The Corner

Culture

Hey, Maybe That Peloton Ad Is Just a Bad Commercial and Nothing More

(Peloton/YouTube)

One of the side effects of living in an era where almost anything can turn into clickbait, and/or fuel for some sort of social media outrage mob, is that anything that is weird or amusing or unusual or worthy of a little chuckle almost inevitably turns into a GIANT NATIONAL CONTROVERSY.

Take, for example, that Peloton commercial. You’ve probably already heard the jokes: The husband who surprises his wife with a fancy exercise bike on Christmas morning is not going to get such an enthusiastic reaction. The actress is pretty slim and fit already, so we’re left wondering why she or her husband would think she needs this. She seems bizarrely nervous or frightened as she live-streams her first day using the Peloton. (I joked I had seen hostage tapes that looked more comfortable.) She continues to record videos about how she’s using it “five days in a row, can you believe it?” Again, she looks really fit. Why would using an exercise bike for five straight days be such a shock? Then the couple sits on the couch and watches her video diary on their big-screen television. “A year ago, I didn’t realize how much this would change me,” she declares, looking pretty much the same she did in the commercial’s opening scene.

From where I sit, it’s a weird and bad commercial, like the time Quizno’s Subs believed that bizarre, seemingly radioactive singing rodents would make us want to eat sandwiches. But in 2019, nothing is allowed to just be a weird and bad commercial. No, no, it must have deeper meanings.

The New York Times ran an article about how the commercial was being called “sexist” and dystopian on social media, continuing that vital service of modern journalism of letting you know what some people are saying on Twitter. Glamour speculated, “Maybe part of the anger over the Peloton bike ad is how accurately it reflects consumerism right now, and how uncomfortable that makes us.”

Or, you know, maybe it’s just a bad commercial, like the way Mentos commercials suggested their candies would turn teens into “clever” rebellious, authority-defying, wedding-crashing, trespassing felons with the improvisational skills of MacGuyver.

Now the actor who plays the husband — who’s barely in the ad — is appearing on Good Morning America, declaring, “People turned down a pretty dark path and it turned into a nasty thing . . . Once something goes viral, and it turns viral, people jump on that negative bandwagon and start to create any dialogue they want.” He wrote in Psychology Today, “as my face continues to be screen shot online, I wonder what repercussions will come back to me.”

Or, you know, maybe everyone is just making fun of a bad commercial, like the time Kendall Jenner stopped a strangely generic protest’s confrontation with the police by opening a Pepsi.

Most Popular

White House

The Hole in the Impeachment Case

Thought experiment No. 1: Suppose Bob Mueller’s probe actually proves that Donald Trump is under Vladimir Putin’s thumb. Fill in the rest of the blanks with your favorite corruption fantasy: The Kremlin has video of the mogul-turned-president debauching himself in a Moscow hotel; the Kremlin has a bulging ... Read More
White House

The Hole in the Impeachment Case

Thought experiment No. 1: Suppose Bob Mueller’s probe actually proves that Donald Trump is under Vladimir Putin’s thumb. Fill in the rest of the blanks with your favorite corruption fantasy: The Kremlin has video of the mogul-turned-president debauching himself in a Moscow hotel; the Kremlin has a bulging ... Read More
Media

Martha McSally’s Blasphemy

As I note in my New York Post piece today, I don’t believe that Martha McSally, who is serving her first term in the Senate after being appointed to take John McCain’s seat, is going to be helped much by accusing CNN’s Manu Raju of being a “hack.” Attacking the press might be an effective way to excite ... Read More
Media

Martha McSally’s Blasphemy

As I note in my New York Post piece today, I don’t believe that Martha McSally, who is serving her first term in the Senate after being appointed to take John McCain’s seat, is going to be helped much by accusing CNN’s Manu Raju of being a “hack.” Attacking the press might be an effective way to excite ... Read More

People Make New Orleans

I had my first taste of southern hospitality the day I moved to New York. A young woman from New Orleans, whom I had met only briefly over Skype (she had advertised a room in the Bronx, though I preferred a room in Manhattan), had asked if anyone would be picking me up from the airport. No, I told her. I didn’t ... Read More

People Make New Orleans

I had my first taste of southern hospitality the day I moved to New York. A young woman from New Orleans, whom I had met only briefly over Skype (she had advertised a room in the Bronx, though I preferred a room in Manhattan), had asked if anyone would be picking me up from the airport. No, I told her. I didn’t ... Read More
Elections

Lying Liz

Ever since she began explaining how her Medicare for all plan would be funded, and how she would pass it, Elizabeth Warren has been sinking. Ahead of last week’s debate, her camp leaked a story that her friend Bernie Sanders met with her in 2018 to discuss plans for 2020, and that at this meeting, Sanders had ... Read More
Elections

Lying Liz

Ever since she began explaining how her Medicare for all plan would be funded, and how she would pass it, Elizabeth Warren has been sinking. Ahead of last week’s debate, her camp leaked a story that her friend Bernie Sanders met with her in 2018 to discuss plans for 2020, and that at this meeting, Sanders had ... Read More
Elections

Thanks for Nothing, New York Times

Imagine how self-important you’d have to be as an institution to decide that the public so craves your political advice and opinion that you need to air an hour-long program dedicated to sharing your painstaking deliberations over who ought to be the Democratic presidential nominee. Next, imagine you’re so ... Read More
Elections

Thanks for Nothing, New York Times

Imagine how self-important you’d have to be as an institution to decide that the public so craves your political advice and opinion that you need to air an hour-long program dedicated to sharing your painstaking deliberations over who ought to be the Democratic presidential nominee. Next, imagine you’re so ... Read More