Friday, September 9, 2011

Television doesn't add up to entertainment.

I had some surgery on a foot (no, not to take it out of my mouth) a few weeks ago and, until very recently, I could not walk very much. I still am not supposed to, but cabin fever got to me.

I did get a lot of reading done, and, I must admit, watched a lot of television.

That is, I watched a lot of ads on television.

Thank heaven for On Demand, where one can watch shows starting a day after they appear on cable. The great thing is that on some networks, one can fast-forward through the product ads, which seem to be in the minority, and the ads promoting shows on that network, which seem to be in the majority. In the newspaper business, we call those house ads. I will call them that here.

A significant number of those house ads are promoting the very show one is watching at that time. Seriously.

In doing the television watching, a couple of things present themselves.

The first is that there are some pretty good shows on cable. The Closer, Burn Notice, Suits, Necessary Roughness are all pretty good. Most are better than anything on the networks, where dumbness prevails and lack of talent is rewarded, along with more than a jolt of masochism.

That having been said, the ads on television fall into two categories: dumb but harmless and dumb and not harmless.

First of all, I declare that lawyers should never have been allowed to advertise. That's one of the results of the Federal Communications Commission being gelded over the last decades. These ads are an affront. If you have been hurt by anything, call a lawyer. If you were dumb enough to take anti-depressants while pregnant, call the law firm of Dewey Cheatem and Howe. The big, bad insurance company isn't giving you all you deserve, we will. You owe nothing (except fees which can mount into the hundreds if not thousands of dollars in some cases) unless we win. We will leave no ambulance un-chased. If you died because of bad surgical technique, call us.

The next group that never should have been allowed to advertised is drug companies. If you have arthritis (most people over a certain age do) or pain or bad skin or flat feet or can't get an erection, take this medicine. This medicine can cause side effects such as bleeding, constipation, fainting, or, oh yes, death, but don't worry, call your doctor now. Can't get an erection, take this stuff but call your doctor right away if you suddenly can't see or hear.

Lose weight, gain weight, be a great cook, anything you want, just send in $19.95. But wait! Why get one of the useless thing that won't work. Get another for the same $19.95 just by sending separate postage and handling for around $8. If you order three, then the postage and handling is more than the item. So send it back. Oh, so sorry friends. Postage and handling are not refunded. Either way.

Do the advertisers think we are that stupid. Apparently, they do. And given the longevity of some of these ads, they just might be right.

Have a great weekend and for those in the Tribe, a great Shabbat.

Until next time...

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