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Test Pattern: Five-link Friday

‘Sopranos’ pinball; ‘Batman Begins’ preview; the real "Deadwood"; "Napoleon Dynamite" action figures; Mr T comics. By Gael Fashingbauer Cooper

Five-link Friday

Here's our Friday linkage:

• Woke up this morning, got myself a . (Thanks to Jon for the link!)

• Forget "Star Wars" for a minute: If you're going batty to get a sneak peek of "Batman Begins," which comes to theaters in June, mark your calendar for May 18 (the day before "Revenge of the Sith" opens). That's the day that an eight-minute preview for "Batman Begins" will air during the WB's "Smallville" season finale. You can already watch .

• "Deadwood" fans might find interesting. It offers up real history about the men and women portrayed on HBO's Western. Yes, there was , and according to the site "he was every bit as ugly as the character portrayed in the 'Deadwood' series."

• Coming soon: . But will they make a Liger?

• I pity da fool who doesn't read .

Your thoughts on ‘Push It’ commercial

Readers were somewhat split about the in the commercial I mentioned. Some agreed it was a bizarre choice, but others accused me of having a dirty mind and said the song was just fine. Others wanted to talk about the use of other popular songs in different commercials, especially songs where the meaning seems to have been lost on the advertising agency.

Here are some of your thoughts.

MOM SINGS ‘PUSH IT’“Regarding “Push It”:  It is quite conceivable that GM is ignorant about the sexual overtones to “Push It.”  In high school, one of my good friends horrifiedly recounted at lunch how she came home from school the previous day to find her mother on the floor rearranging the furniture singing “Push It.”  “Mom!” she cried, “What are you singing?!?”  “Oh, that ‘Push It’ song.”  “Do you have any idea what that song means?” “What do you mean?  Isn’t it about pushing things, or testing limits, or something?” “No!  It’s about... SEX!” “Oh.”  So if my friend’s forty-something year-old mother didn’t realize what was going on in “Push It,” chances are that GM either doesn’t know or doesn’t think it matters.  It just might work, too:  middle-aged people won’t get it, and younger people just might find a coolness factor in the use of a song about sex.  (For what it’s worth, I have to feel that the younger crowd will be turned off by a song 15-20 years old!)”  --Chris

HUG A TREE“Last I checked, this is the year 2005 and we live in America. You know, “land of the free and home of the brave” and then we have people like you that can find any little thing and knit pick it until it’s dead.  It’s a commercial.  No nudity, not one breast or butt shown, just a hot red button. Give it a rest.  This is not a puritan society.  It’s the modern day. NO BIG DEAL.  Find an animal to save or a tree to hug.  Stop messing up real T.V. .”  --Michelle

PUSHING IT“I agree that the GM commercial is ‘pushing it.’  What makes commercials even worse are the ones that take something not funny and try to make it funny—like the commercial where the surgeon says to his operating room staff “come on, like you didn’t think it was the spleen” after being told he had removed a healthy spleen.. This happens way too often in real life and is not funny.”  --Ellen

SPACE SHUTTLE“I think it’s certainly bizarre.  But am I the only one who thought the GM space shuttle commercial was in bad taste?  Considering we’re weeks away from launching our first shuttle since the Columbia, over two years ago?  I don’t know.  Maybe it’s just me.”  --Kara

BEST COMMERCIAL“Nothing wrong with the song ... dirty mind or not ... they are targeting people in their mid-30’s who grew up listening (or doing other things) to that song.  I would have to keep this in the “best” commercial theme category.”  --Anna

ANOTHER AD“I had the exact same thought about the GM commercial. But here’s another reason why it’s so (unintentionally) funny...that same song was used to hilarious effect in another recent commercial. I can’t remember what the product was (I think it was some kind of software product or other business solution) but it involves a manager checking up on his slacking team. He is concerned about their performance because they are dancing while listening to - you guessed it - “Push It”. Like I said, I can’t remember the product but the commercial was quite funny, due largely to the use of that song. So the GM ad evoked memories of that other ad.”  --Lori

INAPPROPRIATE“I believe I have seen that commercial a few days before the airing of Desperate Housewives, and I did find the song in the background to be a little inappropriate. I could not believe that they actually used that song!”  --D

GET YOUR MIND OUT OF THE GUTTER“Actually I think the song is fine given the circumstances. You PUSH a button to find out if you’re a winner. Maybe you should get your mind out of the gutter. Salt N Pepa’s PUSH IT is probably at least a ten year old song, so I really doubt that too many young children even  know what the song is referring to. Or maybe your problem is with GM. Whatever the case, I saw the commercial, and I didn’t relate it to anything sexual until you brought it up!”  --Jamie

YOUTH AS BACKGROUND MUSIC“My wife, who is nine years younger than I, had a different reaction to the commercial. She has realized the songs of her youth are now background music for commercials. This ad along with the Old Navy ad currently airing drive her nuts! Myself, having already been through this stage, told welcome to my world.”  --Rick

'99 LUFTBALLOONS'“There was a commercial for something I can’t think of right now, but it had a too-sweet cover of Nena’s “99 Luftballoons” (well, the English version). What struck me was the inappropriateness of it. They focused on this pleasant scene with red balloons, forgetting the song was about NUCLEAR WAR!”  --Charles

NOTHING SURPRISES“When a major cruise line is using a song about heroin use in it’s commercials, is anything really surprising?”  --Courtney

GETTING DESPERATE“ ‘Desperate Housewives’? I think thats more disturbing than the commercial.”  --David

GM pushes it

So I'm sitting at home, watching " last night, and one of those commercials comes on that makes me sit up straight and say "Did I just see that? Was that a real commercial, or have I stumbled onto a "Saturday Night Live" parody?"

Maybe you saw it too. It's a General Motors commercial advertising a new contest called that the car company is having. Apparently you go to a GM dealer, sit in a designated car, and push the OnStar button. If you're a winner, the OnStar advisor will tell you.

Not, in itself, a bad concept: It gets customers into the dealerships, gets them familiar with OnStar (assuming they haven't already seen the zillion commercials where people shout about how they've driven off the road and OnStar helps them). But how did GM decide to promote this contest in their nationally aired TV commercial, for which they bought space during one of the most popular TV programs in the country?

With Salt N Pepa's (push it real good!).

How do you think that went over in the advertising meetings? I mean, all I know of commercial concept meetings is what I learned from "thirtysomething," but I'm having a hard time picturing even Michael and Elliott getting this one past the suits at GM.

Is it possible they showed the rest of the commercial, and then just dismissively said "..and we'll layer some music over it here." Is it possible that they said "You know how we want to sell this concept? Graphic sexual innuendo, yeah, that's the ticket. No, forget innuendo, we want to be as blunt as children's safety scissors." Is is possible that the GM advertising department is filled with workers whose minds are as pure as the driven snow, and they just could not see anything else except a nice song about pushing ... buttons?

Or maybe I'm the one with the dirty mind and the commercial is just fine.

This all sets me to thinking: Remember last year's ? Where in the end, we declared the toe fungus commercials the worst, and the Citibank identity-theft ads the best? Let's do that again, this summer. So start mentally cataloging those commercials now. I'll let you know when to send in your lists.