“Happy holidays, have some pills”

I have just returned from my holiday escapade to Ukraine. A good time was had by all and lots of great food and alcohol were consumed, without any casualties (that I know of). Speaking of which – this was the third year in a row I took note of the same disturbing tendency. The period leading up to Christmas and New Year brings with it a spike in the amount of TV commercials for products that help you deal with side effects of too much food and alcohol.

Some of these commercials follow a relatively reasonable format of “Did you make the mistake of eating/drinking way too much? Here’s a pill to help you deal with it!”. However, a few ads take the leap into “WTF?!” realm and target a more insane category of people who apparently participate in some obscure competitive sport of “Eating Too Fucking Much While Still Staying Alive”. Here’s an example (sorry for the quality, the only one I could find on Youtube):

For those of you who don’t speak Ukrainian and are also sane, allow me to recap the intricate “plot” of this commercial. An older couple are visiting their daughter and son-in-law. They sit down to eat. The father is just about to stuff his face with a food item, when his wife turns to him and, in a panicked whisper, says: “Vasya, we’ve forgotten the most important thing!”. Hmmm…what is it? Did they miss their insurance payment or forget to bring presents? Have they left their other kids inside a running dishwasher at home?

No, it’s worse than that! Vasya was about to eat without first taking an anti-crapping pill (I’m pretty sure that’s the proper scientific term). How else is he supposed to out-eat that skinny smartass son-in-law of his?! Vasya slides some pills across the table with a smug “your move, skinny smartass” expression. But wait, the skinny smartass takes out some pills of his own…and they are the enhanced version! Well played, four-eyes! The father-in-law is so impressed with this move that he immediately pours praise on the son-in-law and admits his own defeat. Everyone laughs because taking pills is quite obviously hilarious. The…end (?!)

Something tells me this commercial won’t be taking home an Oscar

If the above does not accurately describe every New Year’s family dinner you’ve ever had, then you’re clearly not a basket-case marketing person who came up with this abomination of a commercial. This ad isn’t about someone who got a bit carried away at a dinner party and in the heat of the moment ate too much or consumed something they shouldn’t have. This ad is about people who are so shitty at making life decisions that they already know they’ll eat way more than they can naturally handle. Drugs are their only hope for a night that doesn’t end in an emergency Gastric lavage.

Thankfully, this commercial is thoroughly made fun of by TV shows and people in general. Less thankfully, there are many other commercials of this type, including one for magical water that eliminates the bad effects of alcohol and meals on your stomach and saves you from constipation and diarrhoea alike.

I don’t know about you, but I take pills as an absolutely last resort, and most definitely not in anticipation of an out-of-control dinner. To those who do find yourselves in a situation where taking pre-meal pills becomes a habit, here’s a thought: try the well-tested technique of “stopping to eat when feeling full” and “not being freaking crazy”. Or, you know, have some magical stomach-saving water…