The Reese's Alien
Read my review of the first commercial appearance of the Reese's Pieces alien.
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If you've been reading the site long enough, you might remember this article, about Reese's Pieces' rather clever attempt to cash in on their ties to E.T. without having to pay any royalties. In the era of adorable and popular aliens who charmed their way into the hearts of all, a candy company couldn't possibly find more attractive product placement than having UFOs eat their chocolate. When E.T. followed that trail of orange and yellow candies, Reese's saw their stock shoot up somewhere near the 348th moon of Jupiter. But as championed as E.T. was, his rub wouldn't last forever.
Instead of giving up on the alien thing and trying to find a new niche, Reese's tried to prolong the magic by creating their very own outer space mascot. By sticking a horse jockey into a puffy blue alien costume made of foam and tin foil, Reese's was determined to make the world spread their extraterrestrial love a little further. Through a series of television commercials and print ads, the new space monster was slowly introduced, carving himself a small kingdom of fans and another zero at the end of Reese's bank account. He never had a name, but let's pick one for him so I want have to keep referring to the poor alien as 'that thing.' I'll choose it by pointing randomly to any word in the dictionary. Wherever my finger lands, so the alien is christened:
We've already taken a look at Jurisprudence's first television appearance, but he didn't really become comfortable in front of the cameras until they got around to the second. In the first one, the director got so frustrated with Juris' many messed-up takes that he rewrote him into a non-speaking role where all he had to do was eat candy without biting his hand off. Nobody thought that Juris had what it took to make it in Hollywood, but when it came time to film the next ad spot, the world got a shot of Juris Juice that knocked 'em halfway across the galaxy. Jurisprudence, the Reese's Pieces alien: superstar.
Juris knocks on the door, managing even to do that with style. You know that little minute gesture people sometimes make after a door-knock, where they look innocently down towards the floor for a brief moment, as if they felt they might've knocked a little too loudly and were worried about seeming rude? Well that's the kind of nuance actors usually spend four decades trying to master, but here's Jurisprudence, throwing the Academy into a conga frenzy by nailing it on his second time out. Amazing.
We know what's on the other side of that door, but Preteen Pauly doesn't. The last thing he expects to find waiting on his front stoop is some magnificent dodger blue alien with a serious interest in Reese's Pieces. Even in his wildest dreams, the strangest thing Pauly can imagine on the other side is a two-headed version of his Aunt Judy. And even then, the second head was just a paper mache prop. Wait until he sees this!
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HOLY CRAP! AN ALIEN!!
From the getgo, the changes in Jurisprudence are clearly defined. Much more mobile and animated that he was in the previous commercial, Juris seems almost bouncy this time around. Also, there's no more mystique surrounding his allegiances. His smile and friendly hand gestures let us know that he ain't no villain. The puzzle isn't yet complete, though. Last time, Juris had a good reason for being where he was. Infiltrating a general store, he was just trying to buy some Reese's Pieces. Now he's at someone's residential palace, so unless he's playing rough with the tools of presumption, it's hard to imagine that he's looking for more candy.
Fortunately, the alien is a little better equipped to show his cards this time - now he can talk!
Pauly: What's that glowing thing on your chest?
Juris: It's a radar! It means I'm getting close to a package of Reese's Pieces.
Juris: No. They're called 'LED' lights. The Home Depot was having a huge sale on those electronic keychain finders, so I bought a few, tore out the lights, and stuck them on my clothes. I think they make me look, I dunno, expensive?
Pauly: What planet are you from?
Juris: Neptune. Well, technically, I'm from Mars. See, I live on Mars, but it was the people of Neptune's decision to send me to you. I guess they wanted to make a really proactive peace offering. So if you meant your question literally, I'm a gift from the planet Neptune to you. If you're asking where I grew up, that'd be Mars. Hey, I smell Reese's!
Pauly: I think I liked you better when you couldn't talk.
Actually, Juris just wants to share the love. That's right - this isn't just an alien who loves Reese's Pieces, it's an alien who loves Reese's Pieces so much, he can't rest until the whole universe agrees. In today's world, the candy isn't so popular anymore. While still one of the leading movie theater snacks, Reese's shifted their retail attention towards other chocolate/peanut butter hybrids. With the loss of alien starpower, Reese's Pieces was just another fast track to tooth decay with nothing special about it. More companies should take note of what we're learning here - taste doesn't matter, packaging doesn't matter, name recognition doesn't matter. If you're looking to climb to the top of the sales charts, there's only one thing that really matters. Blue aliens named Jurisprudence.
Jeez, he's pretty creepy to look at. They try to play Juris off like he's some kind of cherub, but those eyes are pretty insidious. I'm sure he ate Pauly and pissed out his still-screaming head when the cameras stopped rolling. After all, we've seen a lot of 'friendly' aliens, but they've all had a tragic flaw. Alf ate cats, E.T.'s skin color resembled stale dog shit whenever he caught the flu, and Jurisprudence lures kids out with candy so it's easier to catch and eat them. We try to overlook these little grievances because the aliens are otherwise cute and interesting to look at, but Juris was definitely one arched brow away from giving kids serious nightmares.
Oddly, he never turned up again once this batch of commercials ran its course. Maybe it's me, but Juris strikes me as the right kind of guy to get America talking. If Mr. Bubble has a t-shirt, Jurisprudence should've at least gotten a themed cola. He's obviously an asset - nobody could ever forget a face like that. Even if the blandest, most nondescript bag of chips in aisle seven put a picture of Juris on the packaging, who'd be able to resist? That's why I'm having a little trouble digesting all this. Why would Reese's dump someone who had the Midas touch?
Maybe there's something about Jurisprudence we haven't heard. Maybe they didn't want to use him after finding out that he was previously in porn, or knew somebody in porn, or knew somebody who knew somebody who was in porn, or knew somebody who once shared a cab with someone who had letters that could be scrambled to spell 'porn' in their surname. Reese's really hated porn, but I still don't think that's the reason.
Oh, so that's it. Reese's didn't want to be associated with Juris' big huge lumpy alien ass. That sucks.
Jurisprudence - we still love you. Hope you're doing well in space. Hope there's lots of candy for you there. Hope you visit my house next. If so - hope you don't really eat people and piss out their heads.
If you're interested in seeing Juris in action, click on the picture above to download and watch the original commercial from 1985. This was, I believe, Juris' last public appearance before heading back to the stars. I guess he could've guest starred once or twice on Head of the Class before taking off, but I hated Dan Frischman way too much to ever find out for sure.
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