The recession-era woes continue for the American automotive industry as it was announced last week that GM brand Saturn would be phased out of production over the next year. This will no doubt have a negative impact on auto-worker jobs as well as the brand strength of GM going forward. But one group of Saturn owners are especially affected by this and seem to be largely ignored by the mainstream media: TV and film characters.
As GM has struggled to maintain dominance over foreign car manufacturers, they have hit Americans where they live: in TV shows and action movies. GMs product placements are now ubiquitous, leading many TV and film characters to drive Saturns. So today, we mourn the death of this affordable, practical car by asking the question: which characters will be driving a Hyundai from now on?
Using IMCDb.org (the internet movie cars database, for the uninitiated) we have scoured films and television shows for the characters who will most miss their beloved Saturns.
We all remember the Transformers movies. But robotic Chevy Camaros and GMC SUV’s were not the only mechanized stars of that film. In order to escape the clutches of an evil Decepticon, stars Meghan Fox and Shia LeBouf hot wired a Saturn Astra. Its reliable handling and dent-resistant doors were the perfect combination for fighting an intergalactic war for humanity.
You love Scrubs character Dr. Elliot Reed for her angsty, ditzy cuteness. But did you know, she is an avid Saturn enthusiast? Its true! She has had three different Saturns throughout the run of the series, all from the L-Series line. She must have paid off her medical bills and developed a taste for basic, dependable and inexpensive automobiles.
It was the fuel efficiency that drove Homer’s new-found hippy friends to a Saturn. In the episode “D’oh In The Wind,” Homer goes on a search for his middle name, causing to befriend some hippy friends of his mothers. He insists that the hippies take him on a trip around town to “freak out squares.” So, while blasting “Uptown Girl,” the Saturn of Peace and Love wreaks havoc across an unsuspecting Springfield.
In the ridiculously over-the-top spoof Disaster Movie, the princess character — meant as an homage to the film Enchanted — has a run-in with Speed Racer. This live action version of cartoon fame was embodied in a 2007 Saturn Sky, their recently created sports car. This sleek and stylish ride belies the practical nature of Saturn. If only they were given a stay of execution long enough, there could have been more action movies in the brand’s future. Bond in an Ion, or perhaps Segal in an SC2 — the world will never know.
And who could forget Saturn’s Vue, the family SUV that was in so many suburban driveways? One of those driveways was on Wisteria Lane, on the set of ABC’s trashy serial Desperate Housewives. Felicity Huffman’s overworked mother drives one in between fights with her childish husband and slogging through so many neighborhood scandals.
Unfortunately for these and all Saturn owners fictional or otherwise, this young brand is no more. One wonders what affordable low-level car brand will take over for Saturn in America’s imagined realities. Will someone other than Dr. Cox get a Porsche on Scrubs? Will Springfield’s hippy population be forced to drive Subarus? You will just have to stay tuned, but may we suggest the Honda EV-N?