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Adult Swim's allergy relief commercial turns surreal

"Unedited Footage of a Bear" parody video shows the perils of allergy medicine side effects as a horror film. Next time, read the small print.

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You'd have the same expression if you saw yourself running towards you. Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

Late-night infomercials seem so surreal it's difficult to tell what's real and what's another bizarre parody meant to make the viewer question his or her sanity. Enter Adult Swim's 4 a.m. "Infomercials" series. " Too Many Cooks," which poked fun at every '80s and '90s TV sitcom ever made, went viral last month. Adult Swim's follow-up is a short infomercial parody titled "Unedited Footage of a Bear."

While the video starts with what looks like someone's camping footage of a bear in the wild, it's cut off with one of those annoying prescription allergy medicine commercials.

The advert is designed to look like a YouTube pre-roll ad that many of us have conditioned ourselves like lab rats to click the SKIP AD arrow to get to the video we want to watch. But in fact, you can't skip the commercial, as this is the video we were meant to see.

The infomercial depicts a mom enjoying a sneeze-free day with her kids in the park thanks to a fake allergy medicine called "Claridryl." The medicine, which is clearly mocking real allergy medicine Claritin and Benadryl, promises to "Act immediately; lasts indefinitely." "Don't risk another minute," commercial mom states in the video. "Take Claridryl. And take life in your hands."

Those of us who must suffer through extreme allergies of everything from pollen to dust mites know that without taking antihistamines we'd sneeze ourselves out of existence.

Unfortunately, taking allergy medicines mean you have to go about your day while battling a long list of side effects such as dry mouth, drowsiness, dizziness, nausea, vomiting, itching, restlessness, moodiness, blurred vision and confusion.

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Is mom having a psychotic break or relief from allergies? Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

In some cases, people taking various allergy medicines will encounter hallucinations, fast heartbeats, seizures, involuntary quivering, nightmares, ringing in the ears and nervousness. But what if these typical side effects take a turn for the worse? That's exactly what happens in this violent and creepy video from Adult Swim.

As the commercial continues to run, we see the mom in her SUV -- littered with empty boxes of the allergy medicine -- as the voiceover explains all the possible side effects of the wonder drug. But as in "Too Many Cooks," there's something not quite right the longer you continue to watch the video, which runs a little over 10 minutes.

Soon the voiceover fades away and we see the allergy med-addicted mom driving through suburbia only to be literally face to face with, well, herself. A brutal and bloody fight ensues with her zombie-like alter ego leaving her for dead as she steals the family SUV and head home.

Even as the video gets gruesome, the tell-tale signs of an infomercial creep back in, with small fine print as the bottom of the screen warning us of side effects and to "see our ad 'Tables and Chairs' magazine."

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While you're being horrified, remember to read the fine print. Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

Eventually, the critically injured mom crawls home to witness her medicated-self horrifying her children with violent mood swings, manic behavior and screaming. While this may look like a savage commentary on housewives gone mad, the video shows exactly what would happen if allergy commercials truthfully re-enacted all the side effects they quickly list.

Granted, not all allergy inhalers and pills lead to murder and mayhem akin to "The Walking Dead," but the video is fairly accurate with depicting other drug reactions. The mom goes through bouts of dizziness, drowsiness, forgetfulness, restlessness and moodiness. Even time speeds up and slows down as she answers the phone or runs around the living room.

While "Unedited Footage of a Bear" -- created by Baltimore director Ben O'Brien and visual artist Alan Resnick -- is Adult Swim's attempt to entertain viewers, it also feels like a cautionary tale to those of us who go online instead of to a doctor to properly diagnose our colds and allergy problems. We have only ourselves to blame for not reading the fine print on the back of every over-the-counter and prescription medicines we subject our bodies and brains to.