As if there weren’t already ample proof that the 1990s were a very strange yet earnest time for America, in which many poor choices were made—mostly fashion-related—buffet steakhouse chain Sizzler has upped the ante. This 1991 promotional ad for the franchise is so packed to the gills with iconic American imagery, you’d think it was running for president.
Pitching themselves as the family restaurant, the five-minute video shows kids playing baseball, cowboys, sailors, middle-aged joggers, and for some inexplicable reason, a guy who looks like the Sea Captain from The Simpsons.
Amidst these idyllic snapshots, though, lie some of the most unsettling, dead-eyed smiles and lustful leers destined to haunt your nightmares.
Add to that the ad’s sweeping anthem (“Sizzler is the choice of America!”) and you’ve got an ad so pro-USA that it makes Reagan’s "Morning in America" look like a Marxist rant.
“Sizzler for the ‘90s. Exactly what America wants!” the ad says. Given their dwindling popularity in the 24 years since this ad was produced, it gives us pause to wonder: did Sizzler fail us, or did we fail Sizzler?