Shouldn’t Commercials for Food be Appetizing?

It’s no secret to anyone who reads our blog that we’re all sort of “food people.” I’m not about to call us “foodies,” seeing as we’re all pretty metal and I don’t want to get punched in the face any time soon, but we all enjoy checking out new local restaurants and cooking – both for ourselves and each other.  Recently, Vanessa and I were having dinner at Rico’s (probably the best pizza in Stamford right now) and the subject of commercials that make the food look disgusting.

Think back a few years when commercials would make even McDonald’s look as if you were having a Kobe beef burger from a James Beard Award winning restaurant.  And now try to remember the last time a chain restaurant enticed you with perfectly dressed and designed food to trick you into thinking they are not only serving edible, but delicious, food that you want to eat. You can’t remember, can you? That’s because they stopped trying!

Red Lobster is one of my “favorite” offenders.   Case in point:

Red Lobster wants to serve you nothing more than boiling bowls of butter and oil.  I’m afraid of getting third-degree burns just from watching the commercial on TV.  There’s no way the “guests” are taking a bite and saying “oh man how awesome” any time soon – they’re screaming for someone to call 911 while everyone started running away from Two-Face from “Batman” who just dared try to eat that first bite of the bubbling, gurgling, boiling butter-filled lobster he ordered.

While Red Lobster may be attempting to injure you with their food, Taco Bell is serving up… well, I’m not sure.  In this commercial, we see Colin Hanks’ Gremlin offspring having some sort of romance with a steak sandwich thing of some sort that gets his ass beat down.  I have never gotten into a fist fight over food, ever, and as I mentioned above, the Alternative Control crew all like food and are pretty damned tough.  So this must be really, really good, right?


What is even going on there?  They’re showing the steak – but it has a green and pink sheen to it.  Those colors belong in a Spring garden. They belong in a puddle of oil on pavement. They belong in an Easter basket. You know where they absolutely do not belong? On a steak.

Going beyond that, they don’t even bother to pretend there is anything close to real cheese on the steak, it has some kind of vile and horrible goo all over it, the bread looks soggy or coated in oil.  And I do appreciate a good steak sandwich; I’ve personally adopted Philadelphia as my hometown of choice.  But what the ever-loving hell is that? It’s just a horrible pile of oil-slicked steak with sub-par Velveeta on it.  Not that it would help, but they could have put some peppers and onions on there, and maybe a few jalapenos, just because.

Speaking of Taco Bell, let’s discuss the Doritos taco shell.

This commercial cracks me up because I do a lot of work in different cities in California.  But beyond that?  Why on earth would anyone take something as pure and delicious as a plain corn taco shell just waiting for you to use it as a special fork for delicious Mexican fillings… and turn it into a giant Dorito?  Doritos are the last refuge of a starving pothead, or the greatest salvation of a woman suffering from PMS. It’s not what you want for a meal!  I thought it was bad enough when they just started offering Doritos as part of a meal, but turning them into taco shells?  That should be a crime.

It’s now time to discuss Olive Garden.  You know why I won’t go there? I don’t want to be a part of their “family.” Ever.  To begin with, I enjoy the fact that I have a waist.  Further, I like my pasta cooked properly – al dente – which is not how they do it, as an actual company policy.

I’ll give you a few moments to stop laughing at how absurd this commercial is.

Take your time. Because we all know teenage boys bond with their moms over 18-cheese pasta, with cheese crisps, and the combo of ass-boils hot steak with an odd sheen to it (and admittedly, a decent looking salad).


So… as I mentioned… does pasta really need four cheeses at any time? Even the best homemade macaroni and cheese only uses two types of cheese (Cheddar and Monterrey Jack, or if you want, Cheddar Jack) . I cannot think of a reason why anyone would jumble up that much cheese.  And as I mentioned, it is company policy to overcook pasta and not serve it al dente.  You can actually tell from the commercial that is some soggy-ass, overcooked pasta that is soaked in all the cheese they could find.  Why on earth does it need “cheese crisps”? And greasy steak?  Just what are they serving there?

I really wanted to end this rant with an Applebee’s commercial, as I am pretty sure they serve some of the most unappealing food ever to be prepared in a supposed restaurant, but I discovered something about them that surprised me.  They are aware of this, and as such, are one of the rare chain restaurants that do not upload their own commercials to YouTube so I can verify just how awful they present their food to unsuspecting television viewers. In a small way? I have to say “Good for them”.  They know their food looks vile, and while they advertise it, they don’t flaunt it.

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