Daily Archives: August 18, 2011

Recurring Feature (at least until I tire of it): “Terrible Things”…

If I had my way, all TV commercials would consist of white text over a black screen that details the objective value of the product advertised… perhaps with a Morgan Freeman or Gene Hackman voiceover. I want to be informed not entertained.

Neither informative nor entertaining is the current HP ad featuring actress Lea Michele:

The promoted product is the HP TouchPad — the Gobot to the Apple iPad’s Transformer (really, “Leader-1” and “Cop-Tur”? That’s the best you can do against “Optimus Prime” and “Megatron”?). CNET provides a more relevant review.

My issue is less with the TouchPad but with the use of one of my favorite songs,Jule Styne and Stephen Sondheim’s “Let Me Entertain You” from “Gypsy.” Rather than commissioning a unique jingle (e.g. “I’d Like to Teach the World to Sing in Perfect Harmony” —  commercialism disguised as a message of hope but at least creative), it repurposes an existing song whose lyrics superficially match the advertised message (another example is Honey Bunches of Oats’ use of The Andrea True Connection’s “More, More, More”).

“Let Me Entertain You” is simultaneously sexy and innocent — as it’s performed in the show as both a children’s vaudeville act and later a burlesque number. The lyrics “I’m very versatile” and “I want your spirit to climb” manage to suit both purposes (Sondheim’s genius at work). It’s also a key song for Louise Hovick, who over the course of three minutes steps out of her sister June’s shadow and emerges as Gypsy Rose Lee.

Michele’s performance conveys none of this. It’s just a flat knock-off for… well, I guess, a flat knock-off.

Sandra Church’s version from 1959 can’t be touched but I leave you with my second-favorite performance of the song from 1987:

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Posted by on August 18, 2011 in Pop Life