We’ve almost made it.

Now that we have just one more day of Brian Wilson’s XXL Chalupa commercial, let’s talk about Brian Wilson’s XXL Chalupa commercial.

There were two Brian Wilson ads. The first one, this one, involved Brian Wilson trying to convince his Taco Bell commercial director, at the last minute, after everybody has shown up and set up the lighting and even the extra is there in the background waiting and hoping Brian Wilson doesn’t screw up his gig…

… to change the script to something involving black ops, or maybe something called black awps. It is a 30-second ad. The other is only 15 seconds, and it follows what we assume is the original script. A man has ordered a Chalupa, it is too big for him to eat on his own, so Brian Wilson comes in as “the closer” to finish his meal. It is not clear whether these commercials take place in the same dimension, or whether the second one occurs in an alternate dimension where Brian Wilson didn’t show up demanding script revisions.

Both commercials, however, follow a common rule of modern Taco Bell advertising:


Seriously. Look at the shorter ad, where the guy can’t finish his Chalupa. Brian Wilson comes in to relieve him right now:

Hasn’t even started. The dude is being relieved, because he’s too full, but he hasn’t taken a bite. This is not the time for a closer.

Now let’s go back to the 2010 playoffs, when we watched Mariano Rivera relieve a small-stomached “starter.” Here’s the script:

Guy: I can barely finish this thing.

Guy: /puts Chalupa down, exhausted

Girardi: You’re done, kid.

This is the Chalupa at the time Girardi steps in:

Girardi then says, “Kid chewed a helluva Chalupa today,” except he didn’t take a single bite. Incidentally, the guy in the background has opened his food but it’s not clear he has eaten it; we certainly don’t see it eaten or being eaten. The couple behind him doesn’t have any food; they’re just at the Taco Bell to hang. The guy in the background on the left is just thinking.

More? More.

Here’s a Charles Barkley Taco Bell ad. Watch the secondary character go to take a bite, about 18 seconds in, and then …

…he gets interrupted and doesn’t take a bite. Except nothing interrupts him. He gets stopped by nothing. He just doesn’t eat Taco Bell.

Or this ad, in which a man brings a Taco Bell 12-pack to a party. Look at how happy everybody is with their tacos …

… all of them untouched.

I had three theories for this. One is that the amount of artificial enhancement required to make Taco Bell look pretty, rather than how it looks in real life, makes the displayed product cease to be food. It’s just makeup and glisten spray and glue. That’s one theory. A second theory is that the attractive product in the commercials is so aesthetically fragile that, were people to start taking bites out of it, the food would cease to look pretty. The third is something about liability.

But I’m not going to oversell this phenomenon to you guys. If you look hard enough, you will find instances of people eating Taco Bell in commercials. You’ll find a lot of people almost eating Taco Bell, but you will occasionally see people actually eating Taco Bell. (Even when there is eating taking place, there is the illusion of even more eating taking place than is actually taking place. For instance, in this ad, through crafty editing, you think that nine chips are eaten. Watch carefully, and you only actually see one chip eaten.)

But, yes, consumption of Taco Bell on camera definitely happens, so there’s nothing sinister going on; it’s just a staging decision. Forget my theories.

Anyway. There were other weird parts of this commercial — like, why is this woman wearing one six-inch fish earing?

Don’t you go zero 6-inch fish earrings or two 6-inch fish earrings? And why does this Taco Bell have a vase of flowers near the cashier? But those are small issues. The problem is obviously too much Brian Wilson.

*Note: I like Brian Wilson. It’s not easy to be different, and I respect him for having the courage. He seems like a good guy and I would buy him a real taco for sure if I had the chance. But I’m writing this with the presumption that you, like everybody else, find him deeply annoying. Which I sympathize with, because I also find him deeply annoying at times.

By my observations, the long version of this ad aired twice per game in both league championship series and in the World Series, and the shorter ad aired once per game.  That’s 75 seconds of Brian Wilson in 19 games, or a total of 23.75 minutes. He threw 11.67 innings in last year’s postseason, so at a rate of 10 minutes per half inning, he was on TV for nearly two hours. In other words, if 2010′s Brian Wilson exposure was this XXL Chalupa …

… then 2011′s Brian Wilson exposure was this XXL Chalupa:

Slowly, he is leaving us alone. Next October, he may be only a single shred of cheese.

So who will be the Taco Bell XXL Chalupa spokesman next year? If they follow the pattern of the past two years, it’ll be somebody from this year’s World Series winners. Probably one of:

  • Neftali Feliz. Pros: He’s a closer, like Wilson and Rivera. Cons: He might not be a closer next year.
  • Jason Motte. Pros: Beard, closer. Cons: Ask for Jason Motte, you end up with Lance Lynn get it guys seriously.
  • C.J. Wilson. Pros: A lot of people consider him just as annoying as Wilson. Cons: Is he vegan? I feel like he might be vegan.
  • Derek Holland. Pros: He does impressions? Cons: His mom would have to sign the release.
  • Ron Washington. Pros: Do the Wash. DO IT. Cons: He seems to have some dignity.
  • Mike Napoli. Pros: Nah, it’s going to be Ron Washington.

Whoever it ends up being (it’s going to be Washington) should be careful. Brian Wilson was already wearing thin, but this commercial made Brian Wilson very, very unpopular.

Bronies. Brian Wilson is ahead of Bronies.

Sam Miller is a baseball writer for the Orange County Register. He is on Twitter. He got the picture of a real-life Chalupa from here.

Comments (14)

  1. There was this wrestling show on MTV a few years ago called Wrestling Society X. A wrestler on the show named Jimmy Jacobs was in a skit that had some Quizno’s product placement. Doing some improv, Jimmy took a bite of the perfect looking Quizno’s sub.

    Of course what he didn’t know was that it was drenched in spray and glue. He puked immediately.

    So you’re right about that.

  2. I like that according to Google more people are sick of breast cancer awareness than they are of breast cancer.

    • Ignorance is bliss. From my observations, I think the majority of the population is just sick of awareness in general.

    • They aren’t sick of being informed about Breast Cancer, they’re just sick of how EVERYTHiNG IS FRIGGIN’ PINK and it’s getting crammed down our throats.

      Especially when you read more and more about how a lot of those “awareness” products are hoaxes.

  3. What a dedicated commercial-watcher you are Sam! Now step away from the TV ….

    I laughed heartily ….

  4. Excellent writeup. I suspect, as you suggested, no one eats Taco Bell in commercials because at least one of the ingredients in the ready-for-closeup tacos is not actual food.

  5. Why are so many people sick of the Beach Boys?

  6. Just watch game 7 on sportsnet and you won’t be subjected to it ! Also you don’t have to listen to McCarver’s dribble. The production level is a little worse (no slow motion shots showing the spin on the ball etc…) but Rick Sutcliffe and Dave O’brien are much easier to listen to and have better insights on the game.
    Although you do have Jamie Cambell to deal with every few innings but thats what the PVR on a 15 minute delay is for..

    • I actually find Rick Sutcliffe to be deeply annoying, so much so that I’ve found myself watching the Fox feed just to avoid him. Rick Sutcliffe is to exaggerated, unsolicited scorn towards every single player as Joe Buck is to soul-crushing apathy.

  7. I would never watch a sporting event on 15minute delay. What are you nuts?

  8. When dealing with high price “talent”, you need to minimize the number of takes and how much time is spent filming them. If you are doing a lot of takes of someone eating, you have to take a lot of care to make sure the food is in the same state at the start of each take. They want to film as much as possible, send the “talent” away and fix everything in editing. They don’t care as much about the background people.

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