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Lacey Chabert, Lindsay Lohan, Amanda Seyfried for Walmart
People like to think that Marvel created Hollywood’s love affair with shared universes, where popular characters pop up in, let’s say, unexpected places. Back when the idea of Spider-Man appearing in a movie starring Captain America would get you laughed out of Tinsel Town, America’s ad wizards were bringing together everyone’s favorite things, like OnStar and Batman, creating cross brand synergy for creators to tell their stories.
More recently, Mean Girls aficionados are the latest fandom plagued with the question that’s caused aneurysms for the world’s greatest thinkers: Are commercials where movie characters appear canon? We’re here to give an unequivocal yes to that question. Some commerquels are even better than the originals! For example, Steven Spielberg’s E.T. is considered one of the greatest films ever, a blockbuster that forever changed our relationship with the movies. And then, nearly 40 years later, Comcast Xfinity reunited E.T. and Elliot (Henry Thomas) to show him all that’s changed since E.T. left Earth. Elliot has his own family now. They eat salad (not just Reese’s Pieces, E.T.!). Of course, they also use Comcast Xfinity to access the internet. Many hardcore fans don’t know this, but this commerquel is where E.T.’s love affair with the cable and internet conglomerate comes from. To paraphrase E.T.: Mind blown.
However, true fans know the KFC commercial is an English-language remake of a Korean commerquel. It’s here that Korean content creators firmly establish that, besides being haunted by the fading memories of his wife and child with whom he’ll never reunite, RoboCop also loves fried chicken.
As for the Mean Girls Walmart ad, you better believe it’s canon. Walmart’s prices are an essential part of the Mean Girls experience, and through this follow-up, fans can learn more about the characters they love. Karen (Amanda Seyfried), now a local newscaster, saves on Walmart Black Friday Deals now, and Gretchen (Lacey Chabert) is a single mom still trying to make fetch happen (womp, womp), which is now more affordable because of how much Walmart rolled back prices. Kevin (Rajiv Surendra) is a father who saves on Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle RCs. That’s lucky for him because his son is a tyrant who throws the toy across the room. Kevin might encourage his son’s violent tendencies because he can afford Walmart’s unbeatable prices. Meanwhile, Cady (Lindsay Lohan) is now a guidance counselor, helping out a new generation of mean girls. And Regina George (Rachel McAdams), let’s just say she was “unavailable.”
One must consider the purgatorial horror of being a commerquel, though. Because this content relies heavily on the source material and lore, the characters are often forced to reiterate catchphrases and events from the original iteration. One must assume that when cameras aren’t on them, they live repetitive lives passing self-referential memes back and forth for eternity. No bother, though. That leaves more room for Easter eggs.
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