I'm not a fan of anything that shows kids being given gadgets just to keep them quiet. So, when I first started watching Apple's latest holiday ad, The Surprise, I was genuinely not fond of the direction it was going. But then, something flipped.
Bit by bit, you see the family isn't being dysfunctional. They're literally not functional. Something has happened that has all the adults reeling. At their limits. Unable to cope. Even with each other. And that sucks for the kids.But, as they're being silenced with gadgets, they don't just join in the dysfunction. They push back against it. Using the very gadget they were given.
No spoilers, but the end result is heart-achingly terrific.
Sure, it's an ad. It's scripted. It's not real and should never be taken as such. But that doesn't mean it can't reach out and punch you in your feels gut. And this totally does.
I still really dislike the parent's misuse of technology as wall in the beginning, but I straight-up love the children's use of technology as an instrument of healing at the end.
Would that it can always be so.
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Rene Ritchie is one of the most respected Apple analysts in the business, reaching a combined audience of over 40 million readers a month. His YouTube channel, Vector, has over 90 thousand subscribers and 14 million views and his podcasts, including Debug, have been downloaded over 20 million times. He also regularly co-hosts MacBreak Weekly for the TWiT network and co-hosted CES Live! and Talk Mobile. Based in Montreal, Rene is a former director of product marketing, web developer, and graphic designer. He's authored several books and appeared on numerous television and radio segments to discuss Apple and the technology industry. When not working, he likes to cook, grapple, and spend time with his friends and family.