You may have seen the commercials – especially if you watch pro sports – with the two Rob Lowes:
The handsome, successful, cool, and wealthy Rob Lowe, and his nerdy, geeky, and creepy counterparts, well-played (with the help of talented makeup and wardrobe artists) by Lowe himself.
These ads for Rupert Murdoch’s Direct TV are a version of standard celebrity product endorsement with an alter-ego twist.
So big deal, right?
We’re used to seeing performers making a cool million or two (or more?) for a few day’s work. Alex Baldwin, Morgan Freeman, Ellen DeGeneres, and Tina Fey all push high-interest, high-fee credit cards (let’s give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they’re using the extra dough to fund a good cause).
But there’s something I find particularly irritating about the Lowe spots.
It takes a special kind of hubris for a celebrity to hold up his real self for us to admire while making a fool out of lost souls and deadbeats.
Satirizing and disparaging shlumps and outcasts are always good for a laugh. Great comic actors excel at this. They show us the fool, but the fool within us all. Jackie Gleason’s ‘Ralph Kramden’ (The Honeymooners), down on his luck and desperate to make something of himself, finds redemption at the end of every episode; his humanity and self-worth revealed; Lowe’s characters are just gross.
Maybe it’s ridiculous to be appalled by a particular television commercial when so much of the advertising industry is itself so offensive.
But my takeaway from those Direct TV ads is that it’s the greedy, corporate ass-kissing Rob Lowe who may be the real self-centered creep.
This article was submitted by Lou Siegel, author of LaborLou.com