Smartwater's "Lost Footage" of Jennifer Aniston Should Stay That Way
Nothing humanizes celebrities like proving, via an image-deflating appearance in an ad or a self-deprecating sit-down with whatever media personality currently sits atop the gravitas leaderboard, that they don't take themselves too seriously. We like our beautiful people to have a sense of perspective about their place in the cosmic order, to acknowledge that maybe, just maybe, their red-carpet traipsing isn't as important as Africa. That Bono guy totally knows what I'm talking about.
The problem is that nowadays, with celeb-laden videos flooding the web on a daily basis, there are too many opportunities for certified famous people to laugh at themselves, to announce, "I am in on the joke! I 'get it'! I am so very, very game!" Thus the comic impact of such appearances ain't what it once was, which presents something of a problem for the marketers who often subsidize the fun and frolic.
All of that is to say: the "lost footage" unearthed last week by smartwater, in which Jennifer Aniston reveals both a baby bump and a wig-shrouded splotch of patchy brown hair, won't prove the viral supersensation that smartwater clearly expects it to be. Spiritlessly introduced by Ryan Seacrest as "breaking news… leaked online from an online source," the clip catches Aniston in a series of acts - casually crashing a car, unharnessing a girdle, scolding her two children (one an alien and the other a Jimmy Kimmel) and addressing herself in the mirror as "Rachel."
In theory, this is funny because people make up so many wacky and just-short-of-libelous rumors about Aniston and finally she's confronting them head-on, but with the grace and charm we've come to expect from her. In theory, the brand gets a by-association bump because we all admire and empathize with Jennifer/Rachel so darn much, especially after that heat-seeking Jolie trollop stole her husband ("allegedly").
But to me the video plays like a series of lowest-common-denominator vignettes, something that could've been written by anyone passingly familiar with tabloid cliché. No real comic imagination informs any of the set-ups; without Kimmel's cameo, and in particular his reading of "I think you're ba-shamed of me!," the clip would be roundly giggle-free.
Of course, smartwater gets a little love in each off the scenarios. Aniston rushes out of the crashed car because she forgot her smartwater, she lounges alongside a pool filled with smartwater, etc. And yet smartwater can't even be bother to sustain the joke – as witnessed by the clip's YouTube blurb, which assumes a lack of media sophistication among its potential viewership: "The babies, the work out [sic] routine, everything - are all as… ridiculous as you thought. Come on people, it's pure fiction." I sure hope this disclaimer was foisted on the company by its better-safe-than-sued legal team, because otherwise it's one seriously humorless operation.
(By the way, except in the case of its name, because it can call itself Judi with a lower-case 'j', upper-case 'd' and a heart replacing the dot over the 'i' for all I care, I'm ignoring smartwater's lower-case-only romp through the aforementioned blurb. I am the self-appointed grand poobah of proper capitalization, a modern-day Rudy Giuliani, and I will uphold the rules that I swore to protect, or something.)
I am favorably disposed towards Jennifer Aniston. She has crisp comic timing and well-aligned teeth, and I sincerely hope whoever she's currently dating doesn't treat her heart like a mud piñata. That said, Aniston has proven her game-ness over and over and over, in public appearances and in Horrible Bosses, and has appeared in enough smartwater marketing to render another appearance on its behalf thoroughly unexceptional. There's nothing to see here. Move along.