In Depth Analysis of the Swisher/Papelbon Norelco Ad


We’ve been bombarded for months now by this Norelco ad starring Nick Swisher and Jonathan Papelbon, so let’s take a way too close look at it.

Nick Swisher speaks into the camera with the soothing douche-mouth of a man who was born to be whored, gutted, and crammed full of corporate sponsorship. They could have ended the ad on any of his lines, as his cadence and pronunciation seem destined to be followed by a quick cut to a product, and then like a small circle that pops up with his face inside so he can shout a catch phrase that 40 soulless writers in a windowless room came up with after 10 months of questioning their profession.

Jonathan Papelbon’s monotone delivery is arid and void of all desire to be heard.  While it seems natural coming from Swisher–he appears to be quite comfortable with the concept of speaking to an audience that has wandered into his bathroom–you get the impression that perhaps Papelbon wasn’t paid for this performance; they just stuck a hidden camera behind his bathroom mirror and he just started muttering to himself, unprovoked.

Nick Swisher is very impressed with this newfound contraption–he can shave in the shower. This seems to be a concept he has never stumbled upon before now, but all right, its only been seven seconds, so let’s give him a chance. 

And then–owp!  Why, this isn’t just one of those run of the mill Nick Swisher-in-the-bathroom commercials after all!  Jonathan Papelbon’s popped in here, and boy does he look increasingly uncomfortable!

Unlike Swisher, Papelbon refuses to give a reason for his chosen technique–he prefers shaving dry with his Norelco Battery-Powered Robot Faceknife, but never provides an explanation.  Immediately, we can see logistical holes in this debate.  Swisher’s opening remarks may have been flawed and flavored with douche, but at least he had some.  Papelbon just presents his opinion and expects you to take it on merit alone.

“Papelbon… I should have known,” Swisher growls, as if he and the Red Sox closer are squaring off on a windswept rooftop at the end of an action movie, while overhead a gunship hovers with its gun trained on both of them and pilot screams “WHICH ONE DO I SHOOT?!?

This bit of context is never explained either.  Did Swisher suspect that Papelbon shaved dry, or did he suspect that he’d show up in his bathroom?  Are they even in the same bathroom?  Logic tells us no, as the background and lighting are dramatically different, but we’ll come back to this point later, if you can believe that.

So anyway, Papelbon allows the Hand of Norelco to crawl up his ass at this point, though again, he does so with a bit less glee than Swisher.  He goes ahead and lists the remarkably bland attributes of the product, and Swisher matches him with a short list of his own.

"Papelbon:  “… for a dry shave with less irritation.”Swisher:  “Less irritation here, too!”"

At this point in the 60-second electric razor commercial, we run into a massive paradox.  Less irritation than what?  Than each other?  How can they both have less than the other?

We barely have time to collect the pieces of our skulls from the floor before Swisher begins throwing out those Nick Swisherisms like his name was Nick Swisher and “Nick Swisherisms” was the name of the things that he said.

First, he insinuates that Papelbon is irritating, and Papelbon responds with a “Let’s just stick to the script” attitude, continuing to compliment the product and apparently ignoring Swisher’s provocation.  But Swisher won’t let it go; he keeps after Papelbon, this time, going after his overall skill as an athlete.

"“…so you’re always perfectly groomed for a blown save.”"

…whoa-ho-ho!  Seems we’re on the verge on the good old fashioned mid-shave bathroom fight!  Mr. Papelbon, your retort?

"“And you can shave in the shower at home in October…”"



Papelbon comes back with a haymaker that seemed kind of painfully ironic when the Red Sox opened 2011 with their worst season ever or something.  But its clear that he’s trying, as he is clearly showing more emotion here than in any other portion of this god forsaken wasteland of personality–what?  He’s… he’s not done?

"“…’cause that’s where you’ll be this post season.”"


We done?  You want to explain your phrasing any further, Jonathan?  No?  Okay.  Cool.

Well, any sort of competence Papelbon’s debating/insult skills seemed to have had in the past four seconds appears to have been a mirage; Swisher recognizes this and immediately changes the subject to something a little more relevant, like, uh…hmm.  Shaving?

At this point, we are given full screen Papelbon, just before he is bested by his rival, who appears to have teleported into his bathroom, thrown a bucket of water in his face, and then fled immediately.

From this point forward, we descend into utter madness.

Swisher is now back in his own bathroom, grinning like an idiot whose just spent the last few moments of his life teleporting naked.  We are then forced to sit through several seconds of awkward silence while Swisher shrugs, emulating the “Ain’t-I-a-stinkah?!” facial expression of a child on a sitcom eight decades ago.

The twist ending reveals Papelbon actually finds Swisher’s wet method of shaving quite appealing, and has many delightful years ahead of him, shaving in the shower and wondering how exactly some male clown prostitute managed to invent a stable form of teleportation for the sole purpose of practical jokes in the bathroom.

Overall, the brunt of the performance is placed on Papelbon’s shoulders, which was clearly the poorer choice of the two.  If anybody was going to carry this horse shit commercial full of logisitical holes and timingless one-liners, it’d be Swisher, but alas he is once again type-cast as the oafish buffoon.