Those Snuggie Ads Are Hilarious... But Why?

04/04/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

I know I'm not the first person to say this, but I love the Snuggie commercial more than chocolate. More than Law & Order marathons. More than dreams.

You know Snuggie, right? The official "blanket with sleeves?" It's been getting lots of coverage in the last few days, appearing on the Today Show and in major newspapers. If you've seen it, then I know you'll join me in what follows. If not, then get ready. I'm about to celebrate the greatest commercial currently on TV.

Here it is:

When I first asked myself why I like this commercial, I said, "Because it's ludicrous." But then I thought... what does that mean? How is it ludicrous?

And then I realized: This ad is ludicrous---and therefore hilarious---because it's earnest about two completely ridiculous things.

(1) The Snuggie commercial declares war on blankets

Most commercials try convince us the products they're hawking are the solutions to problems. Proactiv solves your acne problem. Coke quenches your thirst attack. Lexus cures your luxury deficiency.

Using that premise, the Snuggie commercial insists it's solving our blanket dilemma. To be swayed by its pitch, you have to accept that millions of people are sick and damn tired of the blanket, but they've been helpless to do anything about it... until now.

But have you ever heard anyone cursing the blanket? Maybe a specific afghan, sure, but the blanket in general? Honestly, I don't think I've ever been sitting on the couch on a winter's night and felt betrayed by my quilt because it wouldn't cover my arms while I reached for the bowl of popcorn on my lap.

To appreciate how ridiculous this ad's opening scenes are, imagine them taken to their extreme. Imagine that we hear ominous music, and a stern announcer's voice says, "Blankets. They're happening to you. They're happening to your children." And then we see a group of wholesome kids sitting in a living room watching TV. There's a phone on a nearby table, and it starts to ring. One by one, the children try to get up and answer it, but they are always thwarted by their evil blankets. They get tangled, they yelp, they fall, perhaps in slow-motion. By the end, the ringing phone has become deafeningly loud, and we see a writhing mass of blanket-covered young bodies, screaming in agony, pitifully reaching for the handset.

It may be lighter in tone, but this commercial suggests this "blanket crisis" is perfectly real and that we should buy a Snuggie to stop it.

(2) The Snuggie commercial suggests no one will mind looking that way.

As it pushes the horror of blankets, the commercial also implies that no one will question the Snuggie as a fashion statement. Everyone we see is mega-super happy to be wearing it, and in one moment, a nuclear family even rocks a set of Snuggies at an outdoor sporting event. They're surrounded by people in ski coats and windbreakers, and they're fitting right in.

The implication is that no one would think twice about this family shuffling onto the bleachers---that the Snuggie is such a natural choice for public fashion that it will go unnoticed.

And yet... no. Snuggies look like the robes of a fleece-obsessed druidic cult. The giant hood and sleeves are perfect for hiding ancient tablets or a knife dipped in dragon's blood.

Anyone wearing this thing in public is going to catch hell, and god forbid there's an oblivious ninth-grader who has believed this commercial and worn a Snuggie to a high school football game. (This New York Times writer got away with the public display, but Times Square might be the only place where you can pull off the Snuggie as a fashion statement.)

In this ad, though, the world operates by different rules. It's a world where blankets are the enemy and "cult chic" is the latest trend. I don't want to live there, but I'm grateful this commercial lets me visit.

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