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part of a small rebellion | by maryann johanson

Brawndo: it’s what idiots crave

I swear to God I want to leave this planet sometimes. I’ve had to give up on The Onion because it can’t keep pace with reality. I saw a commercial on TV the other night for some new SUV — I wish I could remember what it was, but honestly, I wanted it out of my head instantly — that should have been called the Canyonero, it was so obscene, both the vehicle and its marketing: the selling point was, basically, “It’s freakin’ huge!” And then there was the ad for the bread-and-circuses travesty American Idol that was all “These are the three words that changed America!” and of course I can’t remember what the words were because my head was exploding, but the idea was that this stupid remake of The Gong Show was the height of American civilization. I thought, Words that changed America? How about “war on terror”? “Weapons of mass destruction”? “Good-bye habeus corpus”? Or, if you want to be more positive: “No search and seizure.” “No taxation without representation.” But no. “Welcome to American Idol”: those, or something very similar, are the words, we would have it, that changed America.

I really want to scream.
And now Idiocracy, Mike Judge’s brilliant satire on the dumbing down of America has failed to keep up with itself. For junk-food company Redux Beverages — best known for incurring the ire of the FDA, among many others, for its drink called Cocaine — will launch, on December 15, Brawndo (“it’s got electrolytes!”). It’s based on the sports drink in Idiocracy that fooled a planetwide populace of morons into starving itself to death. The imbeciles were trying to grow crops on the stuff because the marketers told them that “it’s what plants crave.”

It was a joke in the movie, see, a satire on people who will buy any old crap if it’s marketed to them effectively. But people really, actually want this junk. Brawndo was recently named “one of the top ten movie products we wish we had,” by Maxim.com — according to the press release I got about the product launch — which I believe says more about the average IQ of Maxim.com readers and editors than it does anything else.

I know, I know: it’s all a big joke. But Brawndo was a joke, and the joke was on its drinkers. Is that really something you want to be a part of?

In my review of the film, I wrote:

This is a movie that knows how dumb the average person is… and that half of everyone else is even dumber than that.

This is not, perhaps, the best way to court a movie audience, and maybe Fox was rightly justified in feeling that insulting the audience might not be the best way to get their dollars. Then again, most of the people Judge is slapping silly are too dumb to understand they’re being insulted, so perhaps it would have been a wash.


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  • In case you hadn’t heard, MaryAnn, another classic-but-really-really-dumb TV show is coming back soon (probably thanks to the writers’ strike):


  • Drave

    The only good thing about the writer’s strike is that I can get caught up on my video games, since there will be nothing good on. *sigh*

    I actually found a store that still had a couple cans of Cocaine buried in the back. I was afraid to drink one, but I bought a bunch and gave them to various friends who are amused at the horrors our society creates. I have one in my Museum of What the Hell Is Wrong With People as well. A friend of mine made me get two for him so he could try one. He said it tasted like carbonated Cherry Coke with cinnamon added. According to him, the other can is forever sitting on his shelf, confident and horny.

  • misterb

    well, it’s pretty easy for hipsters to make fun of American Idol, but some of the singers can actually sing. They may not sing music you like, but you can’t deny their talent. And my take on Idiocracy was that it went for only the softest of targets. After all, there are a lot more types of idiots than the low-brow middle Americans Judge chose to satirize. It might have been funny if some of the idiots in “Idiocracy” had been hipster doofuses.
    I’ll be amused if the marketing campaign for Brawndo is “Drink the drink that idiots drink!”

  • I think you’re missing the point: Which is, that Brawndo has electrolytes. And that’s what plants crave. Not water, like from the toilet. I’ve never seen plants grow out of a toilet.

    This post brought to you by Carl’s Jr.

  • t6

    There is no way to compare the Gong Show and American Idol.

    The Gong Show had Jaye P Morgan. American Idol does not.

    Nuff Said!

  • Wow, I hadn’t even considered that the return of American Gladiators might be the result of the writers strike. If that’s really the case, please America, give that show the ratings it so richly deserves.

  • MaryAnn

    Judging from the apparent average IQ of the American public, *American Gladiators* will be a huge hit.

  • MBI

    American Gladiators isn’t any dumber than The Olympics.

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