November 04, 2008

The Highs and Lows of Mr Muscle

The Highs and Lows of Mr Muscle

It's not about branding; it's about an institution. There's something grounding and warming about a never-aging face we all know and trust. Like Father Christmas (translation for West-Atlanticans: Santa Claus) - everybody knows his big ol' belly and white fur-lined red suit. And his beard.
Just like everybody knew the good old Captain Birdseye: a loveable old sea captain, who we all suspected was secretely Father Christmas (again) or Bernard Matthews, famous turkey farmer, gone rogue. When they reincarnated the barnacle-encrusted old codger into a young James Marsden-a-like, the world rebelled. Fish prices plummeted and talk of an ecodomic fishession was all over the papers. Why? Because no one (repeat: no one) wants to buy fish from James Marsden.

So why, why, why have they replaced our beloved Mr Muscle - a man so weak and inept that he gave all of us hope that our ovens couldn't possibly stay greasy for long if even he could remove the baked-on remains of grandma's over-roasted duck - with what looks like James Marsden. Why?

Mr Muscles proved to the world that you didn't need to be talented, good-looking, charming or indeed have the ability to walk properly to get your oven clean. Before then, we were in pandemonium. In the late 1960's everyone from fire fighters to Richard Nixon himself were called in to fight the 'greasy oven' crisis. Your everyday layman was ill-equipped to cope with those baked on stains. But then came hope. Then came, Mr Muscle. His dirty vest reminded us our our dirty vest. His lanky limbs reminded us of our girth-deficient penises. This was a man who seemed so incredibly unable to deal with even a coffee spill onto linoleum and yet - somehow - he could clean an oven with a single wipe. The world was changed forever. If he could do it, then why not the rest of us?

Now though it seems that grease is winning the war again, and - just as the troubles of dwindling cod reserves in the North Sea called out for action - James Marsden is back to fight our war for us, and we are left in the sidelines.