My kids have never been exposed to many commercials. Though only in the strictest sense of the word: I am fully aware that NickJr. advertises the shit out of other NickJr. shows and products under the guise of:
"LET'S GET UP AND MOVE WITH THE FRESH BEAT BAND, EVERY WEEKDAY AT 4, YAY EXERCISE!"
"LET'S GO BEHIND THE SCENES AT THE THEATER FOR A LOOK AT A CARTOON-TIE-IN LIVE SHOW THAT WILL COST YOU $375 AND YOUR WILL TO LIVE, YAY CULTURE!"
"LET'S LEARN TO SAY IT TWO WAYS WITH DORA AND PROMOTE SPANISH LANGUAGE LITERACY, YAY COMING ANCHOR TERROR BABY APOCALYPSE!!"
But thanks to the cable networks and TiVo, they (so far) have mostly been spared seeing the kinds of commercials I remember from the Saturday morning cartoon block, where every toy was the most amazing fucking toy in the history of the fucking universe, oh my God, go wake up your mom RIGHT NOW and start screeching about her hair grows all by by itself AND she goes potty AND she has fairy wings AND a matching purse AND a dreamhouse with a jacuzzi sold separately AND you can put GLITTER in the jacuzzi until you forget to breathe in and pass out cold on your parents' bedroom floor because GLITTERY DIAPER-WEARING FAIRY HOT TUB PARTIES WITH VERY TINY COMBINATION COMBS/MAGIC WANDS OMFG BZZZZT.
That never happened in our house. Until...Pillow Pets.
Now, I know that those of you with young children are like, "Fuck you, I am not clicking on that video." Because you know. YOU KNOW.
For everybody else: I swear to God, this is a THING. This is the toddler/preschooler equivalent to a life-sized plush Justin Beiber with coordinating Silly Bandz woven directly into its creepy, synthetic hair.
This commercial airs after pretty much every episode of Sesame Street, and if you're like me, you're thinking: Wait, wasn't the Whole Point of Sesame Street that there weren't any commercials? Just maybe a "Sesame Street Is Brought To You In Part By Evil Corporation X Who Totes Doesn't Want To Advertise Or Anything But Just Gave Money To Big Bird Because It CARES And Shit" title card or something?
No more, sadly. It seems that Sesame Street moved to cable (PBS Sprout) and learned a very important lesson in capitalism during a sleepover where Ernie decided to order a Slap-Chop and a Snuggie off late-night informercials and Kermit was all, LOW-RENT AS-SEEN-ON-TV COMMERCIALS ARE THE SHIT. WE'RE ALL GOING TO BE RICH.
So Noah saw the commercial for Pillow Pets. And started dropping hints about how he would really like a Pillow Pet? Maybe Santa could bring him a Pillow Pet? Maybe a Pillow Pet could come in the mail for him? Were we aware that Pillow Pets popped out into a full-sized pillow and then went BACK to being a soft cuddly animal? I mean, DID WE CATCH THAT AWESOME FEATURE?
I admit: We had absolutely no intention of ever buying him a Pillow Pet. Because...what the fuck. It's a PILLOW WITH A FACE.
Until we went to the mall and goddammit, walked right freaking in front of a Pillow Pet kiosk. The Pillow Pets...IN PERSON. LIVE AND IN THE POLYESTER FLESH.
Noah and Ezra stopped in their tracks. Noah covered his mouth, rendered momentarily speechless. Ezra barreled forward and grabbed the first Pillow With A Face he could get his hands on and promptly dropped to the floor to roll around with it, shrieking with rapturous joy.
Jason: But, guys! Guys! There's a LEGO STORE over there! LEGOS.
By this point, Noah had gotten over his shock and was jumping up and down because they had the LADYBUG! The LADYBUG! Which was all he's ever wanted in the WHOLE IN TIDE WORLD, DADDY. The kiosk lady obliged (THANKS) and pulled one down from the top shelf for him, and I thought, for a second, he was going to pass out and hit the floor like a felled tree.
Amy: I don't think Legos are going to work.
Jason: *nerdpouts, because maaaan, he really wanted some Legos.*
So guess what MY kids have!
Full size fail!
Not even close!
The whole ride home, Noah recited the commercial from the backseat, demonstrating the Pillow Pet's endless list of exclamation-point-worthy features, while Ezra buried his face in his dog version, kicking and squealing with uncontainable glee, a precocious start to a lifetime of Personal Fulfillment Through Goods As Seen On TeeVee.
Noah took his ladybug to show-and-tell the next week, despite our subtle suggestions of things that might be smaller and/or less totally lame. (Jason: LEGOS. WTF. I BUILT YOU A WAMPA CAVE.) We were wrong about that last bit, because Noah wandered through the hall like a rockstar, with children pointing and gaping and begging to hold it, while the other parents glared at me, because really? REALLY? I nodded and stared at my feet, embarrassed that my parental weakness was so brazenly on display, in the blobby shape of a cheerful humanoid mutant, because COME ON NOW, LADYBUGS DON'T EVEN HAVE FACES LIKE THAT.
Our neighbor stopped by the other day with her much older kids, and even they couldn't resist examining the MIND-BLOWING OPEN/CLOSE VELCO FUNCTION of the mighty Pillow Pets over and over again. "It's so SOFT," her daughter marveled, stroking the polyester pelt reverently.
Her son studied me quietly after that, sizing me up as an easy mark, and then started dropping hints about whether or not we actually played with all of our Wii games, because they didn't have nearly so many at his house, cue the big sad Precious Moments eyes.
Sigh. I know.
I hereby present Spoiled...