Did you ever see that documentary John Landis made about used car dealers, Slasher? If not, you should put it on your queue/folded-up wallet-list. Basically, Landis just sets up camp in this Memphis car dealership whose sales are so bad they have to fly in an alcoholic version of John "Mighty Mouth" Moschitta from California and have him run around the lot with a bullhorn and tuxedo to get rid of all their overstock. It's extremely depressing, but it also provides some pretty crucial insight into one of the most well-mined veins of comedy of the last 30 years.
Like most members of my generation, I grew up inundated with the sort of local car ads which would go on to birth such masterpieces of choke-inducing laughter as Winnebago man and "Get out your fucking checkbook". Naively, I assumed that these TV and radio spots were the product of insidious marketing strategists. There's no way a fully-grown business owner would goon himself out to an entire state unless it was grounded in reams of extensive research studying the efficacy of irritating, low-budget goonistry on moving units.
It was years before I came to the realization that most car dealers are so jacked to the gills on closer's coffee that the idea of dressing up in a sumo suit and swinging around a tiny plastic sword to "Turning Japanese" is simply the most obvious answer to the question of "How are we going to sell all these cars, Harv?"
This moment of clarity has both increased my appreciation of stupefying car ads and transformed my understanding of the insane local car dealer from your garden variety snake-oil salesman to the last great American folk hero. At least when I'm stoned.
I was initially worried that the decline of the auto industry might spell the end of this precious, amped-up slice of Americana, but now I feel like the increasing air of desperation will only ratchet the magnifico up to unseen heights. And even if it does kill it off, can you begin to imagine how bitter and glorious its death rattles will be? If this new radio spot from TS&S Chrysler in Bend, Oregon is any indicator, extremely.