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Deconstructing David Lynch's New TV Spot

by Martha P. Nochimson
Details, October 1997

It's a toss-up as to which is more surprising:That David Lynch makes TV commercials, or that his pitch for Clear Blue Easy – a mininarrative of a woman waiting for the results or her pregnancy test – is so straight foreward.

Of course this yearning for knowledge is familiar to Lynch's fans, as is his use of poetic images to evoke the mystery of a silent woman. This woman's emotions are charted through the plastic expressiveness of her face and the visual alteration of her bathroom. A watch, two cosmetics containers, and drops of water each turn into the phantom, fateful words "yes" and "no".

In a purely Lynchian finish we see the woman's pleasure in the outcome, but never learn the test results. And, while Lynch may mock advertising in his films, he doesn't mock his own commercial work. He told me that when he makes an ad, he apporaches it as a conscious problem solver, whereas when he directs a film, he opens himself to the uncontrolled elements of his imagination. It's the logical contrast between solving a puzzle and a following a vision.

Ultimately, for Clear Blue Easy, Lynch grants us a subtle lesson in the distinctions between stories that elevate the human spirit and one's that merely sell products.

Martha Nochimson is author of The Passion of David Lynch: Wild At Heart in Hollywood, one of the best books on Lynch to date.

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