The Golden Globes nominations were announced this morning, and the biggest of all the snubs was the egregious lack of noms for the rapidly expanding Peloton Wife Cinematic Universe, which has quickly become the defining film experience of our time. You know how Watchmen, one of the very best series of the year, remixes and builds upon the world of the comic book of the same name, using familiar faces in new scenarios and adding layers of meaning that connect with our contemporary reality? Well, the same thing is happening with the woman from a commercial for a Peloton exercise bike. What a time to be alive and considering a new personal fitness routine!
For the sake of those who aren’t familiar with Peloton Wife (and for future historians who will surely be citing this article in a documentary directed by Hologram Ken Burns), I will start at the beginning. First, there was The Wife. (Well, not The Wife of the film The Wife. That’s Glenn Close. A new Wife has emerged!) Just before Thanksgiving, Peloton released its holiday ad for which the core concepts seemed to be “A hostage situation?” and “People like Black Mirror, right?”
In the 30-second spot, The Wife (played by Monica Ruiz), comes downstairs on a holiday morning to find that The Husband has given her a Peloton bike. She is delighted! Some have taken issue with the coldness of being given an exercise bike by one’s spouse. I just want to go on record for anyone who is reading this that is married to me: I would love to receive a Peloton bike as a gift (despite what happens next in the commercial).
The Wife then embarks on a year of torture, cleverly disguised as exercise, which she films and then screens for her husband in a truly deranged act of desperation.
The commercial is shot with the sterile, white and gray palate of most Black Mirror episodes, especially the Christmas episode starring Jon Hamm, so things that are meant as innocuous—waking up while its still dark outside to ride a bike; smiling widely while more tired than you have ever been—read as sinister.
The response online was swift and decisive, with people across the internet responding “Wow, WTF!” For his part, Peloton Husband (Sean Hunter) worried that going viral as a man trapping his wife in a high-tech exercise dungeon might not bode well for his career. “I currently sit here hoping that I’ll be able to continue auditioning for commercials without any taint, and that if my students happen to find the commercial and recognize me, they won’t think about me any different than they already know me,” he said, clearly spiraling like the fictitious Wife. But he also changed his Instagram handle to @PelotonHusband and posted a lot of gentle thirst traps, so…
While the Peloton Husband was pivoting to Peloton Snack, the Peloton Wife was jumping to Peloton Sequel. In a stroke of cinematic genius that will reverberate around the industry for decades, Ryan Reynolds’ Aviation gin snapped up Ruiz and placed her at the center of an ad in which a haunted-looking woman is taken out by two friends (presumably after having to fight a high-tech bike in hand-to-hand combat).
As Peloton Friend #1 and Peloton Friend #2, the Aviation commercial features award-worthy subtle performances from Mercedes Scelba-Sorte from America’s Next Top Model and Mandell Maughan from Bajillion Dollar Properties. I want each of them to get a three-picture spinoff immediately. Scelba-Sorte’s eyebrow work! Maughn’s comic grimace! Move over, Baby Yoda, the next viral stars are here.
In fact, I want all of my content to be Peloton World-related from now on. First of all I want, Peloton Wife to move to Monterey, California and become friends with Nicole Kidman and Renata Klein. What will they do when Peloton Husband comes to town and wants to reconcile just in time for the school’s biggest fundraiser of the year, a lavish party with an inexplicable Some Like It Hot theme? Meanwhile, across town, Madeline is directing Slave Play at the community theater. Big Little Pelotons. Instant hit.
I want a series of Hallmark movies starring Peloton Friend #1 called It’s Beginning to Look a Lot Like Peloton. We meet her wild and wacky extended family (Sheryl Lee Ralph and Stephen Root play Peloton Parents), and then watch her start her own Christmas tree farm business, save her small town’s historic gazebo, and eventually go into the gin business (corporate synergy!). Peloton Wife and Peloton Friend #2 get big subplots; Tyra Banks is featured in two movies as Peloton Friend’s Friend and Former Boss.
I desperately need a “comically starting over”-style series about Peloton Friend #2, whom I’ve decided is an aspiring life coach and retired driver’s ed instructor. Maybe it comes from Dan Levy co-creator of Schitt’s Creek, maybe Cousin Greg from Succession co-stars as her first client. Let’s workshop it.
What’s the Peloton Kid’s deal? Maybe we get a series of toy unboxing videos featuring her, a Disney channel music movie, and then her plot-line is fast-forwarded and rebooted with America Ferrara playing her as an adult in a gritty drama about a SoulCycle instructor plagued by strange dreams she can’t interpret and a secret from her past she can’t unlock.
Should we have Greta Gerwig and Noah Bambauch co-direct a Marriage Story/Ladybird mash-up featuring the Pelotons’ disintegrating relationship and their daughter’s coming of age? Sure!
What about a comic whodunit featuring the Pelotons, their friends, and Chris Evans in a sweater. Call it Pelotons Out.
Do the Pelotons have neighbors? I want to see them. Peloton pets? Animated series. Peloton Extreme Home Makeover? Sure! Was Peloton Husband in his high school musical? Put them all on the new series Encore about casts of high school musicals that reunite. Speaking of musicals, when are we getting our first all-Peloton stage song-and-dance spectacular. Audra McDonald and Donna Murphy star as Peloton Friends #1 and #2. Or, in the spirit of Starlight Express they star as actual Pelotons.
Speaking of Audra McDonald, have we thought about adding Peloton Wife to The Good Wife Cinematic Universe? Maybe a huge crossover episode of The Good Fight in which Diane tries to figure out how to use a Peloton while Luca and Marissa investigate a case that hinges on videos captured by the bike’s internal cameras.
And finally, I can’t wait to see what happens next season on Watchmen when Angela Abar receives a mysterious gift from Lady Trieu. She opens it, revealing—YES! A PELOTON!—and on the screen… well, you’ll have to tune in to find out.
It’s been a great year for entertainment and it will only get better next year when every single film, television show, song, podcast, TikTok, and interspace broadcast in some way ties into the origin story of one woman receiving a bike for Christmas as a gift and the chaos that ensured thereafter.