I love Felipe in the summer…in heels, and with a Boca Burger, too.

August 4th, 2009 12:01 pm by Kelly Garbato

Again, the feminist blogospheres have already spoken re: this saucy (the puns, I’m full of ’em!) Carl’s Jr. Western Bacon Cheeseburger commercial starring Top Chef Padma Lakshmi. But I’ve yet to see a vegan feminist response, so here we go.

(A word of warning: I’ve embedded seven – yes, seven! – videos below. While I don’t expect y’all to watch the uber-exploitative extended cuts, the other five are must sees.)



The commercial shows a scantily-clad (hiked skirt, plunging neckline, push-up bra) Padma strolling through an open air market, eying the fresh fruits and veggies with approval. The soundtrack is sensual, jazzy, worldly; the lyrics “’round the world” repeat on a loop. The viewer feels as though Padma could be anywhere: Istanbul, Paris, Barcelona.

And then, the voice over: “I’ve always had a love affair with food. I think I’ve tasted every flavor imaginable.”

Padma, seemingly arriving at her destination, plops down at the foot of an urban stoop, the distinctive white Carl’s Jr. bag in one hand. Suddenly, the atmosphere is very American – NYC, to be exact – and unappealingly so (read: inescapable American fast food chains).

Anyhow, Padma plops down, feet placed wide apart, so that the audience is treated to an almost-upskirt shot. Apparently we’re voyeurs now. (I didn’t sign up for this! I just wanted to watch 30 Rock in peace, dammit!)

“But there’s something about Western Bacon.”

Padma pulls a ridiculously large burger from her sack, and thrusts it into her mouth. She yanks a strip of “bacon” out from under the bun, and dangle-drops it into her mouth, all sexy-like. Probably Carl’s Jr. would like all the het dudes watching to imagine that she’s fellating it. The bacon. A pig corpse. Shudder.

“It reminds me of being in high school…”

Inexplicably, Padma hikes the skirt of her dress up to mid-thigh at this point. While, um, still scarfing the burger with her other hand. Sweet jeebus, who does that!?

“…sneaking out before dinner to savor that sweet, spicy sauce…”

Cue gratuitous tit shot.

Somewhat fortuitously (yeah right!), the aforementioned sweet and spicy sauce is now beginning to drip from the burger, down Padma’s hand and wrist. Naturally, she licks it off with an extended tongue – the likes of which I’ve only seen on my dog-kids, while attempting to dislodge peanut butter from the roofs of their mouths.

For some reason, both of Padma’s hands are now covered in sauce. Using her free hand, she smears some on her face. (And the het dudes say, “Show us the money!”)

“…and leaving no evidence behind.”

Padma separates another strip of pig flesh from the gooey mess in her hand, and pulls it into her mouth with a hyperactive tongue.

Ooops! Would you look at that! Some BBQ sauce has dribbled onto Padma’s freshly Naired leg! (Didn’t see that coming, nosiree!) Alas, Carl’s Jr. does not bother packing napkins (presumably for this very reason), so Padma wipes the sauce/ejaculate from her calf and licks it – nay, sucks it – from her finger. Subtle, Carl’s Jr. is not.

What looks to be a triple-“meat” sandwich appears on the screen, ready for its closeup.

Narrator dude chimes in: “The Carl’s Jr. Western Bacon Six Dollar Burger: More than just a piece of meat.”

Ironical, since neither Padma nor the pigs, cows and chickens featured in this commercial are treated like anything but “pieces of meat.”

There’s also an extended cut, which clocks in at 1:13, compared to the 33 second spot above. Mostly it’s more of the same, with a little added orgasmic imagery: Padma “pops” a pea (“Don’t worry, honey, it happens to everyone – even vegetables!”); Padma licks the burger (given the burger’s curves, this is strangely suggestive of cunnilingus; surely I can’t be the first person to notice!?); etc. Hey, I warned you.



Now, I could give you a feminist breakdown of how displaying women’s disembodied parts (i.e., breasts, thighs, legs, mouth, tongue, etc.) makes the sum of these parts (in this case, Padma) seem less human; explain the male gaze, and demonstrate how Padma is playing to it; and point out that the conflation of “meat” (which is the production of exploitation, abuse, violence and death) with sex is harmful to human and non-human animals alike.

(Lest Carl’s Jr. leave you with any doubts as to the motivation behind their casting decisions, here’s their official commentary on the Padma ad:

“When we found out Padma was such a fan of the Carl’s Jr. Western Bacon Cheeseburger, she was a natural fit to star in the television campaign for Hardee’s new Western Bacon Thickburger,” said Brad Haley, executive vice president of marketing for Hardee’s and Carl’s Jr. restaurants. “In many ways, she was the perfect choice for our ‘Young, Hungry, Guy’ customers because she’s beautiful, she’s a culinary expert, she’s beautiful, she’s very smart, and she’s beautiful. In the ads, she just tells the story of her long love affair with this classic burger, and she looks great doing it.”

Hey, Carl’s Jr.! You might want to reconsider that “not just a piece of meat” tag line, mkay? You’re Not. Fooling. Anyone.)

In all honesty, though, when I first caught this commercial on the teevee, all I could say to my husband (who, incidentally, does not go by the name “Felipe”) was, “Imagine how fucking ridiculous this would look with Guy Fieri.” (So chosen because he’s a fellow chef-turned-fast food industry shill.)

And then I realized: no fantasizing necessary!

Probably y’all remember the infamous Carl’s Jr. ad featuring an even less-dressed Paris Hilton, wherein she gobbles down a Spicy BBQ Burger while, um, washing a Mercedes (?) in ankle-crushing stilettos and a fetishistic black swimsuit?



Extended edition, for the masochistic:



Well, the “controversial” commercial was so “controversial” (read: viewed and discussed) that it spawned a number of spoofs, most of which feature men.

The most popular spoof, of course, was made by a hairy, oversized white guy (Hurley!), who gets mad props for replicating Hilton’s strappy bikini:



I say “of course” (it’s popular) because the skit doesn’t so much subversively poke fun at gender roles, as it invites the viewer to laugh at a fat guy who obviously has no business appearing in public while carrying all those fat rolls. In short, it’s not as feminist as it is fat-shaming.

Luckily, I also found two spoofs made by trim guys. On the downside, neither is wearing the Hilton bikini (though the first washboy is brave enough to appear in a “mankini,” and the second dons heels to hilarious effect).

Let’s see if the reversed gender roles are as silly when we compare apples to apples, shall we?

Unnamed Dude #1:



And Dude #2, the titular Felipe:



I don’t know about you, but I love Felipe in the summer…in heels, and with a Boca Burger, too.

And yet, I doubt an Emeril Lagasse Slip ‘n’ Slide / Carl’s Jr. milkshake ad is in the works.


Update, 7/21/10: And the Hoff gets into the act, with this spoof ad for his upcoming Comedy Central Roast. Awesomeness.


Sure, he’s probably mocking that drunken burger video as much as he is the Paris Hilton Hardee’s ad, but still. AWESOMENESS.



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2 Responses to “I love Felipe in the summer…in heels, and with a Boca Burger, too.”

  1. we called it babewatch for a reason – Schlongs4Seals Says:

    […] have GOT to check out this Paris Hilton/Carls Jr. spoof ad from DAVID HASSELHOFF, who’s slated to be “roasted” on Comedy Central on August […]

  2. In which Ben Mayo Boddie busts Hardee’s creamy sweet balls. » V for Vegan: easyVegan.info Says:

    […] many years ago. In fact, this seems to be Hardee’s sole branding strategy. Paris Hilton. Padma Lakshmi. The Girlfriend. The Fist Girl. The Hot Teacher with the Flat Buns. The Hot Chick on the Mechanical […]

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