Thursday, May 12, 2011

Funky monkeys take the biscuit

If ever you should feel in need of a damn good frightening, then the best place to start is very definitely in front of the TV in your own sitting room.

Of course there’s the news, in which you can confirm your suspicions that the world is a very nasty place.

There’s the new series of The Apprentice, in which you can similarly confirm your suspicions that this year’s crop of would-be entrepreneurs are twice as mercenary, and twice as unaware of their own failings, as last year’s.

And if you’re in the market for liberal quantities of blood, guts, violence and swearing, then switch to the right channel at the right time and you might just happen to catch Gordon Ramsay’s Adventures With Offal. All right, that last one isn’t a real programme. But it could be, easily.

Still, there’s no doubt that one of the scariest sights on TV at the moment is that advert for Jammy (and other flavour) Dodgers.

For those of you who haven’t yet been scared out of your skins by it, here’s a synopsis.

Young lady stands in supermarket biscuit aisle. Amid the innocent-looking digestives are the Dodgers – not just Jammy but Toffee too.

And scampering above the Dodgers are two of the most evil-looking creatures you’ll ever see this side of a re-run of King Kong Meets Godzilla.

They’re both monkeys, but not the cute and cuddly kind. They’re CGI monkeys with cold, hard, staring eyes, and they’re trying to tempt the young lady into buying their wares.

“Jammy, jammy, jammy,” says the jammy-coloured one. “Toffee, toffee, toffee,” says its toffee-coloured counterpart.

(In another version of the ad there’s a choccie-coloured simian too. Guess what he says?)

All the monkeys have frills around their necks that resemble distorted Elizabethan ruffs, but are obviously intended to look like the biscuity bit of the biscuit.

But there’s something about their eyes that completely freaks you out. Dark pools of evil they are, where malevolence swims as purposefully as – well, a very purposeful malevolent swimming thing.

“Buy MY dodgers,” they seem to say, “or you will float with me down to the nether depths of Hell.”

If the makers of all these different Dodgers – that’s you, Burton Foods of Cwmbran – had wanted to frighten us off their Jammy, Toffee or Choccie varieties for life, they couldn’t have tried harder.

Or perhaps they could. Because now there’s a new contender for the title of Scariest Thing on TV. Another animal: a stuffed bear. It interrupts a Mediterranean tête-à-tête supper to tell the lurve interest – whose name is Janice – that her holiday need never end if she opens a packet of Birds Eye Emperor Prawns.

Visions like this give children nightmares, and should only be shown after the watershed.

No, if we have to have odd creatures on TV, then bring back The Goodies’ Funky Gibbon. At least you could dance to that.

No comments:

Post a Comment