Population Statistic: Read. React. Repeat.
Sunday, February 20, 2021

I just finished watching NBC’s retrospective, “Saturday Night Live: The First 5 Years”.

It was surprisingly good. I figured it would amount to nothing more than a sanitized look back and serve as a disguised promo piece for the current incarnation of the show. But amazingly, it contained a lot of edgy stuff and rarely-seen footage, in effect putting today’s “SNL” to serious shame.

There was one little trivia tidbit that I want to record here, for future reference:

Garrett Morris, while recounting his famous “I’m… gonna… Get me a shotgun and kill all the whities I see!” scene, revealed his inspiration for that song.

He remembered, as a kid, watching an episode of “Truth or Consequences”. The format of that show called for bringing audience members onstage to demonstrate their particular talent. One night, a frail little old white lady from North Carolina came up to play songs of her own composition. She proceeded to sit at the piano and started belting out:

“I’m… gonna… Get me a shotgun and shoot all the niggers I see!”

At which point the screen went black, and the episode was brought to a screeching halt.

Funny stuff. Right up there with Morris’ “berry, berry good” Chico Escuela character.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 02/20/2005 11:30:59 PM
Category: TV, Comedy | Permalink | Feedback (1)

So, did MasterCard (or, more accurately, its advertising agency McCann Erickson) really rip off Swingers in a recent edition of their “Priceless” commercials?

Due to the number of inquiries over the perceived copycatting, McCann sent out an email explaining that it got permission to use the scene, and even tried to get Swingers star Jon Favreau to direct the spot (scheduling conflicts prevented that from happening).

Skepticism remains, however. New York Times‘ advertising writer Stuart Elliot addressed the issue in a recent email newsletter (I can’t find the URL, and in fact it might have been email-only and thus never have had one). I believe Elliot spoke with people at McCann and confirmed that the commercial was an authorized homage, not a lift.

Swingers didn’t come to my mind the first time I saw the MasterCard commercial; not sure why, since the script was identical. If anything, I think McCann should have made the connection more obvious, so deflect even the semblance of swiping. They could have ended it with the tagline, “MasterCard, accepted by swingers everywhere”.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 02/20/2005 06:39:37 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Movies | Permalink | Feedback

So, does anyone want to explain to me what LL Cool J is doing in a Caress skincare commercial where he’s totally fleeced by a couple of little hoochie-mammas?

Yeah, sure, that last 2-second shot of him plays it off as though he’s impressed by their ingenuity and guile. But face it: Those girlies were hanging on his arms, then they ditched him once they got past the door. Like he’s not worth being with in a hot club.

I dunno. Granted, it’s total fiction, designed to sell some moisturizer. But LL is playing himself, and this is the sort of thing that can become self-fulfilling. Kudos to JWT/J. Walter Thompson for convincing the Big-L to go with it.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 02/20/2005 05:37:14 PM
Category: Advert./Mktg., Celebrity | Permalink | Feedback

We’ve all said it, in situations where only enunciating the full name of our Savior would convey the gravity of the situation:

Jesus H. Christ!

But what does that “H” stand for? Turns out, it’s Greek:

There have been various theories, but the one that seems most plausible is that it comes from the Greek monogram for Jesus, IHS or IHC. This is formed from the first two letters plus the last letter of His name in Greek (the letters iota, eta, and sigma; in the second instance, the C is a Byzantine Greek form of sigma). The H is actually the capital letter form of eta, but churchgoers who were unfamiliar with Greek took it to be a Latin H.

Makes sense. It’s amazing how many assumptions are made on the basis of identical, or even similar-looking, symbols like alphabetical letters. Because we’re ingrained, at an early age, with assigning specific meanings to such symbols, we automatically assume those meanings are universal.

Still, given the widespread popularity of The Passion of the Christ, I wonder if that “H” won’t eventually get supplanted by “T”. A bit cheesier, but the sound is similar enough.

- Costa Tsiokos, Sun 02/20/2005 03:25:27 PM
Category: History | Permalink | Feedback (7)