Aaron R. Davis
Setting: the bedroom set of a DirecTV commercial.
DIRECTOR: Alright, now in this commercial, our husband is sitting in bed and his marionette wife enters in her robe. She’s concerned because her husband has been telling people that DirecTV gets rid of ugly wires, and she thinks he means all wires, including her, um … marionette wires. And then he reassures her and she tries to spice things up by doing a sexy dance, and … uh, the marionette is going to be computered in, right?
DIRECTOR: Good, I don’t want to get caught up getting that creepy thing to move.
PRODUCER: This one’s called “Am I Pretty?”
DIRECTOR: Oh, jeez … look, let’s just power through this, alright?
PRODUCER: I’m sensing a tone here. Do you have a problem with this ad?
DIRECTOR: Can we just get through this, please? I don’t want to have to spend a lot of time thinking about it.
PRODUCER: It’s part of our series about a man with a marionette family, see, and —
DIRECTOR: I know, I’ve seen the other two.
PRODUCER: You don’t like them? I thought they were pretty clever. See, the guy talks about how the DirecTV genie is wireless, so you don’t have to look at those ugly wires. But she worries that he thinks all wires are ugly.
DIRECTOR: And of all the ways a living marionette wife is a hideous abomination, she worries that he doesn’t like her because of the wires? Let me ask a question: who’s controlling the wires?
PRODUCER: It doesn’t matter.
DIRECTOR: Of course it matters! People look at a living marionette and the first thing they’re going to do is ask who the hell is controlling her wires. Actually, no: the first thing they’re going to do is scream for a full minute. But after that, they’re going to want to know who is controlling the wires.
PRODUCER: It’s just a goof, it’s not really important.
DIRECTOR: Wait, these are supposed to be funny?
PRODUCER: Well what did you think they were supposed to be?
PRODUCER: That’s rather mean-spirited.
DIRECTOR: Is it, though? I mean, you’re telling people that wires are ugly, so get the wireless Genie, but then you’re also reassuring everyone that not all wires are ugly, so it’s not really that big a deal. Where’s the incentive to buy the product? For the message to make sense, he should be cutting off her wires, or something. You want to make wires irrelevant, but to this marionette, they’re essential. The message is confused. Not to mention the marionettes are fucking creepy.
PRODUCER: They’re not creepy! They’re a family!
DIRECTOR: How the hell are they a family! How did this man end up with a marionette wife? There are so many goddamn unanswered questions here! Did he meet her at the store or something, or did he carve her out of wood and the Blue Fairy brought her to life because it was just so sad what he was doing to her? And how did they have a son? Did he carve another one? Or is she somehow biologically capable of carrying and birthing a child?
PRODUCER: Come on, man, why do those questions even have to come into it? It’s just supposed to be funny.
DIRECTOR: How? How is this funny? Listen carefully to me: this is a commercial about a man getting ready to fuck a marionette. Marionette fucking. That’s how you’ve decided to sell an alternative to getting cable.
PRODUCER: Okay, but —
DIRECTOR: How does he even have sex with this thing? Don’t you think he’s worried about splinters? Bloody hell, do not make me think about what it must be like inside of a marionette’s vagina. What’s supposed to be sexy about wood?
PRODUCER: She’s not wooden, she’s silicone and PVC.
DIRECTOR: Did you come up with this campaign just so you could get your fetish on television?
PRODUCER: What? No, of course not!
DIRECTOR: Is this your fantasy? To be married to a sex doll and have a kid with it? Am I going to go to your place one day and find out your wife is really a mannequin and you have a whole mannequin family arranged at the dinner table?
PRODUCER: Come on, what do you think I am? This is a goof! It’s funny! I didn’t even want to do a whole campaign, I only wanted to make this one!
DIRECTOR: You saying that makes it so much worse! You wanted to jump right into the bedroom with a marionette woman! To sell DirecTV!
PRODUCER: Lower your voice!
DIRECTOR: Why? Because you’re worried that people are only now going to start thinking that the guy who came up with a series of ads about a man living in connubial bliss with a marionette woman might have some kind of creepy fetish that he’s weirdly celebrating in a series of ads for broadcast satellite service? This is more bizarre than those phone commercials where Judy Greer is married to the hamster.
PRODUCER: How is this more bizarre than that?
DIRECTOR: Because it’s more obviously a goof! Because the whole point of those commercials is that you can pick anyone to be part of your family, so everyone’s diverse. They don’t have a weird bunch of human-hamster hybrid children running around forcing everyone to imagine the logistics of their coupling. She just comes off as eccentric, because she doesn’t run around desperately trying to reassure her family that they’re not inferior because she can’t shut up about the terrible inconvenience of a few inches of wire that most people just hide behind a dresser or some shit.
PRODUCER: Look, can we just shoot this commercial and call it a day?
DIRECTOR: Yes, I’ve been looking forward to shooting your commercial exploring the bedroom dynamics between man and marionette for weeks now. Just promise me you won’t give her a sexy, breathy voice.
PRODUCER: Um … sure, no problem.
Aaron R. Davis lives in a cave at the bottom of the ocean with his eyes shut tight and his fingers in his ears. You can contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org