Ad review: It’s more complicated than Kayak suggests.

It was bound to happen. That inevitable rupture between Mandy and Dave. And their raging river of problems runs much deeper than simply using different travel sites.

Kayak.com might have helped Mandy maintain her sleep schedule, keeping her on time for her flight, but what of her not waking Dave before heading to the airport? Did she have an earlier flight? How much earlier? Why was she in a rush to beat Dave to vacation? Was her rendezvous with Dante pre-planned.

Perhaps, in addition to Dave’s poor sleep habits & internet addiction, Mandy supplemented his nightly Diet Coke binge with some flunitrazepam, thus ensuring her clean getaway and one day headstart into her sordid affair with the questionable island native.

Or, perhaps, more insidiously, Mandy and Dave are not married, nor truly together. Perhaps Mandy and Dave are platonic colleagues, masquerading as bf/gf in order to hide Dave’s homosexuality from his strictly moral parents and from a society that still fails to accept or protect Dave’s orientation. Dave lives in fear of this discovery, and his inability to come out has lead to a series of irrational phobias and consumptive disorders (like the late nights on the “travel sites” that the narrator mentions). His life is a euphemism. Could Dave be the red herring, perhaps just Dante’s gay cousin who planned the trip to introduce his bff Mandy to this bi (or, less thrillingly, hetero) tropical god? Maybe the islands are a place where Dave can truly be himself, and he can live his sad, vicarious sexual fantasies through his beard. And shame on her for obliging!

What if it is as they say, and Mandy and Dave are bf/gf, but do not live together. This makes more logical sense that one would miss the flight. But who is Mandy fooling by not calling him? And why do they take vacations but not live together? Again, whether it’s Dave’s sexuality or Mandy’s reluctance to live together (out of fear of what? some old-fashioned notion that society sees her as a loose woman for “living in sin?” Pull it together, lady!) the problem is in two protagonists who are terrified of what others think, and ultimately terrified of themselves.

Or! Perhaps this commercial is all an optical illusion – a sheep in wolf’s clothing? It is reasonable to think that our surface story is really a contrived plot by an unctuous narrator to threaten us, the consumers. Every straight man fears this smooth-talking storyteller’s wicked pitch. If you, vulnerable gentlemen, fail to use our product, a dark-skinned man might steal your fair lady. IT WILL BE YOUR FAULT! So use Kayak. Or whatever.

More importantly than switching travel sites (which I would rank low on the priority list), Dave might need to look into sleep therapy, or perhaps general weekly sessions with a psychiatrist to work through some form of obsessive disorder that could evolve into something more physically sinister, as his unhealthy sleep schedule indicates. Perhaps he should talk to his friends first, then parents, about who he is. Action precedes essence, Dave!

Mostly, it’s imperative to us, the consumers, the watchers, the audience, to dig deeper into this quarry, this quandry of storytelling intention and final (misleading?) presentation. Is this a hoax, meant to perpetuate male/penile insecurities, or a simple tale of misunderstanding, a reverse irony, if you will, of the audience being unaware of what the performers know. It’s a complex meta-struggle, and the Kayak.com artists have certainly created a masterful bit of gender role agitprop, if intentional (or, at worst, an ill-crafted story of good people who simply failed at banal achievements due to a potentially serious, but underdeveloped, personality disorder.)

One Comment

  1. Jesse wrote:

    well-done.

    Monday, November 8, 2010 at 12:23 pm | Permalink

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