Why is Fonzi doing reverse mortgage commercials? He didn’t even kill Natalie Wood.

I must admit, we were kinda bummed to see Henry Winkler recently debut as the celebrity spokesperson for One Reverse Mortgage. First of all, when did the Fonz age into the role of Comforting Familiar Trustworthy Senior? Isn’t that the territory of folksy oat peddler and diligent diabeetus warrior Wilford Brimley? Or the surprisingly inept and possibly inebriated teleprompter reader Tommy Lee Jones? I mean, the fucking Fonz improbably mastered Russian dance, sent bullies scurrying in a whimpering panic by busting doors off their hinges, mixed toughness with wisdom to defuse a violent situation with a karate-crazed Tom Hanks (!), and ended racial segregation.

So forgive us if we can’t help but feel that shilling for reverse mortgages is beneath Winkler’s station, better suited for Hart to Hart actor and marital yacht assassin Robert Wagner. (Insert tasteless Natalie Driftwood joke here.)

We’ve decided to celebrate some of Winkler’s finest work, as lawyer Barry Zuckerkorn on Arrested Development. Here, in one of our favorite scenes of all time, Winkler lampoons overt TV product placements, punctuating the point by jumping the shark for the second time in his career:

 

And the original, as Fonzie, which launched a passionate cultural fixation on pinpointing the moment good things start to suck:

 

And finally, one last sublime Zuckerkorn moment. Those are balls:

K-Mart’s Fishy Holiday Charity Angels: Bah Humbug!

How cynical am I for thinking this is a brilliantly executed marketing campaign by K-Mart? Google “K-Mart layaway” (without quotes) and you’ll see 650 news links, national and local, all associating this feel-good holiday story with K-Mart. Why would these anonymous Christmas layaway angels not also drop by Wal-Mart or Marshall’s or Best Buy? (To be fair, these reporters at least checked with Wal-Mart, which said it had seen some cases of anonymous charity. But the overwhelming and extremely valuable positive press coverage focuses on K-Mart.)

I am officially calling a special Scrooge Edition Bullshit. Please Santa prove this cynic wrong.

The roasted red pepper conspiracy

Why must every sandwich, soup or entree I order now contain roasted red peppers? What inspires a chef to say, “This roast beef sandwich tastes almost perfect . . . now all it needs is a charred wad of wet slime that will overpower every other flavor with a combination of mushy, sweet bitterness and a strong potting soil aftertaste.”?

And suddenly they have infiltrated every single dish. “Tonight’s dessert special is a strawberry cheesecake made with roasted red peppers instead of strawberries. And also instead of cheesecake.”

Just how powerful is the roasted red pepper lobby (Big Pepper?) to have promoted such total saturation of our culinary culture? It all became clearer last week: