Part of my day job requires me to keep up on what’s going on in the world of advertising. To do so, I trawl though the vastness of blogs and websites dedicated to the industry. That’s where I found this Public Service Announcement starring Casper Van Dien.

When I first watched this gem, my exact thoughts were: “Wow, Casper Van Dean’s still around. Who knew?” followed immediately by “Wait…why is he in character from Starship Troopers?” If you’re unfamiliar with the 1997 film—it’s a rather infamous adaptation of the classic Robert Henlien novel of the same name. Directed by Paul Verhoeven (a filmmaker whose credits include RoboCop, Basic Instinct, and Showgirls), the movie is best known for its visual effects and the depiction of a co-ed group shower scene (with limited nudity but definite boobage)–not anything important like plot or acting.

As great a “found artifact” of pop-culture schadenfreude that this is, it begs the question: “What the hell?” Yes, why the hell is an actor doing a PSA referencing a role he portrayed almost twelve years ago? With a little research I found that not only had the video been uploaded to YouTube just a couple weeks ago, but there was a second PSA as well.

Did you catch that? Now he’s the star of Starship Troopers: Marauder, a “sequel” in which Van Dien reprises the role of Rico that was released straight to DVD this summer. If you watch the trailer, he doesn’t seem to be enjoying the fact that he’s starring in it. I can’t blame Van Dien for making the movie. The recession forced me to make movies that I’m not exactly proud of either.

The whole concept of Public Service Announcements seems bizarre to me. Why do we need celebrities telling us our morality? Is there honestly someone out there who sees these PSA’s with the cathartic realization “Wait, my neighbor beats his kids…Johnny Rico, from Starship Troopers, is right. I’ve should say something.” Starring in a TV show or a movie doesn’t give someone the authority to tell us which causes and charities to support. I get the concept of using their fame to bring attention to a cause, but it’s the same logic that says that the photo of Michael Phelps makes me want to smoke pot…okay it does, but that’s true with seeing anyone smoke a bong. It also puts people who we know so often embrace the facets of ego and hedonism into the position of being holier than thou hypocrites. Just look at Corry Feldman (not exactly a bastion of sobriety) doing an anti-drug commercial in the 1980’s…come on YouTube, I know the video is out there somewhere can you please find it and upload it already?

It’s pretty hard not to catch the duel message of “help kids being abused” and “See the Starship Trooper movies, staring Casper Van Dien.”  He could of easily just sat in a chair, wearing a collared shirt, maybe even a tie, and said something like “Hi, I’m Casper Van Dien. In my various movie roles, I’ve fought everything from vampires [twice] to space bugs, but I need your help in fighting child abuse [insert the rest of the spiel].” But he didn’t. No, instead he reminded people of his most successful movie, as well as his most recent while “speaking out” against child abuse. So while the videos are hysterical, which was probably not intended, they pretty much prove that Casper Van Dien is a douche.