Friday, December 23, 2022



Volume #122322-1230                             December 23, 2022


Relentless infomercials, billboards, and watermarks drive us away

As we try to watch broadcast TV, we're forced to suffer the myriad indignities of this failing medium.  It's bad enough that a 1-hour TV show is really only 40 minutes long, but it's made even worse by the seemingly endless parade of infomercials and mind-numbing public service announcements.  Ranging from ambulance-chasing lawyers to a parade of crippled children to dogs in the snow, a range of slippery ad agencies are intent on prying $19 a month from your wallet.

I don't mind being informed of a new product, service, or sale that can help to benefit my life.  In fact, a good TV ad can be informative as well as entertaining.  I also like to know which stores are going to be closed on Sundays.  That's commercial television at it was, at least it was until now.

Now, those 'commercial-filled' 21 minutes of every hour consist almost entirely of infomercials.  These infomercials are those 2–5-minute invasions of your privacy that run on and on and on.  Yes, and on!  Hell, when I see a little girl with a leg missing or a little boy with no arms, jump out at me on the TV, I leave the room.  I could just change channels, but these ads-in-bad-taste are probably showing on the other channels as well.  My only remedy is to leave the room for about 3 minutes and 50 seconds [I don't' want to miss any of the 40 minutes I tuned in to see].

5-minute 'bathroom breaks', and then some!

Just yesterday I heard a handicapped little girl begin singing "I'll be home for Christmas" and I was up and out of the room like a flash.  I took a bathroom break, fixed a sandwich, chatted with my wife, and when I got back to the TV, the same ad was still running!  

What in hell is a 4-minute ad doing in my living room?

Those 4-minute, sometimes 'only' 3-minute, and sometimes [if you're lucky] 'only' 2-minute ads are paid for by legal firms telling you how you can get rich quick by suing people for whatever happens to be the 'lawsuit of the day'.  "Did you drink bad water?  Did you ever use talcum powder?  Did you ever have a hernia mesh implant?  Did you ever feed your baby milk-based formula?"  All of these ads say the same thing, "You may be entitled to substantial compensation!"  'Substantial compensation' means a lot of money!  Most Americans view a lawsuit like winning the lottery, a win that will let them 'get rich quick'.

How about the 4-minute infomercials for one of the children's hospitals?  Yes, some of these go for 4 freaking minutes!  There's a cute little dark-haired kid who has grown up as a patient of one of this hospital and is now living a productive life.  He's still kinda cute in a weird sort of way.  For years I watched as he grew up and grew on a lot of us.  Yes, the hospital tugged at our heart strings and played on our sympathies for as much money as we could give.  Okay, that worked then.

Now there are a couple of fresh faces on this hospital charity's ads, mostly featuring an annoying, scene stealing, and 'not-at-all-cute' little blond kid.  Yes, he's a scene stealer and works hard to upstage anyone and everyone around him whenever the cameras are running.

I suppose his mother told him he's 'cute' one time too many.  This does nothing to endear him to anyone except 'maybe' his mom and dad.  Many find his attitude of self-centricity, hubris, and his unintelligible speech more than they can bear.  So annoying is this little bastard with his 'chipmunk-on-steroids' voice and shameless hubris that I, for one, change the channel on the TV the minute I see this little bastard flash his ugly mug.

I understand that, according to their ad strategy, this hospital chain feels the need for a new pitch-kid since the older boy is in college and making a life for himself.  The folks at the hospital are to be commended for their terrific success with this young man.  But, when looking for a new pitch-kid, did they really have to choose this 'little blond elf'?  C'mon, really?

This is coming back to bite them in the ass!

Possibly feeling a growing resentment among viewers, the hospital has begun grooming yet another 'almost as equally annoying' pitch kid.  This one is a little older and is only slightly less annoying than his elfin blond counterpart.  Unfortunately, this new kid on the block still exudes the hubris and attitude that continue to drive people from watching or giving.  All this kid does is enhance our dexterity with the TV remote control.

Well, let's set aside a horribly transparent ad campaign waged by a children's hospital to evoke sympathy and exert pathos as they parade kids with missing limbs, deformed bodies, and a plethora of other disturbing maladies.  Let's put these shameful efforts aside and take a look at another equally shameless series of infomercials plaguing the silver screen.  I'm talking about animal rescue organizations.  'Rescue' is a funny word, since most of their 'rescued' animals end up being put down.

Almost as if they used the same advertising agency as the children's hospital, these folks parade dog after dog, cat after cat, and any animal in between in distress.  You'll see Pit Bulls [the world's most dangerous breed of dog] shivering in the snow and held on chains large enough to moor a battleship.  These 'animal rescuers' stomp on our sensibilities and tug at our heart strings.

When they're not showing various and sundry large [dangerous] dogs chained to trees in the snow, they give us extreme close-ups of 'road-kill' dogs as they drop a tear.  This shamelessness goes on and on and often to the tune of a hymn or sad song.  No effort is spared in playing on our sympathies in an effort to pry as much money from our wallets as they can.

Let's sum up this advertising Armageddon by saying that's it's disgraceful at best.

Moving right along, how about watermarks and billboards?  I'm watching a police detective show where a bomb making felon is doing something with his hands on the desk.  I really can't tell what it is he's doing because a 'video billboard' has risen from beneath the screen to hide his hands and important details pertaining to the plot.  This is how the TV network tells you what will be on their station two days later at 7 Eastern, 6 Central times.

Buy a TV Guide and learn how to read!

Again, and again these 'moving billboards' get in the way and annoy the holy hell out of everyone watching.  There are those of us who struggle to not put a brick through the TV screen because of an unholy 5-minute commercial break!  Now, as if these 5-10 second billboards weren't enough, there's that damned watermark in the lower corner of the screen.  And it never goes away!

Where's my brick?

Unlike a 5-10 second billboard, these damned things are stuck on the screen 'forever'!  I mean, forever ... until I go to the web and watch something commercial free and without a billboard or a watermark!

Broadcast TV is fast cutting its own throat with these insanely stupid practices which only drive people away from 'free' television and into the world of cable and internet.  Putting up a TV antenna and cutting your cable is a recipe for madness.  You really don't want to become 'hooked' on broadcast television as a source of information or entertainment.  You may save a few dollars a month, but what is money where your sanity is concerned?

As for me and my house, we will surf the web!

I'm Max, and that's the way I see it!

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