Bye Bye, Mercury Girl...

mercury girl

Last July we offered this post below about TV spokesperson, Jill Wagner, better known as the Mercury Girl.

We felt that she was the best model that Mercury put out in a long time. She gave the stodgy, somewhat nondescript carmaker something it was severely lacking -- a

Apparently Jill contributions in burnishing the Mercury brand were not enough to save the company. The last Mercury is due to roll off the assembly line later this year.

Original Post...

The TV Commercial Guys Club is Not Male-Only
The Mercury Girl gently reminds you " to put Mercury on your list." Her assignment, it appears, is to help give the Mercury brand some personality.

That's been a long standing issue for Mercury. In the 1930's, Ford Motor Co. looked for a nameplate to position between its middle-market Ford and its upscale Lincoln divisions. Mercury seemed to fit the bill. Like GM's Buick, Mercury aims to be an entry-level luxury brand.

But the concept of entry level luxury has lost focus over time. Mercury cars, over the years, have drifted back and forth between being very nice Fords or very basic Lincolns. The nameplate seemed to lack a distinctive identity.

That's where the Mercury Girl (that's how she describes herself) comes in. She's Jill Wagner in real life and she's there to do for Mercury what the Verizon Guy did for Verizon and what the Caveman did for Geico.

Is she effective?
Jill's been at it since 2005 and that's one sign of success. The economic roller coaster, however, has been a rough ride for the last 10 months and the post-bailout world hasn't been kind to Detroit. But Jill is distinctive and fresh. And it certainly appears that she's been successful in giving Mercury something it's lacked from the beginning ... a persona.

Also worthy of note regarding TV spokespersons...
While the Mercury Girl, the Verizon Guy and even the Geico Caveman (his prehistoric name is Maurice, BTW) are all portrayed by actors easily Googled and Yahooed, the Glade Lady is somewhat more mysterious and enigmatic.

More soon...



Life is But a Dream: Abed, Cinemania and the Silver Screen

I like movies. Do you like movies?

I mean do you really, really, really like movies?

The 2002 documentary Cinemania follows days-in-the-life of several New Yorkers who really, really, really like movies.

These moviegoers structure their days around the 3 or 4 movies that they plan to see each day ... every day.

Yes, that's right. Every day.

They haunt multiplexes, art houses and movie festival screenings to see just about every piece of motion picture film ever developed.

As one of the subjects in the documentary suggests, film is a substitute for life, an alternate reality no less real than the flesh and blood world.

Viewing this film is a little like watching the people featured on Hoarders on their day off.

The subjects come off as pathetic and hopeless for a time until you realize that...

(1) they are fulfilled by their obsessive hobby and...

(2, and this is a big 2) their addiction to movies is not that far out of line with average television viewing.

Statistics show that in the US and UK, TV viewers watch an average of 28 hours of television each week.

28 hours!

Thats more than one full day each week sitting in front of the television.

That's 70% of a normal work week in front of the tube.

Maybe we are the maniacs

The Cinemaniac who watches three films a day (and let's assume that the movies are 90 minutes long as was the case for many of the classic flix) doesn't spend much more time watching movies than the average American or Brit does watching TV.

Except for the fact that of those 28 hours of TV viewing, about 9 hours are commercials.

Yeah, that's right. Unless you're zapping through with your DVR, you're spending one full work day each week watching ads.

So maybe the Cinemaniacs aren't so pitiful after all. At least they're doing something they love to do in a way that they love to do it.

Abed the Ultimate Cinemaniac

The character Abed on NBC's excellent comedy Community is indeed a Cinemaniac himself. Film provides an organizing framework for his worldview, his life.

And Danny Pudi, the actor who plays Abed, has an uncanny ability to morph into and out of TV and movie personae.

See him as Mad Men's Don Draper....

And the stereotypical Southern Sheriff in every cop-buddy movie you've ever seen...

Cinemania Postscript:
(The cantankerous yet lovable) Roberta (Hill), died on July 18, 2009 shortly after her 73rd birthday. Roberta was born in Washington, DC to Dorothy Dyar Hill and Robert Lindsay Hill. She was a consummate collector and animal lover. When she moved to New York in 1983, her love of cinema took center stage. She has been a fixture at almost every film festival and movie house in the City ever since, as captured in the film Cinemania (2002). She was a true New York character and will be missed by many.
(From the New York TImes: August 9, 2009)


Hey! Aren't These the Same Movie?!

Maybe it's a new genre...

The attractive female lead discovers that the guy she's interested in is a cold-blooded undercover operative.

Actually that was the formula for a lot of spy movies, the James Bond series in particular. James (Avatar) Cameron's True Lies used that cinematic conceit also.

We're seeing that setup in more and more rom-coms lately.

Maybe it's the new hybrid. The guys in the audience get action and explosions, the ladies get romance and everybody has a good laugh along the way.

This summer, opening within weeks of each other are two movies which, based on their trailers, seem almost clones of each other.

This June, it's Kutcher-Heigl vs Cruise-Diaz...

The Killers Ashton Kutcher/Katherine Heigl Opening June 4

Knight and Day Tom Cruise/Cameron Diaz Opening June 25

By the way,
wasn't that kind of the setup for The Bounty Hunter a few months back?


William Shatner: $#*! My Captain Says...

WIlliam Shatner is a versatile actor.

What else could explain why, as Captain James Tiberius Kirk, he created one of the screen's most enduring and beloved characters while in every role since he comes off as a low-budget huckster and a third-rate Leslie Nielsen wannabe?

Yeah, yeah we know that he got all kinds of accolades for playing that insufferable windbag on
Boston Legal. But true Trekkers squirmed and fidgeted at the thought of Captain Kirk playing attorney Denny Crane.

Hell, TJ Hooker was bad enough.

And don't get his former Star Trek cast members started. The late James (Scotty) Doohan didn't have much good to say about him and George (Sulu) Takei doesn't sound like much of a fan either.

This fall Shatner will star in the new situation comedy $#*! My Dad Says allegedly inspired by authentic Twitter Tweets.

After generating so much enmity with former cast mates, maybe Shatner is the perfect choice to play the cantankerous star of the program, which, based on the promo clip, looks like a train wreck waiting to happen.

When we saw that he was returning to television this fall, we were reminded of a video clip of Wil Wheaton, who played young Wesley Crusher on Star Trek: The Next Generation.

Wheaton's recounting of his first -- and perhaps only -- meeting with William Shatner is priceless and may possibly shed light on some of the issues others have had with him.

The audio in this clip is pretty poor but you can read the text of the clip here.

The language is a strong here but, as Wil Wheaton points out himself, it's integral to the story.