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New TV Ad Featuring Chris Farley -- Exploiting the Dead?

If you're a regular television watcher, you have probably seen those DirecTV commercial that feature stars reprising famous movie roles, talking about the benefits of DirecTV while intercutting footage of the actual movie. The newest ad is raising concerns about exploitation of the dead.

Over the years, Christie Brinkley jumped back into the pool for her famous scene with Chevy Chase in "Vacation," Sigourney Weaver battled "Aliens" again, and Naomi Watts was reclaimed by "King Kong." This newest commercial features David Spade recreating a scene from "Tommy Boy," in which he co-starred with his best friend, the late Chris Farley.

Watch the commercial here:

The ad is light-hearted and is played for laughs. But some commenters on YouTube called it "distasteful" and a "stupid idea." It's also kind of surprising that Spade would do such a commercial, considering he and Farley were such good friends.

This isn't the first time Farley has appeared in an ad since his death. He was featured on an anti-drug billboard campaign, with his family's permission, a couple of years ago. Presumably, the family gave permission for this as as well.

And it's not the first time DirecTV has used a film featuring a dead actor. When Craig T. Nelson reprised his "Poltergeist" role, his scene included Heather O'Rourke, the child actor who famously said "There's heeeeere," and died at age 12.

Of course, dead celebrities hawking products is nothing new. The most notorious is when Fred Astaire danced with a vacuum cleaner in an ad during the 1997 Super Bowl. Astaire's widow approved the ad, much to the chagrine of Astaire's daughter, who at the time said the "paltry, unconscionable commercials are the antithesis of everything my lovely, gentle father represented."

Nobody ever accused Chris Farley's professional persona of being "lovely" or "gentle," but one wonders how he would feel playing opposite David Spade again from beyond the grave.


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