You know the commercial… where the geeky-looking Orbitz guy tosses the keys to his hovercraft to the Valet while awkwardly stumbling over the Hispanic last name of the couple he is greeting. You can still view the original commercial here.
It was funny… with emphasis on the word, “was”. You see, that version of the commercial isn’t used anymore. I noticed the edit right away. The last “es” has been removed. It’s just “Hernandezes” now. My boyfriend noticed the change as well and immediately I suggested, someone out there took offense to the humor and demanded that the humor be removed… and Orbitz caved. Now, the once humorously memorable spot is just another commercial… another victim of the “You can’t have fun” police. So, out of curiosity I took a little look/see through the internet and I discovered in short order that we were not the only ones who noticed.
One of the most-aired, but somehow least-annoying commercials on is the Orbitz.com “Valet” spot: where the Orbitz Guy exits his hovercraft, thows the keys to the valet, and says “Ah… the Hernandez..ez..es..es..” to a surprised Hispanic-lite couple.
First of all, I never felt that the humor in this commercial was directed at the ethnicity of the couple but rather aimed rather at every-day people of ANY sexual, religious or ethnic origin who have difficulty pronouncing certain words. “Alunimum” and “ciminum”, for examples. In their discussion of this matter on YahooAnswers, most bloggers spent a greater deal of time debating whether or not the couple in the commercial even LOOK Hispanic with some suggesting they look more Irish/Italian. More evidence that the humor people found in this commercial was in poking a bit of light-hearted humor at the linguistically challenged who struggle with making an already plural word plural again than being directed at the ethnicity of the couple themselves. And, there wasn’t an uprising of ridicule and anger among people in that the Hovercraft driver who flubs the Hispanic name is potentially of Polish decent…
In the case of the “Hernandez…es..es” controversy, Opinionopolis agrees with me in the intent of the humor:
It’s subtle, but it’s a great opening. It’s a small, but ultimately pretty funny joke at the expense of trying to make a last name that is already plural, plural.
It’s something we’ve all stumbled with, and chuckled about, at some point in our lives. And it’s exactly the same as making the last name “James”, or any other word that ends in “s” or “z” plural.
Would the last name of “James…es…es” have conjured a such demand for “change”? And, whose commercial are we talking about here anyway?… Why, it’s “Orbitz…es…es”, of course.
Reports are coming in from outraged viewers that Orbitz has edited the commercial above to remove the hovercraft man’s comical flubbing of the name Hernandez in his attempt to pluralize it.
After quite as bit of rock-turning I have found that, not only have others noticed the change in the commercial, there are far more people outraged by this uncerimonious edit than were offended by the originial version.
YahooAnswers has a host of bloggers venting their anger over the thin-skinned letter writers who seem to have an inability to laugh at themselves as humans. A blogger on Comercialsihate.com sums up the feelings of most people who have made comment on this PC Commercial Invasion:
“Is everything off limits today? No one is allowed to chuckle anymore. I was disappointed to see that Orbitz took out the little comedic flare to the commercial with the Hernandezes, es, es.”
Orbitz commercials are in a unique category as they have inspired a loyal following, a following of people who notice any changes in their favorite spots. In another commercial where three men are approached by the Hovercraft Man on a golf course, one man asks why he didn’t just mail the $10.00 refund check. “We have a hovercraft,” he replied. In the new-and-improved(?) version, he says, “Because we have a hovercraft”—a small tweak that Orbitz Commercial Fans say “ruined the whole damn thing”. The enjoyment of the Orbitz commercials to these fans hinges on little details like this. It is the removal of an extra “es” or the addition of an unnecessary “because” and not the ethnicity of anyone appearing in the spots that determine whether or not the moment is “funny”. But for some reason there are a small group of people out there who think that if someone is laughing it must be at their expense. One Hispanic blogger on Blogodara.com, in order to voice their anger over the mispronounced name in the commercial launches into a name-calling/threat laced tirade aimed not only at the rest of the bloggers and anyone one else who liked the commercial but toward the United States in general.
Oh, I see what the lunatic right wing fringe is up to now! They’re flooding internet websites dealing with social issues with racist, Limbaugh/Beck ditto-headed bull to create the false impression that America no longer cares about the concerns and grievances of its minorities and “doing the right thing”! That commercial was as insensitive, crass, and ignorant as the majority of people posting here. You don’t win new customers buy insulting them (And get over it. America will be a Hispanic nation just like the vast majority of other nations in this hemisphere in another 50 years — that is if the racists like the ones posting here haven’t destroyed it first! Orbitz was stupid to think that by appealing to hillbilly Republikooks they would boost business. I am glad they “fixed” that commercial. Take that you transparent devils!
No, you don’t “win new customers by insulting them”, just as you don’t win your argument of insensitivity by name-calling, insulting and threatening a take-over of the very country of anyone who doesn’t agree with you.
Opinionopolis also informs us that the inclusion of the stumbling over the name “Hernandez…es…es” is what those in the advertising industry refer to as “truism”, the portrayal of a common experience, which endears viewers to your commercial. They explain that commercials and even entire ad campaigns like “Just Do It” are awash in “truism” but that most commercials are bland and unmemorable due to an inability to connect with its audience on a purely human level and, therefore, they simply fade into the woodwork.
A look. A unique line delivery. A perfectly-cast bit player with a strange face. Or, more often, as in this case, a seemingly “throw away” line, that people like. And remember.
Orbitz’s (“..ez..es..es…”) removal of this small-but-powerful moment is a big deal. Not because it made a pleasantly decent spot bad (it did), but because it’s a symptom of a bigger, more nefarious issue: Political Correctness.
Frankly, I am getting a bit tired of the Fun Police. Actually, I am a LOT tired. I am overly/worn out/sick AND tired of allowing “the generally always unhappy few” to have the power to take away the rights of the “typically always laid-back majority” to eat what we want, wear what we want or to even say “God” in our pledge of alegiance or wish for someone a “Merry Christmas”. But even more frustrating is to be subjected to the chronic misery of the uber-uptight who, in their inability to laugh, refuse to allow (or even try to make it illegal for) others to enjoy a little bit of humor in recognizing those innocent moments of mutual, imperfect silliness that binds us all together as humans.
So, in the end, it is that poor Valet guy with whom we now identify when it comes to parking the PC Bus. The “truism” lies in our inability to steer with skill and confidence the unfamiliar hover-craft called, Our Rights. Put a few obsticals in our way and we go off crashing like a chromed orb in a Pin-Ball machine… Maybe, in these days of the chronic, PC Traffic Jams, it’s time we enroll in a Defensive Driving Course, lest our attempts to drive the Freedoms Vehicle be met with the words of the Hovercraft Man.
“How’s he doing… I don’t want to look.”