No, I Don't Want to Hear About Your Bent Penis While Dining

By Josh Bloom — Nov 20, 2021
TV commercials are vile and profoundly irritating. Perhaps none is more so than the ad for Xiaflex – a drug that can straighten your bent penis. I cannot possibly describe how much I want to throw a brick through the TV when that idiotic bent carrot shows up at dinnertime. That, plus other rants! Proudly presented in poor taste.
Has it really come to this? Image: YouTube

Even though television commercials for prescription drugs run the gamut from repulsive to loathsome, by now we are mostly inured to the endless list of hurl-worthy side effects (1). But we all have our limits. For me, it's the bent carrot.

Even though my first career was in pharmaceutical research and I'm unabashedly pro-pharma when they deserve it (2), I hate these ads on the atomic level. They are endless, cloying, and make the companies look like whores. And they also run non-stop right around dinnertime. No – I do not want to hear about your bent penis when I'm eating a hot dog. Nor do I want to hear about the side effects of Xiaflex, the new drug that will straighten that bad boy out. 

Now, let's take a break for a couple of rants.

Rant #1: Can anyone explain this? No matter what the disease or how serious it is, or how many god-awful side effects the annoying drug has, have you noticed that virtually EVERY ad ends with a bunch of happy people dancing. Who is writing these ads? The #####ing Rockettes? 

Original image: Wikimedia

Rant #2: "Don't take Qovxxyzyz (3) if you're allergic to it." Well, that's scintillating advice. They're advertising a new drug – one that you've never taken before – and telling you not to take it if you're ###### allergic to it?? That's brilliant – right up with "don't let the elevator door slam closed on your testicles. Again." 

Here are a couple of excerpts from the Xiaflex commercial...

"Men, it looks different from guy to guy."

(Who knew?? I always thought that Shaq and I were indistinguishable.)

"A bend in your erection might be Peyronie's Disease."

(The ladies at Mrs. Peyronie's mahjong game no doubt find this endlessly amusing. Behind her back. It is not clear whether her back is bent as well.) 

Subtle Imagery from the Xiaflex ad. Source: YouTube

In case you haven't seen this ad enough times, it's on YouTube, where it somehow got more than 18,000 views, 61 thumbs up and only 10 thumbs down. Make that 11. I just voted. Here is my interpretation of some of the most poignant scenes. 

Beatrice and Louis have a suboptimal love life. It's a good thing Xiafex commercials have been battering them for months, convincing Louis to get four needles stuck in his schmecklegruber. But it worked! See?

Louis can now be the "straight man" in a comedy duo and Beatrice no longer dreads sex with her husband because of the pain, just for the usual reasons. Images: YouTube, Wikimedia

OK, now you know more than you want about Peyonie's Disease. Aren't you curious whether there are other, perhaps worse, versions of it? Well, I sure was and I struck gold. 

Speckled Gourd Syndrome (SGS)

Although phytologically distinct, the symptomatology of Speckled Gourd Syndrome mimics that of PD, only more profoundly. This can create personal hygiene issues. Fortunately, with simple coping techniques most SGS patients can lead a fairly normal life.

Frank, a victim of SGS, found a solution on Amazon. Free overnight shipping. Gourd not included. (Left) A Speckled Gourd. (Right) Frank does the best he can. Images: Amazon, Amazon, Pxhere

But it can be worse: Serpent of Sicily Syndrome (SSS). 

Although Beatrice, Louis, and Frank may suffer from discomfort and low self esteem, Mervyn, who is cursed with Serpent of Sicily Syndrome, can find himself in perilous situations. As if public urinals aren't bad enough...

Mervyn (center) is an unfortunate victim of SSS, which according to the Environmental Working Group, is probably caused by eating genetically modified Pez. Images: Rare, YouTube

But that does not excuse Mervyn's carelessness. Every man should know that choosing the middle urinal is a faux pas. (So much so that I've even wasted hours written about it! See "Good Minds Go To Waste: The Math Of Urinal Selection.") Mervyn should have known better and now finds himself sandwiched between two fellow urinators who are packing. There will be consequences. 

Or maybe he'll get lucky and they'll simply tell him to piss off. Stay tuned.


(1) The FDA requires that these side effects, often rare, be mentioned.

(2) And I have dropped the hammer on Merck, Astra Zeneca, Sanofi, J&J... others for sleazy marketing practices.

(3) Marketing geniuses must have decided that drug names that contain the letters Z,X, and Q sound badass. Perhaps this is why many new drugs sound alike.


Josh Bloom

Director of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science

Dr. Josh Bloom, the Director of Chemical and Pharmaceutical Science, comes from the world of drug discovery, where he did research for more than 20 years. He holds a Ph.D. in chemistry.

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