you are right….badly executed commercial. The president has salt and pepper hair and his dad all white hair – they should have made the president younger looking.

Though even if it had been what you suspected, all presidents have been married – maybe one exception.

Onely - November 16, 2010

It’s true–I think Bella DePaulo (Living Single) may have a post about who would be on stage during the inauguration of a new president if that person were single. Would it be a life partner? A parent? A friend? Or would he/she be expected to appear alone? Would he/she even be elected in the first place?

P.S. Fabulous user name BTW = )

4. Onely - November 16, 2010

OOOOOhhhh the KID. hee hee. LOL. That actually makes a little more sense. Still stupid, but yes, a little more sense.

5. SS - November 19, 2010

Yeah, it’s totes the kid who becomes president. And I have been HATING that commercial. Followed closely by the Chase ad where the couple is sitting on the bed on their wedding night, excitedly depositing gift checks into their account via smartphone app. Gross.

This AT&T is more about babymania than couplemania, IMO. The current zeitgeist of glamorizing the impact of having children. “It’s worth it! He could be President! Then your life would have meaning!” (But he won’t be, probably. And, why not she, incidentally?)

Lauri - November 29, 2010

omg, the Chase commercial might just be the most puke-worthy matrimania/singlist commercial ever! Those are grown adults opening checks like a couple 5-year-olds at a birthday party. Sick. I wonder how many of their single and struggling to make ends meet friends contributed to that nice little pile of free money.

6. DressySJP - November 22, 2010

I love hate this commercial! I’m sorry! They try to appeal to the hopeless romantic consumers! Ah! I think it’s far fetched but I can’t help but be totally thrown into the commercial…oops!

7. SS - November 23, 2010

Have you seen the Tide Acti-Lift detergent commercial, with the mom who secretly borrows her daughter’s shirt to go out? A middle-aged woman! out! at night! with her girlfriends! It makes me insanely happy.

Onely - November 25, 2010

This commercial is cute, thanks for flagging it. I covet that shirt now. I have a coat the color of that shirt and I always get compliments on it. = )

8. wagdog - December 6, 2010

That silly AT&T ad was supposed to be more referential of Sliding Doors (Paltrow & Hannah), but instead it reminds me of Dead Zone (Walken & Sheen). What if their son triggers “nucular” holocaust?

9. Eric Francis Coppolino - December 23, 2010

Oh he becomes mother fucking president!?!?!? Of the United States of Debt? Or maybe his kid becomes president…it’s a long way from President 44 (current) to President 57 (in universe of the commercial). Good heavens, I missed that, but this commercial has bothered me for many reasons, such as — you don’t have to change your ticket before you get on a commuter train, nobody checks, he could have changed it in his new seat.

But the magical moment of The One is what irks me the most. You see, people are so desperate for community…and this is transmuted into, “You want to get married,” and getting married becomes the answer to everything, the theme of every feel-good movie, the end to every comedy…it is A PSYCHIC DRUG that is SOLD BACK to us in the form of all these products that are proffered on their supposed find-your-spouse value. The whole thing is an hallucination, particularly since the package says “married forever” and the product performs more like “married for five years on average.”

10. Eric Francis Coppolino - December 23, 2010

PS, re Acti Lift…lift? She fits into her skinny little hottie’s blouse? Okay so she fits. With Vaseline, that’s how she stained it. The problem I have with this commercial is that Mom is a liar. There are several versions of the ad, one with and another without the line, “That’s not my style,” which sounds like a lawyer talking. There is some psychology here about mothers invading the lives of their daughters. (Unrelated, one of the biggest turnoffs for me is a boundryless relationship between a woman I am interested in a her mother – and lying means someone has boundary issues, like the one between truth and fiction; an integrity issue, such as you use words honestly.) Okay mom goes out dancing with her girlfriends, yay! But to do so, she must “borrow” her daughter’s shirt, damage it, then lie about it.

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