Following his disastrous 2012 run, we have to admit we clapped our hands together with pure glee when former Gov. Rick Perry announced that he was once again trying for the GOP White House nod for 2016. We expected the usual reliably entertaining show this time around: The “Oops” moments, the fumbled speeches and debates, the many times Perry would come across high as a particularly well-coiffed kite or drunk or both, based on his statements, all of it ultimately to be explained away by the painkillers he takes for his back. We knew all of this was coming, but we hadn't counted on Perry's team expanding into the animated realm as well.
Yep, that's right. This week, in a last-ditch move to get people to pony up and donate to Perry's campaign before the window for the reported donations closes (because you can only tell a good candidate by how much everyone has donated to the campaign), Perry's camp released an animated video that looks like what you'd get if you paired up Beavis and Butthead animators with a French art house film director.
We Believe Local Journalism is Critical to the Life of a City
Engaging with our readers is essential to the mission of the Houston Press. Make a financial contribution or sign up for a newsletter, and help us keep telling Houston’s stories with no paywalls.
Support Our Journalism
The commercial starts out with a little stick figure dude that we've dubbed “Average Moe.” We're immediately taken back to the cartoon-version of the bad old days of 2008. Moe lives in a city surrounded by Hope and Change Obama-for-president posters. Then Moe is laid off, and in a fit of despair (or something), he flees to Texas, the “haven” of opportunity in the dark times of the Great Recession.
Already, we have a couple of notes to make on all this. For one thing, it's heavily implied in the cartoon that the Great Recession is Obama's fault, even though the layoffs and stuff happened before he took office, as the Dallas Morning News pointed out. Also, the ad oh-so-subtly cued us to the fact that 2008-era “not Texas” was lousy by only animating it in black, white and red, with a little blue thrown in, while Texas – like Oz in The Wizard of Oz – is all of the colors.
From there, stick figure Moe is shown beginning life anew in the Lone Star State. In Perry's cartoon land Texas-sized prosperity translates for Moe and those like him as some super large couches, an expansive flat screen TV, and hot pockets. Moe flips through the channels the way we Americans so often do as various news broadcasters talk about how Perry is behind the grand Texas economy. (Jeopardy makes an appearance too.) Moe is shown obtaining what we've interpreted to be the ultimate proof of wealth in cartoon Perry land. Namely, his new boss calls to tell him about his promotion (instead of a layoff) and then he victoriously (or maybe he's just happy – it's kind of hard to read his little animated face) microwaves a hot pocket.
The whole thing, from the moody art film music at the beginning to the channel surfing bits at the end – featuring references to I Love Lucy, Cheers and Wheel of Fortune –clocks in at just over three minutes. (Maybe Moe's life since 2008 was flashing before his eyes because of the hot pocket?) Anyway, in the final seconds Moe pulls out his smartphone — because somehow there are smartphones in this shoddily animated world — and donates, probably because he's just so happy about Texas and hot pockets.