This Super Bowl advertisement stands out as being an example of what is wrong with couple’s therapy. It left me with a sense of unease, when I believe that the intended effect was to make the audience laugh. The characters are relatable, but painful to observe. The only selling point is the opportunity to laugh at poor, doughy Peanut Butter’s impotence.
Cast of Characters
Peanut Butter: middle-aged white male with a doughy face; Chocolate’s husband
Chocolate: white girl
Therapist: older white male, wearing glasses
Butterfinger: fit white male
Scene: A therapist’s office
Time: Present-day America
We are in the office of a couple’s therapist.
Camera opens on a white couple seated on a loveseat seated opposite
Therapist: So, tell me about your relationship
C: (exasperated) Well, we’re ..
PB: (interrupts) Perfectly –
C: (deflated) Peanut butter and chocolate
PB: Nut’ but’ and choco’!
C: (turns to face Peanut Butter) (mumbling while shaking her head) Don’t do that..
C: (jeering) He says, “when something’s good, why change it?”
C: (mockingly) Exactly
Therapist: (smiling and laughing) What if you were to try something different?
PB: (shaking head) No
Butterfinger enters from behind Therapist, beaming
C: (exclaiming gleefully) “Ah!”
C: (begins laughing happily)
Therapist: (enthusiastically) Yes, it’s Mr. Butterfinger!
Butterfinger shakes his hips and settles himself upon the couch between Peanut Butter and Chocolate
Chocolate is standing, facing away from Butterfinger, and falls into him still laughing
Butterfinger wraps his arms around Chocolate’s mid-section and sits her down upon his lap
PB: (smiling, though surprised) I’m sorry, what are we doing here?
Chocolate, who is now shrieking with delight, taps Peanut Butter’s face with the toe of her boot, gently at first, and then more firmly
Peanut Butter, still smiling, turns to face Butterfinger and Chocolate
Cut to computer animation of new Butterfinger peanut butter cups
Cut to Peanut Butter, smiling, giving back-massage to Butterfinger; teeth bared and glaring at Peanut Butter through the corner of his eye, giving a back-massage to a contented and smiling Chocolate.
Butterfinger: (growls incoherent, gutteral phrase while turning head back to face Peanut Butter)
Butterfinger’s scowl turns quickly to a smile, as Chocolate turns back to see what has happened, bright-eyed and happy
PB: (takes hands off from Butterfinger’s back and turns around, still smiling) Let’s go the other way.
Butterfinger: (turns to face Peanut Butter, continuing to massage Chocolate) Oh, I’m good.
Cut to Nestle logo and slogan.
Nestle: Good food, good life
I couldn’t help but to think how much more controversial this advertisement would have been had it been done in another number of ways. This take on the situation just leaves me disgusted.
What was wrong with the lovingly illustrated cartoon advertisements from the hand of Matt Groening?