Fans of comic Chris Farley, who died from a drug overdose in 1995, are angry at DirecTV for splicing old footage of Farley into a commercial for satellite television service. (Watch the DirecTV ad featuring Chris Farley.) In the ad, Farley's friend and comedy partner David Spade plugs DirecTV while Farley, digitally inserted into the same room, does his "fat guy in a little coat" routine from the movie Tommy Boy. Was the ad effective, or in bad taste?
This is an affront to Farley’s memory: What a despicable thing to do, says Josh Tyler in Cinema Blend. It's bad enough that DirecTV would turn a dead celebrity into "an unwilling corporate shill." But it is unspeakably "creepy and wrong" for David Spade to mock his poor, dead friend by turning his ghost into a "corporate monkey."
"Seriously, Spade, what the hell were you thinking?"
The ad's really a touching homage: There is nothing "groundbreaking" about using a deceased actor in a television commercial, said Jason Chin at Chicagonow.com. "Remember when Fred Astaire danced with a vacuum cleaner?" And watching David Spade grin and say, "Never gets old," after Chris Farley does his gag, you get the feeling Spade's trying to remind people how funny Farley was. It feels like a heartfelt homage.
"Selling the dead"
Either way, it's a horrible commercial: Any ad that "digitally grave-robs dead celebrities" is a bad idea, says James Hibberd in THRFeed.com, and not just because it's disrespectful. Viewers spend the whole time thinking about how creepy the commercial is, and how sad it is that this person who did such memorable work is now gone. And "feeling creepy and sad" doesn't make you want to buy a product.
"Spade, Farley DirectTV ad -- poor taste?"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- 7 grammar rules you really should pay attention to
- The real reason conservatives should be outraged that police killed a white youth
- The secret to handling pressure like astronauts, Navy SEALs, and samurai
- What would a U.S.-Russia war look like?
- 10 things you need to know today: August 28, 2014
- Why you should stop believing in evolution
- Why the West should accept ISIS as a sovereign nation
- What Ann Coulter and atheist Richard Dawkins have in common
- 8 ways you're probably overspending without even realizing it
- After Ferguson, we don't need another dialogue on race
Subscribe to the Week