It is around this time of year that Victoria's Secret reveals its Christmas commercial, and while it cannot compare to the campy glory of other, vaguely incestuous holiday ads, it still merits careful analysis.
In their 2012 offering, Victoria's Secret Angels charmingly flub the lyrics of "Deck the Halls" while sidling around a Christmas tree, opening windows and flinging fake snow about. It's either very charming or inane, depending, I suppose, on whether you prefer to feel intimidated by models or superior to them. In it, Miranda Kerr claims that no one in Australia sings "Deck the Halls," which I find difficult to believe, although I have no reason to think she would lie to me. Also, she is beautiful beyond the lot of mortal women; she looks like a shape-shifting gazelle who speaks the language the gods used when they lived on the moon.
Now for the real test: How does it compare to the greatest Victoria's Secret Christmas commercial of all time? I speak, of course, of 2006's luminous and aggressive "Tell me you love me" campaign, which is re-shot and re-released almost every year (at least I'm fairly sure it started back in 2006. If you can find an earlier version, I welcome correction). Michael Bay has directed several versions.
The models and the outfits may change, but the script remains consistent. Women stride commandingly toward the camera before turning coyly away, making a series of demands on the viewer while Carol of the Bells plays ominously in the background. Here is the complete list of their requests, some of which are more reasonable than others:
"Tell me you love me."
"Tell me you miss me."
Everyone feels insecure sometimes:
"Tell me you want me."
Somewhat demanding, but then again she is a woman of the world, with a job that throws her in the path of fascinating, wealthy people:
Honestly, she can be exhausting, you confide to a friend over drinks:
"Bring me to my knees."
Thank you. This is a clear and simple request. I can do this:
"There's no gift like a Christmas gift from Victoria's Secret."
You can do that for her. Part of you even longs to do it, to subsume your will into hers, to cater to her every whim, but it will cost you your self-respect:
"Tell me...tell me...there's no one in the world like me...like me...like me."