1. The Martinettis Bring A Computer Home – It’s strange to see Apple playing this sort of game, but the ’90s were a different era for the company. This 1995 infomercial presents the Martinetti family and their experience with their first family computer, the Macintosh Performa.
This half-hour “program” plays like a sitcom without jokes, like a Seventh Heaven episode. The family gets to talking about the merits of a computer at the dinner table one night, and the next day head to the computer store to talk to Fletcher. Fletcher’s a computer salesman whom the family apparently already knows.
Fletcher goes into what is revealed to be a scripted song and dance about the clunky, expensive, peripheral-laden nature of Windows machines…
…just to make the point that the Macintosh Performa is the right choice for anybody with a brain.
The family is appropriately wowed by the Performa, and the program takes the opportunity to throw a few more jabs at Windows’ clunkiness. The family’s ready to buy, but Pops has some hangups. The rest of the family basically demonizes this poor guy throughout the rest of the show because of his unwillingness to plunk down over a grand for something they just started talking about yesterday. Grandpa gets involved, and starts to argue with Pops AT THE STORE.
Grandpa then buys the computer himself, with the agreement that if the family can prove that it’s a benefit to their lives in one month that Pops will pay him back. It’s not really made clear what will happen if they can’t prove it, though – will Grandpa soak up the cost or will they return the computer? The stakes are not clearly laid out.
The family flourishes, though. Mom’s birthday card company that she runs from home (seriously) does great:
Zoe the five-year-old’s reading skills are coming along nicely. She even apparently goes to the computer store and purchases more software, by herself.
And Grandpa gets into the internet, trolling opera forums and even makes himself an internet girlfriend. This really happens. A month passes, and (spoilers) Pops is finally on board. The family does an awkward dance in the living room to celebrate and the doorbell rings. Grandpa’s girlfriend walks in and is introduced to the rest of the family. This is the happy ending!
The narrator (the middle kid) summarizes that the family didn’t just choose the Performa, the Performa chose them. He creates a family picture that has the Performa included. As well as Rose! As well as Rose!
In a contest between this infomercial and the Windows ’95 infomercial with Matthew Perry and Jennifer Aniston, this one loses by a hair; that one is just too bizarre. It’s a thin hair, though, and if you enjoy this flavor of cheese you’re in for a treat. Enjoy.
2. Gilligan’s Island vs. Batman – In which the cast of Gilligan’s Island competes with the cast of the prime time Batman series on Family Feud well after both shows have completed their runs.
3. Allstate Scooter – A gorgeous page from a 1950s Sears catalog advertising their scooter. This thing is beautiful.
4. Spock Sings Reggae – What? Amazing edit, internet.
5. Post Sugar Crisp Ad – Another gorgeous ad for Post Sugar Crisp cereal.