I Have Had Enough of "I Can Has" Humor

I don't know what you guys think about what happened on Tuesday night, but I think it's pretty frightening. It shows just how change-averse we've become, just how unwilling we are to abandon tried-and-discarded approaches in favor of novel thinking that inherently carries with it some risk. It exposes us as intellectually bankrupt, reliant on pat solutions and tired bromides proven ineffectual time and time again.

That's right: on Tuesday night another fucking cat video found its way onto my screens, becoming the 7,348th such clip in the last two years that attempts to mine the wellspring of opaque inanity that is the I-Can-Has vernacular for promotional mirth. Like those that came before, the clip starts out with the cerebral premise, "What if cats was PEOPLES WHO CAN'T'NT SPELL OR PUNK CHOO ATE?!?," and rides that bit into the ground. In fact, it doubles down on the cliché, snaring a few mainstays from the glam-metal videos of the 1980s - explosions, wigs, menacing fonts - that have been co-opted by other marketers myriad times to far greater effect.

The offenders, once again, are the Litter Genie folks, producers of a fine poop-disposal product. That shouldn't be lost amid discussion of the brand's hammy marketing: the Litter Genie works incredibly well; its infant-human version has, nigh-miraculously, restored inhalable air to my kid's poopin' closet. But from the look of it, marketing products of this kind is a frustrating process, which I totally get. You can't insert actual feral stink into videos and other promotional materials, at least not ones for non-Trump offerings.

And so Litter Genie turns to I-Can-Has silliness, transporting it into the fantasy realm of groupies and misaimed lasers. Accessorized in old-school spiked collars and wigs, the cats of "Litter Genie: I Haz a Pie Row Tek Nik" kinda sit there as the cameras dip and dart around them. They manage to avoid bonking their hyperallergenic heads on the faux lighting rig that hovers over the faux stage. They don't appear to be hatching plans to avenge this insult to their honor - but with cats, you can never really tell, so I'd advise the people responsible for this calamity to petition animal court for injunctive relief, just in case.

As for the song that accompanies the clip, its rhymes may exceed those in the aforementioned '80s metal songs in sophistication ("It holds two weeks of poo/It's so easy, who knew?"), but that isn't a high bar to clear. It's the puns, more than anything else, that grate, whether in names (the song is credited to "Walter and the Awful Pawfuls") or lyrics ("my litter box don't got a stinky attitude"). What, recycling a bit from 2008 isn't desperate enough on its own?

Really, you'd think we would have long since evolved our cat-based whimsy to confront the comic realities of the pre-post-irony era. So I enter this humble plea into the record for your collective consideration: Brand marketers, please abandon "I can has"-related humor. Find a new bestial muse, or some other way to make funny with cats. Have them break-dance or juggle or reenact Michael Jordan highlights. Heck, have them act like cats.

But for the love of all that is pure and holy, can the "I can has…" crap. Please. For the children, and for your would-be customers. If you can't has a second clever idea, then we can has homicidal thoughts towards your brand and product.

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4 comments about "I Have Had Enough of "I Can Has" Humor".
  1. Brandeis Hall from Radio Advertising Bureau , November 8, 2012 at 5:07 p.m.
    Wow…you know, usually I enjoy reading these, but I was very dismayed to find the “f-bomb” in the middle of this article. I don’t use this kind of lewd and vulgar language personally or professionally and yet, here it goes screaming through my brain without so much as a warning in a "professional" publication. Perhaps the editors can place a warning at the top reading, “This article contains vulgar language and epithets” so one may choose whether to continue reading rather than be subjected to an unwelcome and surprise? Just a polite request from a reader who still believes that manners, civility and common courtesy still matter…
  2. Jonathan Mirow from BroadbandVideo, Inc. , November 8, 2012 at 5:12 p.m.
    Well done article. The "Can I Haz" crap has gone too far and is simply too inane to be funny. I did like the Britny Fox video referenced, however. As to the poster who was offended by the "f-bomb" in the middle of the article...well, have you been to New York?
  3. Christiane Grando from Razorfish , November 14, 2012 at 4:46 p.m.
    I have to say that I agree with Brandeis Hall. While the author may not take kindly to cat videos and the "I can has" humor, that is absolutely no reason to go off on a rampage including vulgar language. Very unprofessional and based on a personal bias.
  4. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited , December 2, 2012 at 1:56 p.m.
    Cats ? Kitties ? How cute ! See where this is going ?