The Charmin Bears are an abomination.
I might be coming in a little hot there. But really, the Charmin Bears are gross.
You know them. They’re that pack of multicolored ursine cartoons that have regular family meetings about the quality, texture, and thickness of their toilet paper. They also tend to dance crazily, rub their faces on the paper, and, worst of all, wiggle their (thankfully clean) butts at the camera.
Talk about TMI. Do we really need to watch an egg ricochet off a stack of toilet paper? Do we really need to watch a disembodied arm smear some blue substance off its wrist? (Both happen in almost every Charmin ad.)
No. No we don’t. For these reason and so many more, I’ve had it with the Charmin Bears. Enough to write this here blog post.
I get it. Toilet paper is pretty much essential. Most people use it multiple times a day, and for good reason. The thing is, we don’t need to talk about it-especially not with such gleeful detail.
When’s the last time you had a conversation about how soft your toilet paper is, or how many ply it is? And god forbid you ever demonstrate the virtue of your toilet paper brand by dumping some thick blue liquid onto it. I understand the allure of creating cartoon characters to your products, but please. Invent some cartoons that are less obsessed with the bathroom and what goes on in it.
Take, for example, this commercial:
For those too nervous to watch the above video, it depicts two Charmin Bears sprinting down the beach in slow motion, presumably because they urgently need to poop. This is just poor planning on their part, because nobody wants to use a porta-potty, let alone one at the beach. (Also, why do we need the close-up on the bouncing butts? Also, whose idea was it to bastardize the theme from
Some readers might be surprised by my contempt for these vile bears. I’ve been known to laugh at a bathroom joke or several in my day, and I’ll continue to do so.
But the problem here is context. Many people watch television while eating, which means you might be trying to enjoy your dinner when suddenly a Charmin Bear appears, waving its ass in your face and complaining that a competing brand left pieces behind. Thanks a lot, Charmin. I just lost my appetite for shrimp and rice.
Furthermore, the Charmin Bears need a serious discussion of priorities. I don’t know any other family that spends so much time discussing such frivolous topics. I’ve certainly never met a family that rubs toilet paper on their faces or debates how many pounds it can hold without ripping. Why not discuss some normal topics, like school, or sports, or the weather, or, I don’t know, anything else?
I can’t vouch for bears, but most humans use toilet paper and never discuss its merits. Sure, once in a while you’ll get some brand that’s especially crappy (no pun intended). But otherwise, toilet paper should be like the roof of a house: necessary, but rarely spoken of.
Now I should acknowledge that these advertisements are clearly working. Hell, I’m writing an entire blog post about them, which would delight any advertiser reading it, regardless of whether or not I actually like the ads. Perhaps that’s their strategy.
But for the time being, my distaste will rage on. Please, Charmin Bears, scale back the toilet paper talk. For the sake of us all!
Kyle A. Massa is a speculative fiction author living somewhere in upstate New York with his wife, their cats, and their dog. He has written two books and numerous short stories, both published and yet-to-be published. He enjoys unusual narrative structures, multiple POVs, and stories that make readers laugh.
Originally published at https://kyleamassa.com on August 4, 2021.