I'm guessing you've seen the now older Chevy Silverado's "Man Step" and the cruelty involved, especially toward a guy who has that much trouble on a ladder. Here it is in case you haven't:
Now here's something you may not have seen. Watch the first 35 seconds to see Howie react very differently to truck bed assistance:
The inconsistency from "Man Step" to "EZ Lift Tailgate" looks a lot like what I saw in the line-up of this year's Super Bowl commercials. Both contained a hodgepodge commentary on masculinity. As I wrote in the comments of Dove Men+Care and Fight Clubs,
You had Tim Tebow promoting life and Dante's Inferno taking life, David Letterman - in my opinion - reconciling with Jay Leno but doing so behind a macho facade of teasing, Men+Care body wash by Dove, men literally without pants and men figuratively "without pants" but who still got to have their manly Dodge Charger....
Are these spots and the ones above aimed at different men, or the two sides of all men? I don't appreciate Howie's bullying but his apparent ambivalence points to an increasingly acceptable hodgepodge. It could be just a marketing thing, or perhaps an indication of a growing masculinity divide.