There were quiet a few highlights of last night's Live in Front of a Studio Audience — from 99 year-old Norman Lear dropping the F-bomb on live TV, to the apparently ageless Lisa Whelchel performing the opening theme to The Facts of Life, to surprise appearances from Jason Bateman, Will Arnett and Snoop Dogg — but for our money, the very best parts of the 90 minute special were the show's '80s themed commercials.
Each of the spots riffed on period advertising and '80s era trends, including one for Oscar Meyer that parodied Brooke Shields' classic "Nothing Gets Between Me and My Calvins" commercial, and another for Jack in the Box that mocked '80s era shoulder pads.
As it turns out, the commercials were produced by Ryan Reynolds in partnership with the show's producer Jimmy Kimmel and the brands themselves, which also included Heinz Ketchup and Reynolds' own Aviation Gin. "I love everything about 80s advertising," Reynolds told Business Insider yesterday. "When both Jimmy and I grew up, the ads were something you couldn't really skip, so they were something you actually talked about, for better or worse."
Reynolds and Kimmel announced their partnership on Twitter yesterday via yet another video throwback, a clip featuring legendary 80s pitchman David Leisure:
As they have for previous editions of Live in Front of a Studio Audience, ABC got into the act themselves, producing a series of in-house promos tha aped the look and feel of the network's own period promos, down to the "Now is the Time, ABC is the Place" jingle and an announcer who sounded an awful lot like ABC legend Ernie Anderson.
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Jed Rosenzweig is the Founder and Publisher of Primetimer.