I was watching Everybody Loves Raymond in the evening when in the middle of a scene the image froze. I looked up from my leftovers and immediately thought this is going to be thirty minute conversation with the Cox Cable monkeys about this shitty DVR people keep telling me is as good as Tivo and if by that they mean Dane Cook is as good as George Carlin, they’d be right… but they aren’t.
Right as I am about to go for my phone, comedian Bill Engvall walks out across the screen and says, “Hey, sorry to interrupt your show but I wanted to let you know my sitcom starts this Wednesday at 9:00p.”
Then that hillbilly pulls a remote and unpauses my show and exits stage left.
What the hell was that? Are they fucking kidding me? Superstation my ass. What are those TBS assholes trying to pull?
I had grown accustomed to the in-show advertising which never bothered me. You know, the ones where a little tag pops up and tells you:
You’re watching Friends. Next up… King Of Queens.
Fine. Maybe I didn’t know what I was watching or I am one of those insane people who don’t know how to use the Info button on their remote. Maybe you’re my mom and you just have cable with no magic box to give you lots of information and what else will be on tonight and you rely on that insipid TV Guide channel with the talking heads that are always yattering on about Survivor and American Idol.
This small text graphic gave way to full motion people, Kyra Sedgwick glowering at me to confess things that aren’t her business or Tony Shaloub bumbling around the forty six inches of my Sony avoiding the edges like it’s a gas station bathroom in Caracas.
Hey Jim, what’s the difference between that reminder and that dude from Damages telling you when their show is on?
I’ll tell you. The first bit of information is relevant because King Of Queens is coming on next. It’s a heads up. The TV equivalent of a sticky note. It’s like the sign on the interstate that says your exit is in two miles so you might want to stop signing Tom Petty’s American Girl and pay attention.
The other is a gaudy billboard. A shitty LED billboard that is just painful to look at taking up a third of my screen reminding me I can get fireworks in one hundred and fifty miles from Pedro at South of the Border, or in this case, Tyler Perry’s House of Payne.
More and more I notice I’m being sold stuff. I think it’s become worse in the last ten years or so. Natalee and I were at Universal and about a half dozen people stopped us to fill out credit card applications. This is worse than telemarketers because I can hang up on telemarketers (I don’t, but I can and that’s another blog). I expect them to try and get me to by Spiderman drink cups or King King messenger bags because that’s their gig. It’s a theme park… but credit card apps?
I paid seventy bucks to be here. The last thing I am going to do is get another credit card so I can lose more money to stupid interest rates at ShitiBank. Why don’t you just have some dude with an open suitcase on a stand luring me into a Three Card Monty game?
And here is another thing that ought to be a law. I am sure there is some kind of requirement that credits have to be shown or disclaimers read. You should have to do them where a normal human being can understand them otherwise, what’s the point? Reading car disclaimers like an ADHD auctioneer on crack makes no sense. And the genius who figured out they can take the end credits of a show and crush them down to the bottom fifth of the screen and run them ten times faster while they show the opening to the next show on the top four fifths of the screen should be dragged out into the street and throttled.
A few years ago I was watching TV and saw this:
Now I am going to explain to you what you just saw. I am watching a commercial in a commercial. Sure, that happens every time someone sells a Disney Hannah Montana Happy Meal but pay close attention. It’s a D-List superhero getting his taxes done.
Jackson Hewett Rep: So what have you got for us?
Marketing Ass-Snack: There is a new comic book movie coming out with Nicolas Cage called Ghost Rider. We make a commercial with Ghost Rider getting his taxes done by Jackson Hewett.
Jackson Hewett Rep: What’s Ghost Rider?
Marketing Ass-Snack: It’s a comic where a guy sells his soul to Satan and becomes a leather-clad biker with a flaming skull for a head. And what do kids like more than demonic superheroes and doing their taxes?
Jackson Hewett Rep: You’re right. We’re in!
It was probably when Jim Carrey had that abortion they released as Dr Seuss’ How The Grinch Stole Christmas and Universal marketed the ass out of it lunch boxes and action figures and video games for a movie that’s about the non-merchandising of Christmas that I realized people just don’t get it. These are the same people that went out and bought their kids clown fish after Finding Nemo because their kids are too dumb to understand in a film that climaxes with fish trying to escape and aquarium that, “All drains lead to the ocean,” means maybe you should have fish. Then again, these are the same people make sales in Saint Bernards spike after Beethoven because having a fur covered Buick designed for the tundra in my house seems like a great idea.
Then again, maybe we ask for this. People will buy anything. It’s what keeps this douche in whores that he bangs on a large pile of cash and cocaine.
It’s the same logic that think a six inch logo on a Nascar moving at two hundred miles an hour is a good idea. It’s the reason Snuggies exist, people buy stairs for their dogs and anybody knows who Billy Mays is. I knew a guy years ago who’s mother was a QVC addict. One day he turned the television off and as we were leaving I noticed the 1-800 number had burned itself into the screen.
That’s a lot of cosmetic abs for men.