LITTLE RED BIKE OUT ON THE MAIN ROAD, LUCKY LITTLE SPONSOR: I mean, yes, by all means, please shop at JC Penney, Target, Mervyn's, Wal-Mart, Home Depot, Sears, etc., but what do you want me to say about those places? That you can buy just about all name brands at one or more of those places? Unless some really weird Japanese toy hits -- or unless some more Chinese toys metabolize into powerful drugs -- Christmas FNL Sponsorlove is going to be quite a chore.
So today's featured sponsor is the Bank Americard. Really, I don't know why you would advertise a bank card. I'm not sure how many people are currently signed up with banks that don't offer a bank card option, and for the ones that aren't keeping their money in banks at all, I'm unconvinced that 25-year-old technology is the way to get them off the fence.
But I still like this commercial, where the red bike follows the guy around, a loving-if-commercial homage to The Red Balloon. Back when Abe and Sarah Spaceman settled the kids in Brezhnev-era Moscow for seven months, just about the only thing for an American boy to do was go to the Embassy and watch the movies -- frequently Charlie Chaplin or Harold Lloyd (because the diplomats at the Embassy didn't really get Chinatown), but sometimes The Red Balloon. I hope you all remember The Red Balloon, in which a lonely boy befriends a red balloon that follows him around, until a gang of 5-year-old nihilist French terrorists stones and slingshots the balloon to a slow, suffocating deflation punctuated with a jackbooted heel-stomp pop. And just when you've bottomed out, believing the world too cruel a place for a balloon-loving child pariah, along come the rest of the balloons to show you -- I mean the boy -- that loneliness can be cured by a gaggle of rubber friends and a white-knuckle airborne trip over the Fourth Arrondissement clutching some flimsy balloon strings. I cannot tell you how much I loved this movie, and frankly, it wasn't until just now that I realized that it was a frighteningly accurate and nearly literal depiction of what it was like to be a lonely four-year-old American with inanimate objects as one's best friends (my first words in Russian were "I have a rubber chicken," and if you don't believe me you can ask Spacemom), living among actual, honest-to-God Communist bullies. Oh, great, Bank of Americard, now the next time I see you and your red-bike friend I'm going to start blubbering like I just saw Beaches.