Mom’s English Muffin Pizzas and The Verizon Paella Commercial Debate!

Hi everyone and please click on the title of this post to read more. Well, as Sunday is mother’s Day, I thought I would write about a Mother who has been on T.V. quite a lot lately and who is causing quite a stir. Have any of you seen the Verizon commercial featuring a Mom making the Spanish rice dish called Paella? In this commercial, the Mom emails her son saying that Paella is for dinner. The son responds that he doesn’t know what “Pa-ela” is but that he’s not eating it. The Mom then proceeds to order a pizza.

Well, I was quite disturbed by this commercial and the message it sent and wondered what my friend , Claudine Ohayon, the actual actress had to say about it. Before you read her response, please read one of the hundreds of thoughts about this commercial that I found on the blogoshpere, this one from the Daily Show forum website:

Beyond the obvious glorification of teen ignorance to phenomenal world cuisines outside a bologna & cheese sandwich, what the hell is Verizon thinking – promoting such God-awful parenting skills? Seriously?! Since when does the teen kid get to over-rule a mom’s homemade cooking efforts with such dismissive thoughtlesness? I get that they don’t like things sometimes but she didn’t even attempt to have him try it. Not that mom’s have time to cook anymore, but damn when they do, show a little respect! I would have told him to get his ungrateful ass home and cook the family meal himself & then grounded him for a week for being so incomprehensibly inconsiderate. On that note – why was his glib condemnation of her efforts so ok with her?! This truly is the epitome of the clueless, uncultured, overly entitled, obnoxiously rude “Ugly American” behavior. It’s a prime example of why this parenting generation has been failing so badly. Shame on Verizon for featuring this, neigh, glorifying this as an example of why their product is relevant. Because of lousy, ignorant parenting? Lovely! Who is the creative shop that conceived of this? And who is the worldly parenting genius at Verizon who approved of the spot? I wonder what their kids will shape up to be? Probably living in their parents basement at 35 wondering why their socks aren’t folded right and why dinner isn’t ready? Mac and cheese anyone?
04-08-2009 03:21 AM

Here is Claudine’s response:

First of all, the commercial is obviously working. It’s important to remember the goal of advertisers is to create a memorable spot, and as a result, hopefully awareness of the product will follow suit. Whether people love the spot or hate it, what matters most to advertisers is that people are remembering it and talking about it.

Here are a few things it seems like no one on that blog considered. What about the communicative family model being presented? You have an adolescent boy who is still connected to his Mom here. Not in a clingy way – he’s asserting his POV (albeit annoyingly, but throughout time, acting in this way is a common adolescent trait, not just that of the spoiled “kids these days”) but he is also checking in with his Mom at an age when most kids want nothing to do with their parents.

Maybe the Mom compromises because the sanctity of her family meal is more important than what is on the menu. With all of life’s distractions and crazy schedules, maybe she cares more about spending time together and connecting over a meal than getting everyone to eat the same thing.

And maybe she’s cooking the paella for her OWN PLEASURE, not just in slave-to-her -family mode. That’s what I meant when I wrote on your wall that she was taking back the kitchen. She’s trying to expand her culinary horizons by trying to make a new dish.

When my son saw the spot, he laughed and said, “That would never happen at our house. You don’t even order pizza for us – we have to make our own!” This is true. We have enlisted our children as sous chefs from very young ages, encourage them to try everything and “Don’t cry…try” is our family credo. Still, I don’t begrudge the woman who orders pizza for her kids and then sits down at the table together to talk about the days events. We all have our strengths and weaknesses, and something’s got to give somewhere. Maybe she’s just picking her battles, like we all must do every day.

That being said, I am NOT the Mom in that commercial – and I am an actor who is portraying a character, not a spokesperson for Verizon or the ad agency.

I think Claudine makes some excellent points!

Here is the link to the commercial if you have not yet seen it:

I am opening this one up for questions/comments. Anyone?

What I would like to add is that that my Mom was a great meal provider for her seven kids. There was always an effort made to keep it simple,to keep it healthy with a balance of protein, grain and vegetable and most importantly, to be consistent with a meal at the table every night. We ate what we were given because we did not have a choice and if you didn’t eat it, you had to fend for yourself. I always ate it but did not realize at the time what a valuable gift she was giving us, night after night. Thanks, Mom.

Here is my Mom’s recipe for a special treat that I have updated, one that I now give my kids-English Muffin pizzas. If she had made paella, by the way, we would have eaten that, too. Happy Mother’s Day!

English Muffin Pizzas:

1 multigrain Thomas’ English Muffin, separated with a fork and lightly toasted
a few TBS mozzarella cheese
2 TBS homemade or bottled tomato sauce

Place cheese on top of toasted English muffin, top with tomato sauce and place in the toaster oven or oven on a baking sheet for about 3-5 minutes at 350 degrees or until cheese melts. Eat, enjoy and think of my Super Mom.


4 Responses

  1. Thank you Alma for commenting on that commercial. Unfortunately, when my parents did make Paella, my brother wouldn’t eat it because he was being a heel, not because it was not supreme and my mom would have a separate meal for him. I would have never done that. I would offer the Paella and if he didn’t like it…eat dirt kid! Oh, one other thing, the ingredients that she has for the Paella is hideous!!! Never would i eat a Paella with the ingredients in the commercial.

  2. I don’t think anyone is actually criticising the actress (hey, work is work), but I have to side with the critics. That commercial is just very grating on the nerves of most parents. It doesn’t make me want to go out any but that thing.

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