Im not an <x>, but I play one on TV.
[Bayer Aspirin; <x> = doctor]
Before doctors started bending over for big pharma en masse on behalf of their befuddled patients (Here ... try this new boner-makin anti-cancer combo thingie and Ill get a free trip to Cancun), pill companies used actual doctors to push product on national TV. But then Bayer asked itself – who is more trustworthy than an actual doctor? How about a soap opera doctor! Peter Bergman (who played Dr. Cliff Warner on All My Children at the time and now plays Jack Abbott on Young & Restless) was paid by Bayer to point to a little box and asked consumers to ingest the contents therein solely on the strength of his warm, pretend medical knowledge. Now we know better; we get our televised pharmaceutical advice from swarthy animated talking bees, matrices of flowers configured to create branded drug logos, and actors who have never played doctors.
The first time I saw this ad, I remember thinking that it was entirely self-referential; that the shillster indicating he played [a doctor] on TV was simply doing just that right then. Im always trying to ferret out the meta-skeevy.
NPRs Fresh Air (substitute host Dave Davies) September 9th, 2004:
My guest John Stewart isnt a real news anchor, he just plays
one on TV.
– Jeff Stendec (November 5, 1988)