Friday, October 21, 2011

If You Say So Mr. Loggia...

A few days ago I suffered a completely random pop culture acid flashback about the above Minute Maid Orange Juice Commercial featuring veteran actor Robert Loggia from circa 1998. I was not at the breakfast table at the time nor was I drinking any orange juice or watching "Necessary Roughness". It was just one of those inexplicable overflows from the thick simmering stew that is my subconscious (also maybe my body's telling me I should get more vitamin C in my diet?).

Regardless, after looking up the commercial again I came upon a few new observations and conclusions that escaped me when I initially saw it in the late 90s:
  • Before I even get into the content of the commercial, I was surprised at how much more popular this commercial was than I originally thought. I thought the ad was so obscure that there would be a good chance that it might not even be available on the internet. Additionally, despite a having a career that spans television and movies all the way back to the 1950s, Loggia's performance in this commercial takes up on entire paragraph of his wikipedia entry. It may either be a testament to the popularity of the commercial or the shoddiness of his wikipedia page (I'd say a combination of both; it's definitely not the best written of pages).
  • The commercial predates "Family Guy" by nearly a decade in discovering the previously unknown inherent humor of just mentioning the name Robert Loggia. I don't know if the "Family Guy" cutaway was supposed to be a loose parody of the commercial, or an inspired pastiche of the ad, or just a weird random coincidence. I still find it pretty funny; although like all "Family Guy" cutaways I have absolutely no idea what the actual episode was about.
  • The joke of the commercial is ostensibly supposed to come from a young boy randomly suggesting an unexpected actor like Robert Loggia to be a source of integrity about the deliciousness of the new orange juice and the sudden appearance of said Mr. Loggia into the kitchen to convince the boy. It's all a pretty surreal scene. However, the commercial becomes far more interesting and oddly more logical if you suspect that the mother is having an affair with Robert Loggia. Check out the knowing, beaming smile of the mom when he invades the kitchen. The dad reacts the way any normal person would in that situation, with surprise and suspicion, but the mom just keeps that gigantic devilish smile going through the whole scene. Add that to the knowing wink Loggia gives to the mom right before he leaves and you have to suspect something's going on. I can't rule out the possibility that Billy is the secret love child of Robert Loggia and the mom and our poor bald dad is a pathetic cuckold whose "son" doesn't even respect him enough to believe when he says he'll like the taste of the juice.
  • As to the implausibility of a pre-adolescent boy knowing who Robert Loggia is, while it's highly unlikely that he knows him from is tough guy roles in mature movies like "Scarface", "Prizzi's Honor", or "Lost Highway"; but he might have just saw him the night before in "Big" or maybe "Independence Day" (ID4 was still sort of fresh in all our minds around 1998). What's really inexplicable is why the kid is so ardently anti-calcium; does it even have a taste?
  • That extra Robert Loggia "yeah!" at the very end of the spot really is the cherry on top, the whole spot would be nothing without that final exclamation point. The bite special effect that comes right before the "yeah!" however makes it sound like he's the one who took a bite out of the carton.
Next week, I'll be covering that old Little Caesars commercial where the little girl goes to meet the head of Little Caesars only to have it be George Burns instead (although she doesn't seem disappointed in the least by it).

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