We’re finally cruising over the hill into December which can mean only one thing: the unending holiday cheer is in full swing and relentlessly dogging us in all forms of media. As you’re watching yet another preemptive holiday special yet another blaring holiday commercial comes on and– wait. Shush the kids, mommy has to process something. Is that…? –And is that…?! –And are they really?!
Let me assure you, you’re not seeing that incorrectly. That’s Chevy Chase, Beverly D’Angelo, and Juliette Lewis reuniting the Griswold family in an Old Navy commercial spoofing National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation to hock brightly colored pants. Please doff your hats and place them over your hearts.
Before we discuss why Chevy Chase is making cranberry-scented bowel waters all over one of our most beloved holiday classics, I have a few words I’d like to say: talking mannequin soap opera, Jordan Knight sings the summer catalog, jiggle-it wiggle-it activewear, the summer savings love boat, the rugby bunch, family feudish, and Fran Drescher’s shizzle’s gone fazizzle.
In the long history of Old Navy’s marketing department, this cinematic mockery is still a serious upgrade from some of their past ear-blisteringly irritating promotions. In fact it’s so not annoying that I’m reserving my righteous indignation for a later date, mostly thanks to the fact that they didn’t give Juliette Lewis any speaking lines. It’s not even the first time Christmas Vacation has been hijacked to sell some stuff.
So sure, Old Navy is making cutthroat use of the nostalgic goodwill that Christmas Vacation has built up in our hearts over the years, and they’ve not-so-metaphorically electrified eight people’s kinky no-no zones, and boy I sure would like some extension cords in those colors, but on the scale of things that make me want to burn down the holiday universe this hits in pretty low on the radar. Cheap shot; no blood.
As for why Chevy Chase would sign Clark Griswold on to commercialize one of the peak points of his existence, hello, are you new to the sometimes perplexing career of Chevy Chase? He has (and continues to have) a respectably earned comedic legacy but guys… he can be kind of a pool noodle.
Just a week ago Chevy Chase announced he would be leaving the cast of NBC’s Community by mutual agreement, a decision that came after a rocky year of him passive-aggressively shit-talking his castmates, openly feuding with now-defunct show creator Dan Harmon, and tantruming on set about his character’s development.
Despite the fact that the lauded fan-favorite sitcom has brought him back into the public’s comedic awareness, Chase has sabotaged Community at every turn and now, probably in the best interests of everyone, finally lost himself some steady income. And what do you do when you lose your day job? Shoot commercials for Old Navy.
Now let’s go buy some colored pants.