Some months ago I started spasming over what was a series of condescending and creepy ads put out by TD Ameritrade and their “green room”, which, in many ads, appears to be little more than a “beaver trap” for Mr. Beardy and the two cockroaches presumably living in his face rug. So I created a Mr. Beardy dartboard to relieve some of my tension and save the life of my wibbly-wobbly television set. Who knew this off-the-cuff rant and mental slip would turn into–by far–the most popular post I have ever written?
It turns out, people are really fascinated by Mr. Beardy. Some of the very colorful comments received on the aforementioned post have ranged from blinding rage to romantic enchantment (I presume, mostly, because of the proposed hypnotic qualities of the beard). Oh, and the occasional hostility toward people who are hostile to Mr. Beardy. Eh.
So who is he? Allow me to introduce the man who has people and cockroaches alike so worked up: The actor portraying the TD Ameritrade financial therapizer is Jim Conroy. He is mostly known for his animated voiceover work, but has also been spotted in a few other TV ads.
Jim Conroy appears as “Frank” in an AT&T spot
Jim Conroy sniffs Tide detergent in an ad
The page of Jim’s career that has blown my mind the most, though, is his role as…..Ruff Ruffman!
Parents with kids age 8-13 probably know who I’m talking about. From 2006 to 2010, there was a charming animated PBS show called FETCH! With Ruff Ruffman. Watch a bit here for the craziness of recognizing our TD Ameritrade guy’s voice!
Crazy. I unknowingly have listened to our cockroach-bearded guy for hours upon hours. Who knew?
This is an important lesson, though for the TD Ameritrade commercial viewers out there: Jim Conroy is an actor. He is not a financial advisor. His “trustworthiness” is not a reflection on the merits of TD Ameritrade (only their advertising department). And it turns out, I have a fair amount of respect for Jim Conroy and his previous work, as Ruff Ruffman was a pretty great character who brought my daughter a lot of happiness.
However, we all still have full permission to hate the TD Ameritrade financial therapizer character. Or find him sexy. Whatever your bag. I stand by my observations that the “green room” Mr. Beardy lures people to is nothing more than a serial killer’s den, and that the women are probably stuffed in a cellar that can be accessed by a trapdoor under the pool table. Probably with the help of “Bryan”, who is willing to do anything Mr. Beardy says, as long as he gets to stroke the beard and is never called “Brian” with an “I”.
More to the point, though, it still remains true, TD Ameritrade writers/dickfaces, that ladies don’t need your validation of how busy we are, or to have lazy analogies about golf swings dumped in front of us (although, I think our Mr. Beardy character may have gone a little rogue on that one just to get Golf Lady naked and tied up). The point is, these ads are still condescending and creepy. But the actor Jim Conroy might just be alright. Or not. Only his cockroaches truly know.
Since posting this, Jim Conroy has been kind enough to comment on this post. As you can read below, he is very gracious and has a much-appreciated sense of humor. I thought it was worth reiterating: I like the actor, Jim Conroy, and actually really, really admire some of his work. Ruff Ruffman, man. Ruff Ruffman. It’s only the character of the financial therapizer and sportsman (and suspected serial killer) who is awful. And this country’s weird pro-beard fetish we have going on. What’s up with that? Anyway, I’ve even found that the TD Ameritrade ads are getting more reasonable and tolerable. Maybe they hired some women?
Eh, or maybe I’m just losing my cranky edge and my heart is softening like gooey cream cheese. I actually waved hello at a neighbor today. Something’s off here. Maybe I need more vitamins. Or wine. Or vitamin-fortified wine and a fake beard to learn what it’s like.
In any event, Jim Conroy has my sincere thanks for being such a good sport and for being such a class act. Unlike myself. Until I get that fake beard and vita-wine going, I mean. Then I’ll be almost as classy as he is. But not quite.