A few months ago, the action movie star Jean-Claude Van Damme appeared in a commercial for Volvo tractor trailers. He performed a split across 2 trucks being driven backwards. The video was an internet sensation, which is something you might not normally say about tractor trailer commercials.
He's also appeared in a lot of other commercials lately, including at least one more while performing a split. Wolf Gnards, a scholar of popular culture, argues that Mr. Van Damme really should cut back on his commercials. He's wearing out his brand. With each successive split, he's reaching across smaller audiences. Mr. Gnards refers to the process as the 5 Stages of Van Dammepression. These are:
1. I Remember Jean-Claude Van Damme, he was awesome in Bloodsport
2. Good for him. JCVD was pretty good, too.
3. Yup, there he is… again. Doing a split… again. I still like Time Cop
4. What’s wrong with his face!?
5. If I see one more goddamn split, I’m going to split someone’s skull!
It's a problem for many actors who suddenly revive their popular appeal. Betty White is an example:
It’s the same as Betty White… this is where you gasp and say, ”Not our Betty White!” But remember the unadulterated joy of that first Berry White Snicker’s commercial? Now think about each following time that Betty and her octogenarian cohorts blanketed the airwaves with Rascal scooter pranks; that joy lessened just a bit. The only difference between White and Van Damme is that White has a higher half-life (meaning I get less angry each time I see her) and Van Damme abuses his appearances far more often.
Each time I see Jean-Claude Van Damme now, I want to see Jean-Claude Van Damme a little less. I fully support his career and his comeback though. I don’t want a Van Dammless existence, I just want to Van Damme less.