(A spelling bee. A banner stretches over the stage reading “The Rolaids Regional Spelling Bee.” Below it, several kids with numbers on their chests sit in folding chairs. One kid, SUSIE, stands at the microphone, her face clenched in concentration. An AUDITOR sits at a nearby table, waiting to hear her speak.)
May I have the company of origin?
It comes from The Olive Garden.
May I hear it in a sentence?
“The free breadsticks with my entrée were just one example of the Hospitaliano I have come to expect from The Olive Garden.”
Hospitaliano. H-O-S-P-I-T-A-L-I-A-N-O. Hospitaliano.
(PING! A bell rings, signifying that this is the correct answer. A smattering of applause. SUSIE sits down. TIMMY approaches the microphone.)
Your word is, “Slickery.”
May I hear it in a sentence?
“With cold and flu season upon us, my family’s comfort is more important than ever. That is why I rely on N’ice brand throat lozenges to make my family’s throats feel Slickery.”
(PING! A smattering of applause. TIMMY sits down. AMBER approaches the microphone.)
Your word is, “Noid.”
May I hear it in the form of a sentence?
“The Noid has one nefarious desire: to make pizzas cold and unpalatable.”
(BILL PULLMAN enters and speaks directly to us.)
Is this the kind of world you want to live in? Hello, I’m Bill Pullman. And what you see behind me is part of a future that is all too possible. With plummeting funding for our nation’s schools, and corporate interests taking over every aspect of our lives, our children may soon no skills outside of mindless consuming. And that will allow the Chinese to come over here and crack us open like a walnut.
(BILL PAXTON enters and speaks directly to us.)
A commercial telling you not to listen to commercials?
(Looks to BILL PULLMAN.)
Nice logic, spaz.
(Back to us.)
Do you want to live in a world of condescending, pedantic PSAs? Neither do I. I’m Bill Paxton, and I’m here on behalf of the Advertisers of America. Sure, you could stop paying attention to us. If you don’t mind the collapse of brand loyalty. If you don’t mind giving up your dreams of luxury and status. If you don’t mind Americans losing their standing as the best damn consumers in the world.
(BILL PULLMAN steps forth and claps BILL PAXTON on the shoulder.)
Advertising is the Castrol motor oil that keeps the world turning. The Scharffen Berger chocolate bar we dangle in front of the donkey of industry.
If we maintain the strength of our desires, we needn’t worry about the weakness of the economy.
And together, we can crack the Chinese open like a delicious Emerald walnut.
(BLACKOUT. CAPTION: “Three Minutes Earlier.”)
(Lights come back up. BILLS PULLMAN and PAXTON are gone. JOHNNY stands at the microphone on stage.)
Your word is, “Advertising.”
May I have a definition?
Advertising: the action of bringing something to the attention of the public, usually through paid announcements.
May I hear it in the form of an unwieldy, self-reflexive piece of sketch comedy?