Over the last 72 [checks iPhone to see what day it is and also what year it is at this point] hours, I have lost the ability to mark the passing of time. Minutes, days, fortnights … who knows. Just CNN on a loop with the occasional visit to MSNBC (Rachel, hello) while we await official election results. The only constant in my life, the only reliable and consistent barometer that time is moving in some direction, has been Melissa McCarthy. Specifically, Melissa McCarthy screaming, voice quavering, at a translucent AI computer screen, “PEOPLE ARE WORTH SAVING!” in an ad that will not stop playing hour after hour after hour. Like some kind of HBO Max–branded Groundhog Day alarm clock. “PEOPLE ARE WORTH SAVING!”
Without fail, multiple times per hour for days, she has been my steadfast companion. “People are worth saving,” she said on Tuesday night when I flopped onto my couch, exhausted but heartened after a day of working the polls. “YES THEY ARE, MELISSA,” I hollered back. “People are worth saving,” she said on Wednesday as we got a better picture of just how many white people once again voted for Donald Trump. “Eh, maybe not everybody, Mel,” I rebutted. “People are worth saving,” she told me seven thousand times on Thursday. “Did you know the L in Dekalb is silent in Georgia?” I replied. “People are worth saving,” she implored Friday morning. “Blorgle schmoorgle doop floop,” I replied, having lost the ability at this point to form coherent sentences. (The whole ad is underscored by a pop song with the sole lyrics “We have arrived,” which I have to say is a deeply frustrating message after days and days of us not actually arriving anywhere concrete.)
There are other shows highlighted in this particular HBO Max ad that now haunts my nightmares, sure: Lovecraft Country, Nicole Kidman–wig vehicle The Undoing, that one about the theme park in Jersey. But none of them are seared into my brain like the clip of Melissa. (HBO Max, if you’re reading this, I learned literally nothing about what she’s advertising for and had to google “Melissa McCarthy people are worth saving” to learn that it’s an ad for an upcoming movie called Superintelligence, so maybe you need to rethink your strategy FWIW.) People are worth saving? PEOPLE ARE WORTH SAVING!