...where distraction is the main attraction.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Marriage and the Honda CR-V

Ladies and Gentlemen, behold, the new Honda CR-V commercial:

(please watch before continuing)

To recap:
In the rain, under an umbrella, a 30-something man asks a 30-something woman if she wants to get married.  She looks at the camera, stopping time, bending reality, necessitating special effects, and says "Married?  There were so many things I was going to do first."

She walks us through those things:  Hike the Appalachian Trail.  (Commercial shows her in the CR-V with three lady friends.)  Learn to Play the Drums. (We see some dude who's not her beau loading a pink drum into her trunk.)  Finish her short film.  (We see some Ed Wood-ish Sci-Fi set.)

Then she turns back to her umbrella-grasping man and says, "Okay, but we have a lot to get done first."

Then voice-over guy says "Before you make your leap, make your list.  Then get going in the completely redesigned CR-V."

Honda presents: Marriage As Death.

Seems like a grim way to sell a car.

The woman's immediate reaction to the prospect of nuptials is to state she can't hike the Appalachian Trail, learn to play the drums, or finish her short film after she's married.  But she also specifically says that "there were so many things" she had to do before entering marriage.  So there are clearly other "things" out there.  And she says it with an odd tone of perky fear that communicates that those things she had to do were things she would like to do.

She's saying, once she gets married she won't be able to enjoy herself, find fulfillment, or learn new things.  She's agreeing to a FAILED marriage.

If she had said...
"Married? There were so many people I was going to do first.  That guy at the music store who really wants to put his pink drum in my trunk.  That terrible actor that I only cast as the Martian so that I could cover him in body paint and humiliate him sexually.  And those three friends of mine who wanted to get high, drive into the woods and experiment...  Okay, but we have a lot of people to do first."
...that would make a little bit of sense.  She wanted to get run through a few more times before betrothing.  It's probably best she addressed that first.

But she doesn't say that, sadly.  To her, she cannot do the things she wants to do nor learn anything once she has become a wife.  So marriage means the end of joy, the end of growth.

The fact that she says "okay" to it is an acceptance of this death.  She embraces The End when she says "I do."  Very brave...within a dire world view.

I want to tell you, make-believe reality-shifting woman in the Honda commercial, that nothing is stopping you from continuing your life while you are married.  You can still hike.  You can still learn stuff.  You can still complete your (WTF?) film.  You'll even have a teammate now, supporting and encouraging your hopes and dreams.  You can even *gasp* share those things with your husband if he shows interest.

Otherwise, yeah, you're in for some sh*t.

She also uses the word "WE", as in "we have a lot to get done first."  She's now including her groom-to-be within her terror by intimating that he too will be unable to go on living once he's her husband.  His joy will be not be valid.

Now, at this point in the commercial -- when she tells her fella "okay" -- this is only from her perspective, and not from Honda's point of view.  But then Voice-Over Guy gives the Honda logline:  Before you make your leap, make your list.

With a grim usage of an old cliche, Honda is now confirming:  Marriage is bridge-jumping suicide.  Pack it in.  Buy our car.

Really, Honda?  That's the worldview you're promoting?  That's how you're selling the CR-V?

You could have tacked on, at the end, a one- or two-second shot of Woman and Man driving the CR-V along a mountain range.  Perhaps even still wearing their wedding clothes.  Hiking gear in the back seat.  *JUST MARRIED* on the back window.

That's my pitch to you, Honda.

As a husband, I'm not even offended.  I'm disturbed a writer wrote this commercial.  And a producer okayed it.  And an ad agency ran with it.  And Honda approved it.  Everyone responsible either has a terrible marriage or is scared sh*tless about the future.  And they're sharing their failures and fears during primetime.  How's that going to sell a product?

Because, seriously, marriage is not death.  Children are.

*wink wink*  *tempting fate*