When Snickers is Unsavory: Unwrapping the Truth

In the 32 second commercial Snickers aired from the Superbowl this year, the whole gist of the commercial is the idea “You’re not you when you’re hungry”, and this year it stars Danny Trejo (from Machete, Desperado) and Steve Buscemi (from Reservoir Dogs, Monsters Inc., Fargo) as members of the Brady Bunch Family. This has to do a lot with appropriation, memes and gender roles. From the example in class of “Everything is a Remix”, many popular movies are shown to be either sequels or adaptations. This makes this Brady Bunch themed commercial all the more familiar and popular. On social media platform Tumblr, the Brady Bunch parody movies had gotten popular and the phrase “Sure, Jan” said from Marcia Brady in a sarcastic tone had turned into a meme. Perhaps being aware, perhaps not, but the context of having one of the most watched television event (the Superbowl, or the commercials more so) gave the idea that this memetic adaptation would be popular and good for appropriation.  Not only that, but since the Superbowl reaches a large audience, the subliminal messaging is all the more invasive. The ad creates its meaning through the signs and symbols of it’s whole message brought through the actors and setting. Since the Brady Bunch is more popular with the older generation, and now has become a meme for younger generations, the understanding is that (even if you don’t know who the Brady Bunch are) the old 70’s aesthetic would make you recognize this is an older tv show and had more “family values” than some shows do currently. The idea that the familiarity of the Brady Bunch, and the “funniness” of two men (one fairly more hegemonically masculine than the other) give the idea that it’s not okay for the girls (Marcia/Danny, Jan/Steve) to act like their respective actors. When Danny said “Peter hit me in the nose with a football! I can’t go to the dance like this!”, it’s supposed to be humorous and ends up being a sign towards gender roles. His very masculine aesthetic, and reaction towards the father is deemed funny for Marcia because “You’re not you, when you’re hungry”. She isn’t herself because the character of Marica is portrayed by Danny Trejo, signifying that masculine features or ideas aren’t meant for girls in some way, and that it’s funny that gender roles would even be changed in the first place. The same scenario with Steve Buscemi playing Jan, (the character who gets the short end of the stick most times) when he says “It never is!” flippantly to the mother’s reaction of “It’s not about you Jan…” and Steve flicks his wrist. This is a very stereotypical teenage girl reaction, and the idea of a man acting feminine is funny somehow, represents to our culture as a large scale, that being feminine is funny and not to be taken seriously, especially with the laugh tracks, signifying to the audience that it’s okay and should be encouraged to laugh. If you were watching without a critical eye, then you might think that having the actors themselves portray teenage girls is funny…but why is that? Because teenage girls are considered funny in some sense, because of the idea that girls’ problems are more trivial than other people, and that femininity is to be mocked repeatedly.