A woman's place is in her office-kitchen hybrid

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The Independent Culture
Sliced bread used to be big on TV - Wonderloaf and Hovis and their peers spent millions. That was before bread became such a loss-leader in supermarkets that there was no margin for advertising. But now, here's Kingsmill talking about their new Tasty Wholemeal, and it's as if the 1970s had never gone away.

The set-up is classic - two women in a kitchen ("Two Cs in a K", the agency boys used to say). And the humorous device is so ancient: let's just say it practically pre-dates bread advertising. I'm nerving myself up to explain it.

But in a variety of other ways this is absolutely not a traditional set- up. That's because the women in the kitchen actually don't relate to the emotional centre of trad domestic life at all. This kitchen, restyled for 1999 in careful ways, isn't a house kitchen - it's more like an office one. There are no men or children around - and you feel that there won't be.

And the girls - the one like a very early, slimmer, breasty, blonde Victoria Wood in a mauve top; the other flat-chested, slim, boyish and bespectacled in grey-green V-neck and black jeans. These are women of our time at work.It's a joint piece to camera about the wonders of Kingsmill.

They've made it look like they've got in a couple of plates of Pret sandwiches for a working lunch, which is why the utterly whiskery devices of a) an ad within an ad where you see a clapperboard and hear the director talking, and b) the girls getting their lines comically wrong and gurning asides at the camera, look so clunky.

They do modern daytime-presenter things: they fight over the sandwiches, they make ladette noises (urm, urm, urm). They don't look remotely like Kathleen Harrison - or Wendy Craig for that matter.

Less sophisticated men will be asking themselves whether they could possibly be lesbians. More sophisticated audiences will be wondering if the writer just trailed that on purpose. And the rest of the watching world will be wondering why they bothered.

Two little points: 1) this is the first time I've seen the traditional suggestive "bread squeeze" actions in about 20 years, and 2) is it Roland Rivron on the brief voice-over?