Tuesday, March 18, 2008

It's Midnight, Coppinrella (Check-Out's At 11)

Now that a team which, at one point, had a 4-19 record ("that's you, Cop-Out State") had its dream date with Cindy Relish revoked, America can now address the very seriously-disturbing image (as opposed to the myriad of "semi-seriously-disturbing" images) associated with this field-of-64, b-ball bonanza.

For anyone who's seen those commercials for the Sheraton hotel chain, this is no newsflash -- but in those TV spots which focus on people (or rivals) "being on the same team" we see so many heartfelt images, ranging from the dude in the Duke gear sharing his umbrella with his UNC counterpart during a downpour ... to the USC and UCLA chicks sharing an elevator without scratching each other's eyes out to the, wait ... are Louisville and Memphis actually rivals?

That's to say, "widely-accepted" rivals?

The part in this TV-ad where the theme gets all twisted and mysterious is in the final scene wherein the guy in the Sorrycuse cap-n'-sweatshirt apparel is seated at the bar next to the guy in the Georgeclown duds -- and then Orange Fan leans over and, using a single, bare finger-not-protected-by-a-Latex-glove, dabs at the small glob of ranch (or bleu cheese) dressing which has besmudged the moustache sector of Hoya Fan's full-facial growth.

In the food chain of "Earth's Most-Bitter Rivals," the Orange/Hoya co-existence likely ranks in that region somewhere between 48th and 63rd (given that a Big East, b-ball can never outrank hardcore, college football hatred ... or unrest between lacrosse programs).

What's unsettling here is the ad writers employed by Sheraton failing to address a myriad of important issues -- most importantly, the glob of hot-wings dressing and the sexual politics thereof.

Sheraton's attempt to explain the complex issue does more harm than good.

Let's break it down:

For starters, when we wing eaters glob up moustaches with ranch (or bleu cheese) dressing, the rule is that our girlfriend/wife/mistress/drinkin' buddy/life partner/son/nephew/new boyfriend merely offer the universal hand signal for, "Dude, you've got some schmutz in your 'stache" -- so that we, ourselves, can apply napkin/towel/shirt sleeve to the targeted area.

Anyone who would dare consider reaching over and, with her/his bare hand, wiping away the untidyness would be rebuffed with a swift-and-brusque swatting away of the unwelcome hand.

It's the first rule of personal-space violation.

"Frickin'-A, Ma. I'm tryin' to eat, goddammit ..."

In the Sheraton commercial, the fact that Orange Fan was NOT met with some form of Hoya Fan justice, vis-a-vis hot wings and personal-space violations (leading to Hoya Fan grabbing the neck of the nearest bottle of beer and pounding it against the forehead of the violator and then using the sharpest edge of the broken bottle to delivering a quick swipe across the cheek of the hot-wings infringer) ... is unclear.

It just goes to show how confusing TV commercials are when we DON'T have the Geico cavemen (or the Geico gecko) to provide leadership and clarity.

For all we know, in the first drafts of that commercial, Orange Fan leaned over and licked the dressing off of Hoya Fan's moustache, prompting Hoya Fan to get extremely turned on, leading to one of the most-talked-about, French-kiss memories in the history of TV.

Sure ... we'd expect male-on-male, tongue-tangle-ups in a Rick Neuheisel-sponsored NCAA pool -- but, here in the land of the fellas who dig mixin' it up with gals (where territorial perameters are established by Alpha Males), there'd better not be a "guy" gettin' his grubby meathooks anywhere near our bidniss when we're knockin' down some wings and brews and watchin' b-ball.

Not that any of us who won the same prestigious NCAA pool in '97 and '06 is attempting to legislate testosterone morality, but, Sheraton's message needs to be less convoluted.

As it stands, we don't know if the Orange Fan and Hoya Fan which we see in the commercial are domestic partners, current lovers or ex-lovers (we know that they are not total strangers, as outlined in Bylaw 17.44: " ... grabbing the neck of the nearest beer bottle and pounding it against the forehead of the violator and then using the sharpest edge of the broken bottle to delivering a quick swipe across the cheek of the infringer ...").

Right now, we're left to ponder whether Sheraton believes that a male Orange Fan is such a slob that he'll will hit on any guy in the bar -- or if bearded Hoya Fan WANTS to be hit on by any guy in the bar.

Or if Hoya Fan is saving himself for the right Orange Fan.

If only that Orange Fan would make the first move.

The mixed messages are plentiful:

"The bar at the Sheraton: Safer than a bath house in the red-light district"

"Sheraton Hotels says, 'Big East basketball is gay!' "

"Don't worry, male Hoya Fan -- Orange Man will be wiping something else creamy outta your moustache long after this game is over."

"At Sheraton hotels, you can sample our delicious hot wings in the bar -- or, you can try chomping on our meaty cocktail wieners."

"The wings-as-foreplay, Orange-on-Hoya, same-sex liaisons at the Sheraton are more dignified than what takes place at Red Roof Inn -- room-service onion rings and sloppy, UConn-on-Villanova sex."

"At the Sheraton, we offer male bonding in the bar; male bondage in the executive suite."

"At Sheraton, Orange Fan can hit on Hoya Fan in the cocktail lounge during the Midwest Regional and then spoon with a Seton Hall Fan on a comfy BeautyRest mattress during the Southeast Regional."

"Sheraton Hotels: NAMBLA-Free Since 1991!"

Didn't anyone else notice that it wasn't an Orange Chick reaching over to wipe something from the lip of a Hoya Chick after she'd sipped from the salted rim of her margarita glass?

Sheraton pushed the envelope with the confusing conflict of male-on-male touching -- in the hope that nobody would notice or ask questions.

The elevator cat-fight between USC gal and UCLA gal sounds pretty good right about now, doesn't it?

So much for the notion that this was going to be a ho-hum tournament ...

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