Jimmy Kimmel’s recent Live in Front of a Studio Audience special was a flashback trip for Gen-Xers. One that even puts Stranger Things to shame. In the prime time special, names like Jennifer Aniston and Kevin Hart did re-creations of some of the cheesiest of ’80s sitcoms. Namely, The Facts of Life and Diff’rent Strokes. But interspersed throughout were a ton of ’80s flavored phony commercials—each of which completely evokes the flavor of the era. Producing these? None other than Ryan Reynolds. A ton of retro icons showed up in these faux ads, including Alfonso Ribeiro and Flashdance‘s Jennifer Beals. You can watch some of our favorites below.
Alfonso Ribeiro’s Oscar Mayer spot is a spoof on not just the hot dog brand, but also on Brooke Shields’ infamous Calvin Klein jeans ad from 1980. And for those younger folks reading this who have no idea what we’re talking about, you can check out the real ad right here.
The anti-drug PSAs were everywhere in the ’80s. If you watched cartoons on weekday afternoons, you’d only see these. (Along with ads for toys and breakfast cereal of course). The most famous of these was the “this is your brain on drugs” frying pan ads. And Ribeiro nails the overwrought seriousness of those, in an ad for… a grilled cheese sandwich? Sure, why not.
Shoulder pads were all the rage in the ’80s. And they looked good on almost no one. Well, except for Joan Collins on Dynasty and The Golden Girls. Oh, and also Jennifer Beals in this “Shoulder Patties” Jack in the Box ad. Also, those Jack in the Box shoulder patties are clearly keeping Jennifer Beals ageless, so we say keep chowing down on those.
You can hear Ryan Reynolds’ distinctive voice in this Aviation Gin ad. This one mocks the Ronald Reagan “morning in America” campaign ads from his second term. They seem extremely cheesy today, but they sure worked back then.
If you were a kid in the ’80s, you dreaded your dad changing the channel from He-Man cartoons to the PBS home improvement show This Old House. The show’s host, Bob Vila, actually came back for this spoof version, “This Old Hole.” And why is there a hole in the wall? Oh yeah. You can blame the Kool-Aid Man for that one.
Yes, this is Heinz Ketchup ad is a spoof daytime soap opera Days of Our Lives and its endless ridiculous plotlines. But honestly, the show was like that. Does anyone out there still remember when Marlena was possessed by the Devil? We sure do.