The good news about ads like this is that they’ve come to be seen as insufferable so universally that they’ve forced celebs to become more self-aware. A few years ago, during Obamamania, this would have been a straightforward “famous people urge you to resist Republican evil” spot. As it is, saddled with an underwhelming nominee and lacking any good reason for why voters should take them seriously, they’ve shifted to winkingly acknowledging that no one really takes them seriously. Watch the clip and you’ll see what I mean. I think the gimmick of having them repeat parts of each other’s lines for emphasis is part of the joke too. That dead horse has been beaten so frequently in political ads over the past few years that it can only work at this point as a satire on the genre. The message here ends up being “we’re silly, but no, really, Trump might blow up the world.” The silliness makes it tolerable, or at least more tolerable than it would have been.
This comes, by the way, from a new Super PAC created by Joss Whedon, who’s taken to calling Trump “orange Muppet Hitler.” You might remember that Whedon also did an ad in 2012, also half-kidding in tone, about Mitt Romney unleashing the zombie apocalypse if elected. As Hillary’s polls have declined over the past few weeks, the online left has devoted more energy to complaining that the media has “normalized” Trump in its coverage when he shouldn’t be treated as a normal candidate. Maybe, but watch the two Whedon ads and ask yourself whether someone who didn’t know much about Trump or Romney would be able to draw a conclusion from them about which candidate was “normal” and which isn’t. The left is always insisting that the Republican flavor of the week is a dire threat to the republic. When a guy comes along who really might be a threat, there’s nowhere for them to go thematically. There’s a nonzero chance, in fact, that Trump himself will be compared favorably by them to the next Republican nominee in 2020 or 2024. “Sure, Trump was a con man, but unlike Paul Ryan he understood the value of Medicaid.” It’s coming. I bet Whedon already has an end-of-the-world script for a 2020 ad on a hard drive somewhere.
Anyway. This spot isn’t for you or me, it’s for the many millennials with whom the bumbling loser has yet to seal the deal.