Every blogger’s dream is to make such an impact in their coverage of a story that they become part of the story. Today that dream came true.
I think. I can’t tell if this is a joke or not. The guy who wrote it claims to be good buddies with the actor who played the husband in the now famous Peloton ad and quotes his reaction to the uproar at length. The poor schlub sounds positively crushed that Internet doofuses like me have spent the last few days criticizing and/or clowning on it. As if we have anything better to do while waiting for the next Trump scandal or Joe Biden mental break.
All this time I’ve been goofing on Peloton’s silly ad as a harrowing tale of hidden abuse when, it turns out, I was the abuser.
But a few days ago, that all changed. Reviews from my friends stopped as the video went viral. I soon noticed that the commercial had several thousand down votes as the tweets came out and talk shows weighed in. “Absolutely 100% chance that the husband in the Peloton ad is abusive.” (@allahpundit/twitter) “She would rather be anywhere else in the world than here, in her glacial home with the husband she loathes” (Katie Way, Vice US). Commenters essentially “blasted the promotion as sexist and mocked its message” (Janine Puhak, Fox News). I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. My 5 seconds of air time created an array of malicious feedback that is all associated with my face. My friend texted me today declaring that I’m “a symbol of the patriarchy”. “We have the chance to make #PelotonHusband a meme” (@matt_clarke/twitter).
As my face continues to be screen shot online, I wonder what repercussions will come back to me. I pride myself on being a great teacher and developing actor, and I can only hope that this affects neither. I’m grappling with the negative opinions as none of them have been constructively helpful. “I think the acting was corny because it was overdramatic” (Jeannie Mai, The Real Daytime). It’s really hard to improve when all feedback goes against any type of growth. I currently sit here hoping that I’ll be able to continue auditioning for commercials without any taint, and that if my students happen to find the commercial and recognize me, they won’t think about me any different than they already know me. After all, this commercial has nothing to do with my ability to teach or who I am. Unfortunately, the problem is that viewers can mistake an actor as that person after they’ve seen them on television instead of a person given a script with no opinion on what they are being told to portray. As I continue to reflect on the commercial, I consider these thoughts: Why are people creating so many additional narratives to the story? Am I allowed to view the commercial positively after receiving such negative feedback? If recognized on the street, what will people’s first opinions be of me? The aftermath of the commercial has left me with more questions than answers, and this is only half the story. I reflect on what my co-actor must be dealing with, as she’s the other 25 seconds of the story.”
This dude sounds like he’s going to end up going into hiding over an ad which literally no one will remember, me included, once there’s a new Baby Yoda GIF to tweet about instead. In other words, about eight minutes from now.
As a Twitter pal said, “Peloton Husband is the only person who isn’t in on the joke.”
Frankly, he should be commended for his skill. Do you know how good of an actor you need to be to convince viewers you’re guilty of DV with *three seconds* of screen time? By the time it was over, I was ready to call 911 on him. Give Daniel Day-Lewis three seconds of this material, see how well he does.
The tragedy of him obsessing about people thinking less of him because of who he played is that, like I said last night, the perceptions of his character are colored entirely by the weirdness of the actress’s performance. (He’s not even in the ad, really; you only see his face in one reaction shot.) The anxiety she radiates in wanting to please him by convincing him of her gratitude is just too high in context, even for an ad where the point is to show how life-changing the bike is. Something’s up with her. The question the ad inadvertently leaves you with is why. What has he done to make her this way?
I mean, conceivably the answer is “nothing.” Maybe she’s just neurotic and “needy” and he’s willing to put up with it because she’s just that hot. Wouldn’t be the first guy to make that compromise, won’t be the last. In that case, he deserves our sympathy and/or envy.
By the way, according to CBS, Peloton’s shares have lost 15 percent this week. Maybe the company should start posting its own Baby Yoda GIFs to try to get everyone to move on.