Yep, you read the title right. This started out as a list of the best commercials of 2017, but really, there’s only one worth talking about. Let’s go to the tape:
In a mere 30 seconds of screen time, we are introduced to the two most fascinating individuals on television in 2017. Let’s start with Esther.
There are some things we learn about Esther. There are some other things we can guess. Let’s recap:
- The elderly ladies know Esther
- Esther is currently at an underground fight club
- The narrator also knows Esther, and it seems that he’s surprised that the elderly ladies would know Esther based on how his voice sounds when he asks “You know Esther?” (more on the narrator in just a bit)
- Esther is wrapping or unwrapping her hands. It is not clear if Esther has already fought, or if she is preparing to fight. If she has already fought, she appears to be uninjured. If she is preparing to fight, she does not appear to be nervous about doing so. At all
- The elderly ladies thought Esther was dead because they went to her funeral
- Turns out, Esther is alive
- The narrator drops the subtle comment at the very end that Esther is a cage fighter. Not just a participant in the underground fight club. But a cage fighter
Who is Esther, really? The Esther known by the elderly ladies and the Esther was known by the narrator is two extremely different people. One can’t but help envision an Esther that eats lemon cake at pinochle night, quietly passing her life through a pedestrian existence. Behind closed doors, however, in places never exposed to the main light of society, dwelt an Esther of a different kind, an Esther that harbored secrets. An Esther that got into something weird.
Weird enough, it turns out, that Esther felt it necessary to fake her death to the extent that she also faked her own funeral (was it open casket? We may never know), severing all connections to the people and relationships she once had, running from the mundane and towards the dark fringes that were all too welcoming to Esther’s true self. A true self-forged in caged battle, known only to a select few.
Which brings us to the narrator. You may recall that after viewing the commercial I stated that within those thirty seconds we were introduced to the two most fascinating individuals on television in 2017.
We never see the narrator. We only hear the narrator, and thanks to the disorienting, almost 4th wall breaking manner by which the elderly ladies interact with the narrator’s voice, facing us as the viewers, we assume that the voice is connected to some type of physical presence.
The narrator interrupts the elderly ladies, although not in a way that seems to upset them. He is aware of their 7Up and hints at wisdom related to various uses for 7Up beyond anything the elderly ladies ever imagined. The narrator appears to have some ability to manipulate spacetime, as he transports the elderly ladies to what one must reasonably conclude is a senior center of some sort hosting a pinochle night ersatz dessert potluck.
Having more wisdom to offer to the elderly ladies, he then transports them to an underground fight club, and it is there that we learn that the narrator is shrouded in his own particular mystery. For he knows Esther. The narrator does not merely dispense keys to the multiple uses for 7Up to those that actively listen and engage. He has relationships with people that go beyond.
Relationships with people like Esther. The Esther known by the narrator is not one that would be connected to the elderly ladies in an obvious way. Esther and the narrator are familiar with each other in a pure way, vulnerable as their true selves, exposed to the naked truth.
Because you see, Esther is almost a mirror image of the narrator. Like Esther, the narrator knows what life is to exist in two worlds, forced to betray the raw self to satisfy the requirements of society. Unlike Esther, the narrator has not yet chosen to break the chains of duality and instead exists in a state where his split self is shared (torn?) between who he is expected to be and what he is expected to do and who he wishes to be and what he wishes to do. Esther understood what it took to sever the bonds and be free. We can only hope that the narrator, with Esther as his mentor, can evolve through her example.
7Up’s “Mix It Up a Little: Granny” commercial is the best commercial of 2017, and this opinion is beyond reproach.