When Terror Imitates the Soda Commercial

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Sierra Mist ad with Kathy Griffin and Michael Ian Black

Comedy writers are always fighting the last war. And people who book commercials on cable channels don't pay a lot of attention. Those two universal truths meant that, as of Thursday, stations were still running the Sierra Mist ad in which Kathy Griffin and Jim Gaffigan play airport security agents who pretend that their handheld metal detectors are being set off by Michael Ian Black's soda bottle — so they can confiscate it and drink it themselves. "You're just going 'wah, wah' when you put the thing over the soda!" Black protests, as the guard played by Gaffigan adjusts his rubber gloves and threatens, "Just give me the word, Wendy." Now, of course, you try to sneak a bottle of pop past the TSA and they'll stun-gun the crap out of you.

PepsiCo, which owns Sierra Mist, says the commercial, which started airing in February, conveniently ended its official run on Sunday — three days before the foiling of the British terrorism plot was announced and "liquid explosives" became a ubiquitous term. But cable companies are scheduled to dribble out the spot ads until Tuesday, and neither Pepsi nor the normally irony-aware people at The Daily Show —which was still airing the commercial as of Thursday — are stopping them.

The terrorists may have come within days of ruining a very funny commercial, but with one trip to a pet store they could do a lot more damage to our entertainment enjoyment: snakes on a plane.