Via Poulos, I see Slate’s Seth Stevenson loves the reinvention of snack food icon Chester Cheetah. Like Rambo and Dirty Harry, there’s much to love about this late, revisionist look at an 80s pop icon*, and I appreciate that, two decades after Watchmen and The Dark Knight flipped comic-book archetypes inside out, commercials have begun to deconstruct themselves.
But much as I love the reinvention of the character, the best thing about the new ad isn’t the character, but the spot’s reliance on the chips’ gloriously sticky, orange-finger producing byproducts. Let’s face it: When you’re 8 years old (as I was once, and still am occasionally accused of being), Cheetos aren’t just awesome because they’re a form of delicious junk food, though that no doubt helps. They’re awesome because they turn your fingers a gooey, granularly-textured shade of orange, like J. Lo after an unfortunate run-in with malfunctioning spray-on tanner. The residue very nearly takes on the properties of a magic powder, albeit with only the power to make licking your fingers taste good.
*Yes, I’m aware that Dirty Harry began as a 70s phenomenon. But there were sequels into the 80s, and it was during that decade that his myth and iconic status grew.