This week’s installment of WbW is one of the reasons I started this information skit project dealie in the foist place.
Ok. Where do I begin?
Seriously. Holy crap, this is the goldmine of 80’s commercials. I am going to have to categorize this.
Setting: Pizzeria. Let’s look at the signs posted around: Week old pizza, half price. No Screaming. Be Patient, Meatball! Yeah Jimmy’s running on fumes as it is, but hey he makes the pizzas to order.
That brings me to the next part: The cast. Two old Italian guys. That in itself is a lost art around here. Back in the day it almost seemed as though pizzaguys were mentored into the trade, like locksmiths, tailors, or Jedi Knights. Closely monitored during their earliest years, and if there was something that the Masters could sense about the young lad, he was taken away to an isolated compound (not a Hut!), far away, complete with wood firing stoves. There they learned even saucing, flipping the dough, and how much cheese actually qualifies as ‘extra’.
These days, I walk into a pizza joint and it’s a bunch of guys doing specialized or non-skilled labor: one makes pizzas, one tosses em in/pulls em out of the oven, another slices and hands ‘em out to you, another rings you up, oh yeah and one guy slinging sodas. Consider also that you’ll most often see that scenario in the .99 cents pizza places (pizza usually runs 2.50 -2.75 a slice) which are popping up all over NYC, Adam Smith would shit his knickers if he saw this. The worst economic model you’ve likely ever seen, which makes me wonder (being the advocate of lower profits on individual sales vs. higher volume) where they are cutting corners.
The kids:Leader kid in a leather jacket who’s just confident enough, but not quite a hoodlum-check. Girl with teased up hair and knitted sweater in some neon color and light Valley Girl airs– check. Nerdy guy with big glasses that are actually stylin’ for the time-check. Give them a couple more years and they are the cast for the latest Friday the 13th installment. Or Saved by the Bell. Same thing.
For some reason these kids want a pizza with extra cheese, but no tomato sauce (‘white pizzas’ do exist) but he flips the script a little more, BAM! No crust. These kids are ahead of their time, since gluten free is all the rage now that they invented an allergy to it, and even a few years ago these young upstarts could have claimed they were doing Atkins. So technically this commercial is still relevant. I wonder if Hollywood will remake this…
The order has been placed, the challenge voiced, the gauntlet thrown down, so Fred want Jimmy to make a cheese with nuttin’. “Nuuttttinnn?” You know you used to repeat it with your friends. Yes you did. Or at least now you will.
The Pitch– Polly-O String Cheese! In sticks! Individually wrapped! Stringy! Less cheese per package than a brick of mozzarella, but the same price! Now THAT would make Mr. Smith happy. I admit I had this packed in my lunch many times, forgoing any cheese in my sammich for this version. Dammit I love my mozz.
How does this turn out? Well Jimmy actually doesn’t make them a cheese wit nuttin; if he had, it would have been a pile of rapidly cooling mozzarella cheese, which does not congeal well when it cools, and not some pre-wrapped brand name cheeses. It really made no sense; where did the box appear from?
By the way, what’s with Jimmy (at about 19 seconds)? Does he go into a catatonic state when hit with this request, or did he reach Zen status? Consider that reaching your *ahem* peak usually involves some making weird faces, Jimmy may have had some Nirvana level big O going on.
Finally we get to ‘the best part of the pizza’ that is this commercial– The comments! “Bellissimo!” “Magnifique!” “Se se Bon” (or whatever). I have a story for this…
Years later: I am in Italian 1, Spring ’97. We are learning how to describe ‘good’ and ‘bad’ things. The professor mentions bella, and if the person/place/thing is even gooder than that, it is…Bellisimo.
Silence from everyone. I look around. Everyone’s eyes are giving it away. They know.
Suddenly hands rise and a student asks, “Aren’t there other words to describe. I mean manifique or something…” the professor moves to intervene, but not fast enough.
“Whatever,” another student blurts out, “I just wanna know what’s SE SE BON!”
The room erupts with laughter as the professor joins in knowingly “Yes, they…they just threw words in there, it’s not Italian at all.” Further proof that the 80’s made an impact that lives on in our hearts and minds, and could be referred to at any time for laughs.
Final Word: The best part of the pizza is the end crust!