Thursday, March 12, 2009

Grill Skill

I should warn you, the following video should not be viewed by anyone who wishes to cling to their belief in a kind and loving god.

Grill Skill is a training video put out by Wendy's in 1989 to teach their employees the proper art of putting greasy meat on a grill. Now you're probably thinking to yourself, "They needed a video for that?" but you have to remember that this was over 20 years ago. After eight years of George W., it's become almost commonplace to see people with college educations working at fast food restaurants. But back then, educated folks had the option of working real jobs, and flipping burgers was left to the type of people who needed to be tutored by disembodied rapping heads.

The video starts off innocuously enough, with Wendy's founder Dave Thomas yammering on about his love of hamburgers. This is, of course, before he died, because otherwise the video would have been even creepier. During Dave's burger soliloquy, we are reminded no less than 4,000 times that Wendy's square patties hang over the edge of the bun. "And people will like that!" Dave insists just a little too emphatically.

(Also, for some reason, poor Dave seems to be having some problems actually enunciating his words, and the phrase "old fashioned hamburgers" sounds like it's being murmured by a mouth stuffed with cholesterol.)

After Dave's introduction, we begin the descent into batshit madness that IS Grill Skill. First, we're lulled into a sense of false security by watching a montage of Wendy's employees showing up for work and hanging up their coats for like 20 minutes. Then, the narrative settles down and introduces us to Bill, who is about to make the incredible evolutionary leap from fries to grill. His manager Mary, who apparently commutes in every morning from the 1940s, takes him into the back office and shows him a video.

So we're watching a video about a guy watching a video. It's all so damned recursive.

But just as you're settling in for a dull treatise on grill procedure, Bill's VCR starts smoking (while strains of Pink Floyd's "Welcome to the Machine" play in the background) and the aforementioned disembodied rapping head sucks him into the video and... words fail me. It's as if a bunch of tiny ninjas get inside your head and start kicking your brain's ass. Only with rap! And then the meat patties have faces and start singing and... OH GOD! WHY?

This is only the first half of the video. I haven't watched the second half yet, but I'm hoping it ends with Bill snapping and going on a killing spree, urged on gleefully by the disembodied rapping head. I imagine he'd slaughter his way through the restaurant with his spatula (or "tool"), saving Mary for last. And then he'd press her face against the sizzling grill, laughing maniacally while screaming, "And people will like that!"

Anyhoo, here's the video. Enjoy.


Jana said...

My uncle used to own a Wendy's franchise back in the 90s. He probably used this video a time or two! I'll have to ask him.

cherryflute said...

Didn't Sean work at Wendy's? I know he worked at BK and quit(the bottle of Ipecac comes in there somewhere...)

Maggie said...

Wow..........again, reinforcement of why I never want to have to work in fast food...

Sylvana said...

My mom presses the crap out of her burgers and they are always DRY!! I would rather have a shrunken juicy burger.