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 V.14 No.10 | March 10 - 16, 2005 

Idiot Box

Why, God, Why?

The Return of Baby Bob

There are moments in life that make you question how the hell people can believe in a higher power--much less one that is kind and benevolent. We've got giant tsunamis in Asia, war in the Middle East, ethnic cleansing in Africa and a Walgreen's on every street corner. Is this the work of a beneficent creator? I think not.

My latest piece of evidence as to God/Allah/The All-Father's cruel and uncaring nature came during this year's Super Bowl. Straining not to flash any breasts or mention “erectile dysfunction,” the broadcast, instead, subjected millions of viewers to the return of a horror I thought had been long-ago banished to the darkest recesses of my nightmares. During the Super Bowl, Quizno's corporation took the opportunity to introduce its new spokesperson: Baby Bob.

For those of you who have blocked it out of your pop cultural database, Baby Bob first appeared way back in 2001 when he was the spokesperson for a Web hosting service called FreeInternet.com. Shortly after the hideous talking baby started babbling about their service, the company went bankrupt. Normally, I would regard this as a sign of a bad spokesperson. Apparently, my way of thinking jibes with neither Hollywood nor Madison Avenue.

Baby Bob did not spend long on unemployment. A programming executive at CBS (surely the most drug-addled and/or brain-damaged of his ilk) saw one of Bob's ads and thought, “A talking baby? It's genius! Why didn't we think of that?” Apparently, this executive had seen neither Baby Geniuses nor the oft-referenced Look Who's Talking trilogy and was starstruck.

Anyway, the stupid talking baby found himself helming a sitcom on CBS. Even more shocking than Bob's rise to prime time was the fact that someone talked Adam Arkin, Joley Fisher and Elliot Gould into starring in his Monday night abomination. Despite offering up the wacky antics of a talking baby, the show only lasted nine episodes. Again, I would think that would be the end of ol' Bob. But no.

At some point, Quizno's decided that their last major advertising campaign was way too hip. (The strange musical videos, produced by Internet cartoonists the Sponge Monkeys, allegedly alienated older consumers.) Deciding that they wanted to go after the same demographic that loves Precious Moments figurines and Anne Geddes photographs, the folks at Quizno's reanimated the long-dead corpse of Baby Bob. Once again free to spit up his painfully cute quips, Baby Bob now travels the Trix Rabbit route, hawking a product he is forever denied the taste of. He hits on bikini babes. He jokes with famous bull riders. He saps my very will to live.

Perhaps this was all presaged by the Pets.com dog's resurrection. (The once-popular sock puppet resurfaced as a shill for 1-800-BAR-NONE, an auto title loan company, several years after he drove his gigantic dot.com creator into bankruptcy.) Perhaps I just didn't see the omens. I'm sorry I couldn't warn you earlier, dear viewers. The Antichrist is back ... and he's got a delicious toasted sub for you.

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