as a child in the 90’s i was subject to alot of things- teddy ruxpin, hypercolour t-shirts, the bagel craze, and of course-terribly emotionally scarring public service announcements.
you seriously could not watch cartoons without having to watch a commercial warning you of the dangers of either running away from home or becoming a full blown heroin addict. they aren’t really around as much now or maybe i just don’t notice them because i don’t watch childrens shows (in public) but these commercials from my childhood are seared into my memory and i’m here to share these memories with you! (you’re welcome)
1. he ain’t heavy, he’s my brother
when this commercial first aired i thought that the drug addicted brother was just in the hospital because he was sick with a cold or something. oh me! turns out, he was actually a drug addicted maniac. apparently my brain blocked out the image of him cutting up lines of cocaine and only filtered through the image of him and his brother standing on a canoe. and i was all “i wish me and my brother could stand on a tippy canoe!”
actually in a really fucked up way, this PSA makes want to spend time with my brother more then it makes me think of how drugs can pull apart families. so i guess it kind of did a good thing? anyways, im pretty sure if you play this song for anyone who was a small child in the 90s they will instantly think of this commercial. i also really like how at the end, it looks like they start engaging in small talk.
“how’s that methadone treating you?”
“good. i threw up in my bed last night”
2. don’t you put it in your mouth
ahh this is an old favorite and i apologize in advance for getting this song stuck in your head. its really got it all – poorly made puppets, a talking beet, a slogan you can easily make a “that’s what she said” joke with, and of course the message of not eating mysterious foods.
when i was little and this was aired really heavily i remember thinking two things: 1. that the girl puppet has extremely dead eyes and 2. who just sticks random garbage in their mouths? in the commercial they don’t really specify what foods they don’t want kids to eat so its sort of confusing, is it just like “don’t eat the last piece of pie in the fridge or your parents will beat you” or is it more “don’t drink that antifreeze in the garage”?
it seems like a pointless PSA because i think most kids are extremely picky about what they eat and don’t usually stray from their normal routine. i remember once when i was like 7 i thought there was a glass of apple juice on the counter but it turned out to be beer and it was a real eye opener, but maybe if i had seen these terrible puppets sing to me earlier in the day i wouldn’t have randomly drank the first liquid in a glass i saw. also, way to drink beer in the middle of the day when you should be supervising your children DAD/MOM
ah! how amazing is this commercial?? when i first saw it i was so excited because i thought it was going to be for a new movie or something, turns out its just warning kids about getting their arms ripped off in wheat threshers.
anyways, i think we all remember this commercial very well, and like a year ago my friend busted out “i can put my arm back on, you can’t” at a party and i spit whiskey everywhere. they remade it a few years ago with this new fangled “computer animation” but it just didn’t have the same pizazz as a person in a robot unitard. speaking of which, how fucked up on coke was the guy who pitched this idea?
“yea, yea so kids like robots right? right? yea yea, lets get a robot in there and cut off its arm, yea yea, right? right? yea yea, he lives on planet danger and wait, what? are we going clubbing? lets go to the club”
but, to be honest, despite how cool this commercial is, when i was younger i never really understood the need to tell kids that their arms cant grow back. is this a serious problem? apparently it is judging by the amount of war amps commercials. this totally boggles my mind because i don’t think me or any of my friends would ever willingly put our arms or legs near spinning mechanical blades. i think the closest i’ve come to any sort of injury of this nature is probably when the weed whacker kicks rocks up at me sometimes. fuck that thing.
4. bert and gert
first of all, who the fuck names their kids bert and gert? animated bunnies or not, that is just cruel. is gert even a female name? im sorry if anyone reading this is named gert, but i mean, come on. GERT?? anyways, these little assholes had a few different commercials, but this one stands out the most in my mind because it’s fucking retarded. if you are ever in the situation where someone calls and you are too afraid to tell them you are alone then you probably shouldn’t have been left alone in the first place, unless you are babysitting and THE CALLS ARE COMING FROM INSIDE THE HOUSE!!!.
this commercial almost gives me the feeling it was made and funded by crappy parents who leave their kids alone for hours at a time so they don’t feel like such assholes if their friends call and wonder why they left their 7 year old daughter home alone.
they had a bunch more but i could only find that one, but there was like 5 or 6 and they all revolved around the dangers of strangers, which is probably a good thing to tell kids and they must be listening because i am having a really hard time luring children into my windowless van. (i have puppies in there!)
5. first ones free
ok if i looked like these assholes i would do as many drugs as i could find and i would pray for an overdose to send me into the sweet release of death. they probably don’t have the hugest budget for these commercials but i mean, come on! even when i was little i knew this commercial cost like 400 bucks. i think they blew their budget on the stock footage of dead people in that montage. and thats another thing, what little kid is going to see this and be like “oh my god if i do drugs i’ll end up like Jimi Hendrix or Jim Morrison!” and i also think they might have thrown in a clip of john belushi, which would be amazing. i didn’t remember that from when i was little, possibly because there is no way any kid ever would know who any of those people were.
anyways, i also didn’t remember how at the end the drug dealer pulls off his glasses and has crazy googly eyes. AH! i must have blocked that out of my memory and replaced it with just the image of the shittiest puppets in existence. oh and i love how the one puppet is all “drugs ain’t worth the time!” and crappily shuffles off screen. wow. what director thought this was good? really the only thing i remembered at all from this was how that one pill is perched precariously on the tip of his finger and it drives me crazy for some reason. i can’t be the only one who thinks this right? RIGHT?
what are these awful puppets doing in a gross alley to begin with? it seems like a fun game to these kids, go in an alley and taunt the drug dealer before mocking his value system and retreating. i think i know why his eyes are so messed up, its from crying.