You walk into the party, hugging and glad-handing people as you go. After taking a moment to hand a glass eye to a gent wearing an eye patch, you play Finger Gunfight with an obese man, yank a tablecloth away from the drinks table to dab at a woman’s mouth, release a bird in a monarch’s face, and humiliate a kung fu guy before changing your dinner jacket, picking up a flute and joining the cabaret singer onstage. You, sir, are the main character in the new Heineken TV ad, and you seem to have a crippling fear that people might stop paying attention to you for two seconds.
This beer commercial is titled “The Entrance,” and you can watch it on YouTube if you like, but there’s really no need since you’ve probably already seen it 50 times as a fucking pop-up. Some of my friends have been forwarding this video around in preparation for the upcoming New Year’s Eve festivities, and I can kinda sorta see why — it’s a fun little video with great music, atmosphere and energy, that implies festive bonhomie with a touch of international exoticism. I must have some kind of malady that prevents me from fully enjoying this swaggering peacock’s antics; perhaps I’m allergic to douchebags.
I wonder what’s going through this character’s mind as he makes his entrance. Something like “I AM SO AWESOME!!! Hey, cyclops, have a glass eye! Bang, you’re dead, mister cowboy hat! Oh look, a black person! Watch me dunk this basketball, homie! Hey Jackie Chan, you look like this: BloooAwwwEeeeAiiChingChangChong! Ha ha ha! Shit, I’m gonna need more crystal meth....”
All of the spectators at the party watch this bozo with admiration bordering on worship welling up in their eyes. That’s what makes us accept his near-psychotic behaviour. If the exact same scene played out to a room full of disgusted people looking on with pity and contempt, this ad would play like dark comedy. Maybe Heineken should try that next year.
I can see what the Heineken people were trying to do with this ad, because there’s an 80-year-old cartoon with the same premise that works for me on the same level that I imagine “The Entrance” works on my friends. It’s called Lady, Play your Mandolin! (1931), and it was Warner Brothers’ first “Merrie Melodies” cartoon ever. I will attempt a synopsis:
The main character, Foxy (a blatant Mickey Mouse clone), goes to a Mexican cantina where a wild party is going on. After much surreal carousing, the guy’s horse walks in, drinks something toxic, hallucinates and finally spontaneously combusts.
That synopsis is hopelessly inadequate because it completely misses all the crazy parts. “But John,” you interrupt, “that sounds plenty crazy to me!” You don’t know the half of it. I failed to describe the constant rain of confetti, the two characters with spring-loaded teeth, the beard that does a belly-dance, and the mouse who gets engulfed by a tidal wave that rises out of a spittoon. There is no room on this page for all the crazy that appears in this short. And I love every second of it.
Foxy is just as arrogant as the Heineken guy, and the crowd loves him just as much, but it isn’t all about him. The crowd cheers just as much for the waiter, and for a drunken horse. You don’t have to be special to get celebrated here — this is a crowd that is 100 per cent happy to see you, no matter what. Plus, there’s no way for a preening egotist to spoil this celebration, because it’s already the most fucked-up party in existence. Everything’s so God damn cheerful, it’s genuinely sinister. Check it out on YouTube, but be careful; you might hate it, or you might watch it 30 times in a row.