Watch the surreal, intense TV ad 'Last Week Tonight' wrote for a Minnesota car dealership

Tech 18-10-2021 Mashable 38

Back in June, John Oliver and the team at Last Week Tonight took one of their regular diversions down a weird little cultural side street, examining the odd phenomenon of identical local car dealership commercials written by one company and sold to multiple buyers. As is their wont, they created a fun little stunt: They wrote a script and offered it up for one dealership to use for free, sight unseen, on the condition that the ad was produced exactly as written.

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On Sunday, the show (which is off air this week) shared a video to YouTube where Oliver revealed not only what was in that mysterious script, but also the ad itself.

"The ad that we wrote was a tense domestic psychodrama that, yes, was incidentally about their car dealership, but it was mainly about a marriage in serious trouble," Oliver explained.

And props to Zumbrota Ford of Zumbrota, Minnesota, because they certainly did the thing.

The ad centres on a couple arguing over the direction their shared life has taken, with a minivan purchased from Zumbrota Ford representing everything that seems to have gone wrong: Their running argument over whether to start a family, the spark that's faded from their relationship, the growing distance between them, the fact that the minivan doesn't even fit in their garage. Have they outgrown each other? Were they even ever a good fit, or are they the minivan and the too-small garage?

All that on a local-car-commercial budget, with Minnesota accents! Chef kiss, people. No notes. A masterpiece of no-budget Midwestern independent cinéma, evoking a dream you had after falling asleep watching I Think You Should Leave to try and de-stress from finishing the second season of Fargo.

"All due respect to Oscar Isaac and Jessica Chastain, but that is a fucking scene from a marriage right there," beamed Oliver. He took the time to point out the extra touches Team Zumbrota added to the script, including a detail in the final shot that brings the whole thing full circle: "That is narrative closure, motherfuckers! That's how you do it!"

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