Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Illustration for article titled Comedian Cole Escola’s orange juice commercial has a dark twist

The fact that the leading brand of orange juice is shockingly high in sugar proves altogether too much for one innocuous-looking suburban mother in “Mom Commercial,” a sketch by New York comedian Cole Escola. The ad parody begins normally enough, with Escola’s plaid-clad domestic doyenne delivering the usual direct-to-camera testimony about the everyday hassles of motherhood, such as “packing lunches and rides to soccer practice.” But then, the ad takes an unsignaled left turn into darkly comedic territory, when the mother confesses to abandoning her family for several months, during which she immersed herself in a world of drugs, death metal, and dog fighting. There may have been a murder or two in there as well, but she doesn’t feel comfortable discussing it. Having endangered her own children with the likes of Minute Maid and Tropicana, this mother began to doubt whether she should even be allowed to care for children and thus went on a scary, self-destructive bender. Fortunately, she came to her senses, returned home, and started giving her kids the less sugary, more nutritious Happy Orange brand juice.

Above Average, which did not produce the sketch but declared that “we just loved it so much we had to share it,” has deemed “Mom Commercial” to be the “Too Many Cooks” of commercial parodies. There is a certain thematic connection between the two works, to be sure. Namely, both use a bland, innocent suburban locale as the gateway to a disturbing world of violence and surrealism. And both eventually cycle around to blandness and domesticity again. The difference is that “Cooks” actually shows the audience the disturbing stuff, whereas Escola merely describes it, leaving it up to the viewer to fill in the goriest, seediest details, including the mother’s relationship with someone dubiously named “Puka.” Also, Escola makes memorable use of Arizona geography in this monologue. The best line may be, “You don’t spend time in Phoenix. You lose time in Phoenix.” Duly noted.

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