Wednesday, January 27, 2016

If I wrote the CHEERS Jenny Craig commercial

Have you seen it? There's a new Jenny Craig ad recreating a scene from CHEERS. Kirstie looks fantastic, by the way. As does the replica of the bar. As a longtime CHEERS writer, a number of you have asked how I would have written the commercial. So I took a stab at it. My guess is they wouldn't use my version for fifty different reasons, but here it is -- following the commercial itself.


INT. BAR -- DAY

NORM AND CLIFF ARE IN THEIR USUAL SPOTS. REBECCA ENTERS LOOKING VERY HOT.

REBECCA: Look who’s back!

NORM: Diane, you’ve gained weight.

CLIFF: No, that’s Rebecca.

NORM: Oh. I can’t see that far anymore.

REBECCA: Fifty pounds down thanks to Jenny Craig.

CLIFF: Last time I saw a beauty like you, I was…

NORM: Stalking Olivia Munn.

CLIFF: Delivering her mail at 4 a.m.

REBECCA: My personal consultant Laura is just like you guys.

NORM: You have a diet consultant who looks like us?

REBECCA: Oh, and I love the yummy foods. I don’t have to count, track, or worry. And no empty calories.

NORM: I hate empty calories too. (holds out empty mug) That's why I go to Jenny Keg.

REBECCA RE-FILLS HIS MUG. 

REBECCA: A moment can change your whole life at Jenny Craig’s.

ANNOUNCER: Try us free for a month plus the cost of food. And get fifty dollars in food savings.

CLIFF: Y’know, it’s a little known fact that Jenny Craig was a hermaphrodite.

NORM: Shut up, Cliff.

38 comments:

MikeAdamson said...

Sold!

Carol said...

Jenny Keg. LOL.

Stoney said...

For the Olivia Munn reference alone, I like Ken's version.

The Tecumseh statue is saluting!

Sensational job on the set re-creation but show me a real-world bar that looks exactly like it did 23 years ago.

Michael Hagerty said...

Now THAT's a commercial worthy of prime time, Ken!

Michael Hagerty said...

Now THAT'd be a commercial worthy of prime time, Ken!

B.A. said...

It's a little unsettling to see Wendt and Ratzenburger as their old characters. It reminds me of a PSA a few years back with some MASH alumni where Burghoff's "Radar" cap was apparently moth-eaten.

Covarr said...

Such a nice recreation of the set, gone to waste thanks to flat, overbright lighting that removes any sense of depth or contrast.

...I should download this video and attempt to color grade it into something that looks more like the original. There's a valuable use of my time.

Barefoot Billy Aloha said...

Of course, yours is waaay funnier...and it would have been more effective and memorable than the watered-down dialogue in the approved spot - which is a good example of 'creative by committee.'

Stephen Marks said...

lol....Olivia Munn

Making my way to the bakery today I'll take everything you've got
Taking a break from all my worries by trying to eat a lot
Even Oprah wants to know what I weigh

Sometimes I want to go


Where everybody knows how much I've gained
Parker Stevenson left because of my weight
So I want to be where I can eat
All my troubles away
I want to be where everybody knows
I've gained

Stephen Robinson said...

Jenny Keg is awesome.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

At the risk of sounding like "one of those guys," I haven't been able to stand Kirstie Alley for a number of years now, and this is one of the reasons why: it seems to me that all she's really done with her career in the last 10-15 years or so is gain weight, do a reality show about struggling to lose weight, gain more weight, do another reality show about struggling to lose weight again, all the while endorsing Jenny Craig and go on talk shows and make trashy comments about people she's worked with (like saying she was fooling around with Patrick Swayze behind his wife's back just after he died); not to mention her TV Land sitcom got nothing but negative reviews (like all of TV Land's original sitcoms) from people who said it was far too dirty, vulgar, and overtly sexual (and no, that wasn't me this time, to those of you who complain about me always complaining on that type of content on TV today).

Don't get me wrong, I understand what it's like to struggle with weight - I've been struggling with it for sixteen years and nothing seems to work in terms of specific diets and/or exercize regimens (so far the only thing that seems to have worked somewhat is eating five small meals a day as opposed to three squares) . . . but Kirstie just seems to be really crass about it, and about herself.

That said, I'll parrot what everyone else is saying - you should have written the commercial Ken, it's much better than what they had to work with. I agree, the recreated set looks great.

Xenu said...

Poor Kirstie Alley. She has to do any gig that comes her way because Scientology keeps harassing its robots for more and more donations. Kirstie used to be hot and a good actress but that pyramid scheme/cult/creepshow has turned her into a hate filled, brainwashed rube who verbally abuses former Scientologists who had the good sense to get the fuck out (like her deranged reaction when Leah Remini escaped) and keeps donating every cent she earns to the psychopathic goon in charge of the whole scam.

Next stop: Look Who's Talking 4.

VP81955 said...

The ad reminds me of the Brady Bunch Snickers commercial. And that's not a good thing.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

@VP81955 Really? Because I thought that was perhaps the best Super Bowl commercial since Denny's Nannerpus commercial.

Boomska316 said...

It's pretty bizarre going from watching the old episodes to seeing this. It makes me feel old. Seriously when's the last time Kirstie Alley did anything besides weight related projects? She used to be one of the hottest(in both senses of the word? actresses in Hollywood and this is what her career has come to. I liked your version a lot better, Ken.

Peter said...

Damn, I wanted to be first to say the Jenny Keg bit was brilliant! That was hilarious, Ken. 

On a different subject - it's sad that Abe Vigoda has finally passed away (see what I did there?). He was a great character actor and it's poignant that after so many years of premature reports of his death, which he always took with good humour, he's gone for real. He lived a long life and I think it's safe to say he was that rare thing, a Hollywood celebrity no one ever had a bad word to say about.

Ken, did you know him, work with him? 

Anyway, here's to you, Abe. Rest in peace.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

@Peter I refuse to believe that Abe Vigoda is dead. Nothing could kill that guy, considering he was born two years before Moses. I mean, who's next? Don Rickles?

Peter said...

Of course, the magic of movies and TV means that Abe will never truly be dead. He's always living on in Barney Miller and The Godfather.

Bob said...

I thought the moderated comments meant no more gratuitous insults of celebrities? I assume none of you know Kirstie Alley personally. Is it really necessary to drag her through the mud for career choices that made her a lot of money AND for her personal appearance??? She is an attractive, entertaining, and highly successful woman, and thankfully she has no need to pay attention to trolls like you folks.

Grow up, people.

Ratzenberger, on the other hand, has always been a boil on the butt of humanity.

(see what I did there, too)

DBA said...

I'm curious about the Olivia Munn reference. It stuck out to me for how not-timeless it is. It especially stuck out to me juxtaposed with Norm's line about "not seeing that far anymore", which I initially read as a reference to his age, rather than current level of drunkenness. Not that someone his age can't know who Olivia Munn is, but, I donno I guess I am stuck on the "not timeless" thing, like someone who any generation would recognize might fit better. I know this is an ad, so obviously you can be more topical than you might want to be with, say, an episode of the show (avoiding the Murphy Brown problem). Just wondering how that sort of thing factors into your thought process.

thirteen said...

I know this is good because I can hear it in their voices. And it's funny.

"Jenny Keg." Inspired. Perfect. Thanks.

Mike Fox said...

Cheers is my favorite sitcom of all time. Your take on that commercial makes me miss it all that more.

Joseph Scarbrough said...

@Bob Yes, Ken has enforced comment moderation to keep out trolls, but none of us are trolling here, we're just expressing our opinions, which may come off as a bit strong, and you may not agree with them, but we're still giving the privilege to speak our minds on this blogs, even if we disagree on things: again, I've quite often voiced my opinion on my displeasure of the kind of content that's on TV today, and just as often others have disagreed with that, and that's pretty much what the case is here. We're just expressing our opinions that you don't have to agree with. And not just Kirstie, but there's plenty of other entertainers out there who are rich and successful but haven't necessarily done so with particularly tasteful career moves - I mean, look at Amy Schumer: she became the most popular figure in Hollywood literally overnight, and all by just going on stage and bragging about her reckless, selfish, and irresponsible sex life. Or look at the Kardashians: they're one of the richest and most successful families in American . . . for doing nothing. Sure, Kirstie's had some good moments in her career in the past (aside from CHEERS, there's also the mini-series I referenced her being in co-starring with Patrick Swayze and David Ogden Stiers) . . . but our point is Kirstie's had made some questionable career moves in recent years and she's not exactly endearing herself to the public as a result.

Gary said...

Slightly off topic, but this looks like one of those commercials where none of the actors were actually together; they shoot their parts separately and then are put together through the magic of CGI. It's a trend I cannot stand. Does anyone know if this is how it really was shot?

RyderDA said...

So, since I don't work in the industry, what gets me curious is who (if anyone) gets royalties for ripping off CHEERS without mentioning CHEERS. Does someone "own" the characters of Cliff and Norm? I would guess that the commercial's creators could get away with saying "well, we just hired Kirstie Alley and she happened to walk into a bar" though making the set look so much like the CHEERS bar could cause a problem. So who owns the intellectual property, and would Jenny Craig have to pay someone (other than John and George for coming in and acting)?

Mark P. said...

Gary, at the end of the video, there's a quad-split, and one of them is a link to a "behind the scenes" video. The three actors were indeed on set at the same time, although I agree the end result is so high contrast that it looks like they were filmed separately and composited together. Actually, it would be interesting to take actual clips from Cheers and slice and dice them to make a completely new episode.

Allan V said...

I like Ken's writing much better. I'm also curious as to how they made the illusion of the bar look as realistic as it does. Obviously, they didn't go to the Smithsonian (or wherever in the hell the actual bar is) and film there.

Speaking of which, where IS the Cheers bar at? Or is it just packed away somewhere in crates to this day?

Cap'n Bob said...

I'm with Xenu 100%.

Johnny Walker said...

Just watched the original advert... shudders. Just weird seeing the characters so much older (apart from Alley, who looks *almost* the same), and such odd editing (and the conspicuous lack of Sam or Carla). Those characters can't be nearly 70 and still be the same -- it just doesn't work. The bar is spot on, though.

Your version is a vast improvement, Ken, although I wish Norm's last line had him showing more interest in Cliffy's pseudo-trivia as a swipe to Alley's sales pitch :)

TF said...

You still got it Ken!

Brook Durham said...

Well played...

Doug in Dallas said...

The original Cheers set has been purchased by a planned Museum of Television, and is undergoing renovation: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/cheers-bar-finally-finds-a-723417

Looking forward to someday visiting it!

Diane D. said...

I agree with Johnny Walker; it just doesn't work---no charm, no wit, no appeal (things that were present in abundance in CHEERS). However, if it drummed up some interest in re-runs of CHEERS on the cable channels (especially if the series ended with the indication that Sam and Diane got together, and using the amazing footage of elderly Sam and Diane that they already have) then I could forgive it.

Klee said...

Question (not for Friday), same as another poster, who did Jenny Craig ask permission to use Cheers as reference to the ad? And who gets paid besides the actors of course, Paramount? Or who currently owns broadcast rights? Do the creators get to see any of that money?

Andy Rose said...

Given the infamous lawsuit involving Ratzenberger and Wendt (one of the longest intellectual property lawsuits in history), I'm sure Jenny Craig made sure to get the both of them on board! :)

https://news.google.com/newspapers?id=Qv5OAAAAIBAJ&sjid=QR8EAAAAIBAJ&dq=cliff+norm+lawsuit&pg=3080,2190343&hl=en

Kirk said...

I ashamed to admit I had to google Olivia Nunn.

I'm so much more knowledgeable about 20th century pop culture. Another mention of Natalie Wood, please.

Johnny Walker said...

I'm surprised that Paramount didn't create a spin-off show for "Hank" and "Bob" rather than risk accepting culpability for ripping off Norm and Cliff!

Tony Collins said...

It's weird and uncomfortable for me to watch, because every single microsecond without speaking in it has been cut out to get the ad down to time. It's that that makes it feel unreal to me, not the ages of the actors (actually they look damned good).

I know there's no way around the extraction of air between words - and God forbid, it won't be long before THE BIG BANG THEORY uses the same tactic to allow more time for adverts - but it makes the ad jarring to watch.