Dropped like a chalupa

The Taco Bell Chihuahua talks about his sudden, shocking dismissal and considers his showbiz future.

Topics: Advertising,

The Taco Bell Chihuahua sits slumped over a picnic table at a Doggie Diner in this Los Angeles suburb with the misleadingly glamorous name. He’s wearing dark glasses and chain-smoking Dunhills.

“I fucking knew it, man,” he says, stubbing out a barely started cigarette on the tabletop and adding it to a rapidly growing collection under his seat. “Everything’s always ‘Cool, beautiful, man, we love your work,’ but I always knew deep down that I was just a dog to them.”

“Them” is the Taco Bell Corp., which announced this week that it’s dropping the popular pup from its advertising campaign. The change came as part of a corporate shakeup that also saw the fast-food chain’s president, Peter C. Waller, replaced by former Wendy’s executive Emil Brolick.

“You know how I found out about it?” the Chihuahua says, lighting yet another. “I heard it on the radio. These ‘morning zoo’ bozos were joking about it. ‘Yo quiero a new job, ha ha ha.’ Very funny, assholes. I mean, this is my life we’re talking about here, and I have to hear it from these jerks on the radio.”

The Chihuahua speaks softly, and his streetwise accent isn’t as pronounced as it is on TV. Though obviously fit in that gym-buffed, Southern California way, and just as cute in person as he is on the tube, he looks like he’s been up for two days.

He shot to stardom two years ago with the success of his Taco Bell ads, which featured his trademark slogan, “Yo quiero Taco Bell.” The adorable pooch was seemingly everywhere, with plush Chihuahua toys selling by the millions at Taco Bell stores. It was quite a rise for the former stray who grew up on the hard streets of Pacoima, a dozen miles up the Golden State Freeway — and a whole world away — from the bright lights of Hollywood.

As the Chihuahua talks about that initial flash of success — the critically acclaimed “Godzilla” tie-in spot with its “Heeeeere, lizard lizard lizard” line — and the minor drug and legal problems that followed, a young couple driving past in a small pickup honks and hollers, “Wooo! Drop the chalupa!”

“Hey, drop this on your mother’s ugly ass!” the Chihuahua yells, then immediately buries his face in his paws. “Jesus, what am I doing? They probably don’t even know yet. I’m just trying to deal, you know?”



The Chihuahua says he’d been planning to stay with the Taco Bell commercials for at least another year or so, then try to move into feature films. “I get scripts all the time,” he says, “but it’s all ‘Ace Ventura’ wannabe crap, or some kind of boy and his dog bullshit. I don’t want to do that stuff, man. I want to do real stories, about real dogs and real people, you know? Stories about dogs like me, or the dogs I grew up with in the Valley. But nobody’s doing that stuff.

“I’ve been thinking about writing something myself, but I wasn’t expecting to have to think about all this for a year or so. Now I have to make some money. Everybody thinks I’m rich because I’m on TV all the time, but it doesn’t really work that way. The money was just starting to come in for real,” he says, then stops short, leaving unstated an accusation that this was the real reason behind his sudden firing.

“Writing’s never been easy for me,” he says, gazing at the hills. “Just the typing part is really hard for a dog.”

It’s clear the Chihuahua is trying to focus on the future, to fight the bitterness he’s feeling toward Taco Bell, but it keeps seeping back into the conversation. “You know that ‘I gotta get a bigger box’ line in the Godzilla spot? I ad-libbed that. Fuckin’ made the spot. No thank you, no little bonus, not even a doggie bag,” he says, his voice trailing off. He sits staring at the passing cars, pulling on his cigarette. The faintest little dog whine can be heard above the traffic noise.

“I’ve been going to this yoga guy,” he says, finally, as he hops down from the bench to leave. “It’s really helped me stay calm through all of this.”

“Still,” he says with a wink, “it’s really hard to resist talking about how ironic it is that Taco Bell’s been using a dog in its commercials, if you know what I mean.”

And with that he trots off down the sidewalk, toward home, toward the uncertain future that always awaits icons of popular culture.

DO NOT USE. use king kaufman byline and bio.

More Related Stories

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 14
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Pilot"

    One of our first exposures to uncomfortable “Girls” sex comes early, in the pilot episode, when Hannah and Adam “get feisty” (a phrase Hannah hates) on the couch. The pair is about to go at it doggy-style when Adam nearly inserts his penis in “the wrong hole,” and after Hannah corrects him, she awkwardly explains her lack of desire to have anal sex in too many words. “Hey, let’s play the quiet game,” Adam says, thrusting. And so the romance begins.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Elijah, "It's About Time"

    In an act of “betrayal” that messes up each of their relationships with Hannah, Marnie and Elijah open Season 2 with some more couch sex, which is almost unbearable to watch. Elijah, who is trying to explore the “hetero side” of his bisexuality, can’t maintain his erection, and the entire affair ends in very uncomfortable silence.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Charlie, "Vagina Panic"

    Poor Charlie. While he and Marnie have their fair share of uncomfortable sex over the course of their relationship, one of the saddest moments (aside from Marnie breaking up with him during intercourse) is when Marnie encourages him to penetrate her from behind so she doesn’t have to look at him. “This feels so good,” Charlie says. “We have to go slow.” Poor sucker.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and camp friend Matt, "Hannah's Diary"

    We’d be remiss not to mention Shoshanna’s effort to lose her virginity to an old camp friend, who tells her how “weird” it is that he “loves to eat pussy” moments before she admits she’s never “done it” before. At least it paves the way for the uncomfortable sex we later get to watch her have with Ray?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Hard Being Easy"

    On the heels of trying (unsuccessfully) to determine the status of her early relationship with Adam, Hannah walks by her future boyfriend’s bedroom to find him masturbating alone, in one of the strangest scenes of the first season. As Adam jerks off and refuses to let Hannah participate beyond telling him how much she likes watching, we see some serious (and odd) character development ... which ends with Hannah taking a hundred-dollar bill from Adam’s wallet, for cab fare and pizza (as well as her services).

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Booth Jonathan, "Bad Friend"

    Oh, Booth Jonathan -- the little man who “knows how to do things.” After he turns Marnie on enough to make her masturbate in the bathroom at the gallery where she works, Booth finally seals the deal in a mortifying and nearly painful to watch sex scene that tells us pretty much everything we need to know about how much Marnie is willing to fake it.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Tad and Loreen, "The Return"

    The only sex scene in the series not to feature one of the main characters, Hannah’s parents’ showertime anniversary celebration is easily one of the most cringe-worthy moments of the show’s first season. Even Hannah’s mother, Loreen, observes how embarrassing the situation is, which ends with her husband, Tad, slipping out of the shower and falling naked and unconscious on the bathroom floor.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and the pharmacist, "The Return"

    Tad and Loreen aren’t the only ones to get some during Hannah’s first season trip home to Michigan. The show’s protagonist finds herself in bed with a former high school classmate, who doesn’t exactly enjoy it when Hannah puts one of her fingers near his anus. “I’m tight like a baby, right?” Hannah asks at one point. Time to press pause.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Role-Play"

    While it’s not quite a full-on, all-out sex scene, Hannah and Adam’s attempt at role play in Season 3 is certainly an intimate encounter to behold (or not). Hannah dons a blond wig and gets a little too into her role, giving a melodramatic performance that ends with a passerby punching Adam in the face. So there’s that.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Shoshanna and Ray, "Together"

    As Shoshanna and Ray near the end of their relationship, we can see their sexual chemistry getting worse and worse. It’s no more evident than when Ray is penetrating a clothed and visibly horrified Shoshanna from behind, who ends the encounter by asking if her partner will just “get out of me.”

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Frank, "Video Games"

    Hannah, Jessa’s 19-year-old stepbrother, a graveyard and too much chatting. Need we say more about how uncomfortable this sex is to watch?

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Marnie and Desi, "Iowa"

    Who gets her butt motorboated? Is this a real thing? Aside from the questionable logistics and reality of Marnie and Desi’s analingus scene, there’s also the awkward moment when Marnie confuses her partner’s declaration of love for licking her butthole with love for her. Oh, Marnie.

    13 of "Girls'" most cringeworthy sex scenes

    Hannah and Adam, "Vagina Panic"

    There is too much in this scene to dissect: fantasies of an 11-year-old girl with a Cabbage Patch lunchbox, excessive references to that little girl as a “slut” and Adam ripping off a condom to ejaculate on Hannah’s chest. No wonder it ends with Hannah saying she almost came.

  • Recent Slide Shows

Comments

0 Comments

Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>