Final Word

By Jeff Girod

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Posted October 21, 2010 in News

You’re not watching enough TV! That’s according to network executives who, as we speak, are somewhere holed-up in a board room, thinking up innovative ways to force you to watch more commercials—especially that one for the Shake Weight, which is equal parts sweaty exercise workout, soft core porn and open tryouts for The Village People.

Apparently the future of TV is something called “video-on-demand” which sounds super convenient, like a 30-minutes-or-less meat lover’s pizza, until you hear that all commercials will reportedly be un-skippable. That’s right, like a 90-second ad for toe fungus, it just keeps going and going, with an animated creature named Digger the Dematophyte prying under a crusty and inflamed toenail—why does he do that? And you just have to sit there and take it, enduring every excruciating second, until those heartless marketing bastards see fit to give you back your precious episode of Judge Judy or Survivor.

And speaking of Survivor . . . As video-on-demand becomes more widespread, cable and satellite subscribers are planning to eventually eliminate DVRs all together. A recent survey by CBS found that 90 percent of respondents would be willing to sit through commercials if it meant they didn’t have to pay $10 a month for a DVR. Ten dollars a month! Are we really willing to sell our souls so cheaply? I’d pay $20 a month if I never had to see another Geico commercial. Heck, for $50 I’d squash that little Geico Gecko myself. Then again, maybe that’s how you develop toe fungus.

Currently, 40 percent of TV viewers own digital video recorders—which allow them to fast-forward through annoying commercials or pause them when the phone rings, then come back and laugh at the goofy faces of TV actors frozen in place with one eye open and no lower lip—also known as Sarah Jessica Parker’s “resting face”.

I own a DVR and frankly I think it’s the greatest invention since somebody cut the legs off of pants and started calling them “shorts.” Have you ever watched TV commercials? They’re depressing. Every ad assumes you’re fat, bald, unemployed, uninsured, hopelessly in debt or suffering from heartburn, herpes, diarrhea, erectile dysfunction and a yeast infection. (Hey, you’d be depressed, too, if you had both erectile dysfunction and a yeast infection).

What’re worse are the “As Seen on TV” commercials. “Act now,” my ass. I’ve seen finer handmade craftsmanship at a county fair. Of course they’re going to send you a second one at no extra charge. They probably have to get the merchandise out of the warehouse before it catches fire or the rats carry it away. You know why they air “As Seen on TV” commercials

at 2 a.m.? Because nobody else is awake to talk you out of buying your own “Smores Wizard.” Now with six marshmallow forks!

Beer, deodorant, candy bars, car insurance; it’s all just white noise, man. You go to a restaurant and ask for a Coke, and the waiter says, “We don’t have Coke, we have Pepsi”—do you get up and storm out of Chili’s? Of course not. Why? Because most products are exactly the same. We all drink soda. We all have to buy tires every 60,000 miles and we all wipe our asses with toilet paper. (Hopefully a little more frequently than we buy tires and drink soda.) But the point is we’re going to buy the products we’re going to buy and most products are going to do exactly the same things. And it’s why we fast-forward the commercials. We know it. But more importantly, so do the TV network executives. So they invent new ways to force us to watch commercials.

And you know what? I’m fine with it. Because if there’s one thing I believe in, it’s the human capacity for apathy. We’ll find new ways to ignore their commercials and their Geico Geckos and their cartoon embodiments of toe fungus.

And we’ll still watch our TV shows and, sure, occasionally we’ll break down and buy a Smores Wizard. But damn it, smores are delicious. And did I mention it came with its own warming station, plus a revolving base? No extra charge!

Contact Jeff Girod at finalword@ieweekly.com.


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