The commercial depicted three octaganarians at, presumably (though it's never expressly said) McDonalds, and one of these geriactric women enquires as the location of the beef patty on a hamburger sandwich which has an over-sized bun.
That cantankerous woman's real name was Clara Peller and she became fairly famous for a time. Her fame was somewhat short-lived partially as a result her death three years after shooting the first commercial.
But in that three years, she shot numerous other "Where's the beef" commercials for the Wendy's corporation. It became part of the American lexicon. US presidential candidate Walter Mondale used it during an election debate. No wonder he won Minnesota!
You see, the phrase became more than an indictment on the size of McDonald's hamburger patties (which, in truth, were indeed small, especially relative to Wendy's product). It came to be used for, "Where's the substance to what you're saying?", as in the presidential debate. It also became mildly sexual, a reference to male genitalia sometimes being described as "beef". Indeed, a 2011 Wendy's commerical references this.
The guy puts on a retro t-shirt for a hamburger chain and suddenly attractive women want to have sex with him.
I used this phrase only once. I was maybe nine or ten years old. My mother prepared some food that I felt was lacking in meat content. So I remember thinking long and hard about whether or not I should make this beef comment. On the one hand, it might be funny, on the other hand, it's pretty stupid to reference television. Even as a kid I had a disdain for television. Plus, this had to be about 1988 or 1989 and the original "where's the beef" commercial was from 1984. So the fad had passed.
Nevertheless, I took a chance. "Where's the beef?" I said in an indignant manner? My mother snapped, "Don't ever say that again." My sister laughed. I continued to protest the lack of meat in this meal but my mother shut me down.
I suspect that she objected to "where's the beef", not as an indictment on her culinary skills but because she read some sexual into the phrase. She saw loads of totally innocuous things as sexual. It's bizarre.
I sent her a Mr Men oven mitt for Christmas one year. This was when I was living in the UK. The package said, "Warning: for adult use only" or something like that. Clearly, this it because children might be attracted to the Mr Men character but an oven mitt shouldn't be used by children because children shouldn't be sticking their arms into a hot oven.
She thought that this Mr Men oven mitt was a sex toy. She thought that I got her a sex toy for Christmas.
It's disappointing. A kid can't say "where's the beef" in a clearly innocent way because his mentally ill mother thinks that he's making some sexual reference.
You know how every physician on earth recommends three meals a day? And that it's pretty ingrained in the culture that you're supposed to have three meals a day? As a kid, I'd get one or two.
So one day, I was probably 17 or so, I had enough of the lack of meals and said, "You know, we're supposed to have three meals a day." My mother said, "You can have as many meals as you like. Go make something."
My mother didn't work. Please note, homemaker is not allowed, as it is not real work, that's why you don't get paid for it. So there's no reason why she couldn't make three meals a day.
Dinner: microwave ready meal
Done. I just prepared a full day's menu and the total time to make these three meals is less than 5 minutes. She couldn't even do that.
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