Hi, viewers. It’s us, the dead moms from those heartstring-tugging commercials you’ve seen thousands of times on ad-supported Hulu since October 1. While we appreciate that your eyes watered a little while our deaths were used to emotionally manipulate you into buying your Christmas ham from Kroger, we have some things we need to get off our deceased chests.
For starters, could the writers of our commercials please just come out and say that we’re dead instead of implying it through hackneyed context clues involving our surviving male relatives?
Oh, this kitchen table has three place settings, but only a downtrodden dad and kid are sitting there? Mom must be dead!
Oh, a mom helps her adult son with cooking, but then it’s revealed she’s nothing but a photograph on the wall above an empty chair? Mom’s dead!
A man stands outside with his kid and looks wistfully up to the heavens? DEAD MOM ALERT!
The reluctance to so much as say our names kills us. Or it would if we weren’t, obviously, dead.
On that note, it’s not endearing watching our middle-aged surviving spouse or kid flail around in a ballooning cloud of flour while he attempts an apple pie using our recipe. In life, we hated being cast into the stereotypical matriarchal role of doing 100 percent of the holiday cooking. When these men hold up their shitty excuses for pies, look into the camera in a self-satisfied way, and sigh, “This pie is not quite as good as mom’s,” they’re goddamn right it’s not. That pie is missing the flavor of resentment we baked into every Christmas dessert.
Instead of trying to crap together a picture-perfect holiday in our honor, maybe try cherishing our memory by donating to a charity we supported? Or just scrap the holiday plans and take the kids on a Caribbean cruise like we moms suggested every year?
Oh, wait, our husbands repeatedly shut down that idea because it “just isn’t Christmas without that pie.” Jesus Christ.
Of course, a trip to Aruba probably isn’t in the budget, because we’re watching our husbands and kids fritter away what’s left of our life insurance money in overzealous attempts to make a memorable Christmas. Sure, Brad, you get an industrial strength shredder and seventeen reams of 8.5″ × 11″ to make snow out of paper and cover the garden shed with it for our daughter. Granted, you now only have one income to pay for those increased winter utility bills—and you know you’ll have to do the vacuuming, right?—but there’s no holiday grief that can’t be sated by dropping a few hundred bucks on Prime, right? Tanya, we know you mean well by fixing up our old Chevy Impala as a surprise for your dad, but we wish you’d have rallied the town to support you in finishing your master’s degree instead of fixing an old junker we intended to donate for the tax write-off.
Is it too much to ask that we deceased mothers of the holiday commercial universe be given a proper remembrance, perhaps one that doesn’t involve the grief-torn holes in our relatives’ hearts being filled with two liters of Coca-Cola? What if—instead of our whole family bravely celebrating a perfect Christmas in our absence—a commercial showed them eating takeout off the floor and sobbing into a stocking, which is probably a more appropriate reaction to a recently deceased mom?
Or here’s a crazy thought—what if we didn’t have to, I don’t know, literally die in order to be appreciated for the emotional and unpaid labor we did while we were alive during the holidays? Too out there? Not depressing enough to sell a Chevy?
Listen, if our off-screen deaths inspire you to call your aging mother or tell your wife that you love her, wonderful. We’re happy that our brief existence served as a call to action. But before we disappear into the ether and are replaced by Valentine’s Day commercials featuring hetero-white couples frolicking in the ocean, we have one request.
If you feel yourself being compelled to shop at Kroger because it’s the Pro-Dead Mom Supermarket, please stop. Don’t give them the satisfaction of successfully using tragically deceased mothers to get you in the door. Maybe go to Trader Joe’s instead. After all, they’ve never once emotionally manipulated anyone into buying ham by killing off Joe’s mom.