Anyone who has watched any substantial amount of daytime television has no doubt seen the commercials for Education Connection. The spots, most of them essentially the same (with two outliers, which we’ll get to), feature a series of young women describing their struggles to make a better life for themselves by attending college, and how Education Connection helped them achieve their goals, allegedly. They are also, to be very clear, awful. But, like, great awful, in that they are filled with awkward attempts at rapping and dancing, and are so cheesy that they might actually clog your arteries. If the budget for any of them was more than, say, $150, there’s a director running around with extra cash in his wallet, because that money most certainly did not make it to the screen.
What I’m getting at here is that I love them. I love them all. So much. And so, in honor of a new one gracing our televisions this fall, let’s go ahead and rank the six commercials from worst to best.
6. Woman in Her Room (Potential Cult Situation)
Work with me here. This woman is:
- Impossibly corny when it comes to rapping and “cool” gestures
- Apparently sheltered enough to assume she should attempt these things anyway
- Surrounded by a strange, diverse group of impossibly happy people, some of whom are hiding in her shower, while others are stationed outside her window
- Encouraged to attend college “online,” from home, rather than leave
Working theory: She has been brainwashed into joining a cult. This is an Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt situation. We must save her.
5. Woman Who Needs to Dream Much Bigger
This is the newest commercial in the series, and it is hilarious. Yes, of course, note the rapping (always note the rapping), but especially note the part at 0:28 where she says, “They’ll reveal your perfect match. Imagine what you could be,” and then she ducks behind a column and emerges from the other side in a security-guard uniform. A security-guard uniform! That’s what you conjured up for “imagine what you could be”?! You could have picked anything! Good Lord. You don’t even need to go to college to be a security guard!
Honestly, this might, quietly, subversively, be the most damning indictment of our economy I’ve ever seen. That, or this poor woman needs to be on massive doses of antidepressants. Possibly both. We are now two for two on people who need saving.
4. Shannen Doherty?
What, pray tell, in the name of Aaron Spelling is Shannen Doherty doing in an Education Connection commercial? I mean, besides trying to convince people that she — again, Shannen Doherty — is taking online classes through the service to get her degree in liberal arts. Because that is something I really want to know. Every other commercial has some fresh-faced unknown skipping around to a beat Rebecca Black rejected, but this one has… Shannen Doherty? I don’t understand.
This is going to haunt me.
3. World’s Worst Waitress
There is a great struggle within me when it comes to this commercial. On one hand, the song in it is somehow both the worst and the most catchy, which means that watching it again for these rankings will implant it squarely inside my brain again after years spent trying to get it out. (“Get conn-ect-ed. For free. At Ed-u-ca-tion Conn-ec-tion.”)
On the other hand, I give her performance of this awful song a solid B+ for effort, and I love the fact that she’s apparently waitressing at a restaurant that only serves ketchup and mustard. No wonder she’s looking for new opportunities. The tips must be terrible.
2. The One With Don Draper’s Mom in Her PJs
This one is notable for a couple reasons. First of all, because it pre-dates the ones with people rapping about needing a better job, and opts instead to push the idea of attending school in your pajamas. There was actually a second of these “College in your PJs” ads made, featuring a young woman lounging in bed, but Education Connection doesn’t have it up on their YouTube page anymore, possibly because it infuriated Sen. Dick Durbin.
But the second and more important reason, for our purposes, at least, is that hey! That’s Don Draper’s mom!
Yup, the star of the original “College in Your PJs” Education Connection commercial is an actress named Kelly Huddleston, who also played Don Draper’s prostitute mother in a flashback during the season three premiere of Mad Men! Perhaps you remember her from this fun little line of dialogue: “You get me in trouble, I’m gonna cut your dick off and boil it in hog fat.” That, despite not being part of a song, is somehow the best rap lyric in this entire post. Maybe ever.
1. Corn Dogs!
I love everything about this commercial. I love that she decides to try Education Connection because her corn dog stand isn’t paying the bills. I love that she’s giving the song somewhere easily in excess of 100 percent, with sassy diva-like shimmies and mic skills, like she listened to “Since U Been Gone” a dozen times for inspiration before hitting the set. And I really, really love that she’s wearing a propeller beanie with a corn dog as the propeller. This is a very good commercial. Number one by a country mile.