Novelist Joey Goebel reviews Collapse Theater/American Films piece, “TCN – The Commercial Network”
After having watched the short film “The Commercial Network,” I find it difficult to watch TV commercials in the same way. Ads that once seemed silly–or inane at worst–have now taken on a creepy, even sinister air. Leave it to Idaho filmmaker/playwright/satirist Kelly Broich to take something as commonplace as a TV ad and expose it as one more symptom of the festering soul of our runaway capitalism.
The premise is simple: Three dumb American men decide to waste the evening away in front of the TV watching something called “The Commercial Network,” which is exactly what it sounds like. Interestingly, the commercials are real ones we are all too familiar with: the Kia gerbils, Alec Baldwin credit cards, Carl Jr.’s, etc. But with Broich adding a sense of foreboding that grows with each passing commercial, once innocent ads now seem sleazy and absurd. The three viewers are perversely affected by the commercials, and with this dark new context, it hit me like a Louisville Slugger to the forehead: Yes, that Carl Jr (aka Hardee’s in the east) commercial where the Greek gods and goddesses are worshipping a cheeseburger IS fucked up. (I must add that Carl Jr.’s/Hardee’s have been running the worst commercials in the history of the medium, presumably due to their target demographics, which is apparently dickheads of the male variety.)
“The Commercial Network” is an experimental film in the best possible way, and its twisted humor—a hallmark of any Broich/American Films production—is what keeps it from veering anywhere near pretentious territory. It is a bizarre indictment of commerce at its trashiest, and in a hilarious way, it exposes idiotic commercials as for what they might potentially be: thirty second spots of evil.
Joey Goebel is the author of the satirical novels, The Anomalies, Torture the Artist and Commonwealth.
Goebel books on Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Joey+Goebel