Dolly Parton’s “5 to 9” Super Bowl Commercial Is a Depressing Ode to Side Hustles

Parton reimagined her classic song for a new Squarespace ad

Dolly Parton at We Are Family Foundation
Dolly Parton honored at a We Are Family Foundation event in November 2019.
John Lamparski/Getty Images

Look, let’s start by saying that Dolly Parton is a national treasure who can do no wrong. She’s a country music icon, she’s partially responsible for bringing us the Moderna vaccine, and last year she literally saved the life of a child actor on a movie set. These are all good things! But Parton’s new Super Bowl commercial, which sees her reimagining her classic “9 to 5” as “5 to 9” to celebrate the side hustle, leaves something to be desired.

“5 to 9,” which is directed by Damien Chazelle (best known for directing La La Land), is an ad for the website company Squarespace, and it pays tribute to the fact that many people clock out of their day jobs at 5 p.m. and then clock in to work on their various side hustles, gigs and passion projects (until 9 a.m., apparently).

“Workin’ 5 to 9, you’ve got passion and a vision. ‘Cause it’s hustlin’ time, only way to make a livin’,” Parton sings in the ad. “Gonna change your life. Do something that gives it meaning with a website that is worthy of your dreamin’!”

It’s no doubt meant to be inspiring, but … that’s pretty bleak. Seriously, “it’s hustlin’ time, only way to make a livin’“? That’s an argument that we need to raise the minimum wage, not a feel-good lyric about ambition. We’re all for people pursuing their dreams and working as hard as they want to, but if they’re working 9 to 5 and then 5 to 9, when do they sleep, let alone live life?

“5 to 9” also feels like it flies in the face of the original message of “9 to 5,” which is that we all begrudgingly play this “rich man’s game” and work to live, not vice versa. The problem with glorifying “side hustles” is that it implies that it’s the responsibility of working class people to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and work constantly at multiple jobs in order to get by, rather than suggesting that perhaps companies and employers whose wallets — to paraphrase Parton — we spend our lives putting money in should maybe pay people a living wage.

You can check out the “5 to 9” commercial below.

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