Wednesday, September 12, 2007
On The Matter Of Burger King's "Chicken Fries"
When I was little, they came out with these hot dog wieners that had the chili and cheese already inside the wiener. Somebody actually came up with the idea of hollowing out the frank’s meaty core and injecting it with meat sauce and the best Velveeta has to offer. At the time I thought it was awesome and it still might be. But back then I couldn’t figure out why my mother was so repulsed and refused to buy them. Until I went to Burger King the other day and became aware of the fact that there exists something called “chicken fries.”
Besides proving that, indeed, everything does have its own Wikipedia page, chicken fries embody everything that’s wrong with American culture. If you don’t believe me, just watch the commercials.
The first one opens with a chicken standing on some stairs with a gang of French fries. Another group of chickens approaches and begins pressuring the chicken to stop being friends with the fries.
“Hey Chicken, you got a lot of nerve hanging around with those French fries, man!” a member of the group taunts. “Maybe you want to be a French fry, huh?”
After you come to terms with the fact that someone was paid to concoct this scenario, chew on this: In an added element of racial stereotyping, this entire exchange takes place on the street, some of the chickens have blackccents and the ones that don't have Latino accents (because you know how susceptible those Mexicans are to peer pressure! Always following the pack. Coming across the border in DROVES, they are!)
But Thug Chicken is not to be hoodwinked. “Maybe I do!” he answers defiantly.
Then the announcer’s voice booms: “BK Chicken Fries: All white meat with the courage to be French fries.” Nevermind that I’m pretty sure that the one on the left was a rooster. And don’t make me take issue with the decision to use white meat instead of dark meat. I was an American Studies major. I could go on for hours.
The second promo finds the chicken fries on the Nascar race track being passed through the window to a hungry driver. The pit stop crew is reminiscing about the days before chicken fries when there would be 20-car pileups while drivers tried to eat drumsticks, chicken sandwiches, and full-on Rotisserie birds during the race. Chicken fries, it seems, provide easy consumption.
Of course, the elephant in the room here is that maybe if we Americans weren’t such gluttons, we could actually put food down while operating an automobile at high rates of speed. But if you’re having difficulty with that leap of faith, I probably lost you back at the chicken/fry turf war.
“You have to feed the need for chicken fries,” the old man and moral center of the commercial reasons.
Is there really an overwhelming demand for a potato-poultry hybrid? And is this really a time issue, as they suggest? Because I want to meet the person who is either too lazy or too busy to handle the chicken and the fries separately. “I just don’t have time to eat all of these French fries AND chicken strips! It’s too much pressure! Too much sauce-dipping! Too much surface area!”
Chicken fries are just a by-product of America's culture of consumerism and convenience, a society obsessed with time-saving techniques which rarely, in fact, save time. If we turn back now, we can save our children from the deleterious effects of chicken fry consumption and find cost-efficient edible alternatives with the added benefit of energy conservation. So are you with me, America???
Fine. Have it your way.