Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Can't spell 'bad' without 'ad'

If you watch TV (I don't), you've probably seen any of a series of public-service ads promoting theTVboss.com (I have). Each one follows this basic template:

A star or ensemble cast from a hit show (or facsimiles thereof, for all I know) sit in some ultra-suburban WASP's nest. A parent sits with them and tells them how much they love their show, all the action, the adventure, the intrigue, etc.

"But--[waving in general direction of kids in next room]--you're too much for the kids, so I'm going to have to let you go." The characters sit there, smiling, as if nothing has just transpired. Cut to Web address and Ad Council logo.

These are the dumbest commercials in existence. A half-hour infomercial against file-sharing written by the most bigoted public-access rednecks and shot as a kinescope could not top this for sheer stupidity.

Who looks at these spots, nods their heads and says, "Gee, that was swell?" I know plenty of parents, many of whom are on the conservative side regarding the children, and very few of them are likely to give up their favorite TV shows just because they popped out babies. My parents watched whatever they wanted; if they chose for me not to see something, they'd tell me to leave the room. And I would, because jumping on the bed was more fun anyway. But, as was more often the case, we watched shows together. And R-rated movies. And played Atari games on the Montgomery-Ward brand TV. And, while the point is debatable, I think I turned out fine.

On the other hand, I've had friends in my life who had parents exactly like those in the commercials. It once led to a very absurd (and public) conversation in a Blockbuster:

Me: "Hey, this looks funny! I've been wanting to see it."
Her: "Um, I'm not sure. It's rated R."
Me: "You're 22 years old."
Her: "It's rated R!"
Me: "Hi, onlookers! My name's Embarrassed!"

But even if you do like these commercials, don't they imply a gleeful acceptance of censorship? I get the same feeling watching these spots as I did at high school orientation every year when the principal announced the latest rollback on student freedom. Or every time the Bush administration announces another idiotic measure that does nothing but give them power and us fewer choices. Who on Earth celebrates this sort of thing? And why should we cater to these people?

The irony of theTVboss.org is that it preaches the message, "You are in control!", yet offers resources on the wonderful world of the V-chip--the one that we all have to live in, because a small fraction of parents lack the intuition and authority to turn off the television.

I hope someone with a voice (like me, except with an audience) lampoons these commercials. They could sit the commercials down in their breakfast nook and tell them that, while they provide some morbid entertainment, they need to go. After all, the person is trying to have kids and those spots are aural castration. Then, repeat the process with whoever in the government came up with this ridiculous idea. And then with the government in general. Yeah!


Cajun Tiger said...

Thanks to Tivo, I barely watch commercials anymore!

Leigh C. said...

That's it!

That comment is the anti-TVBoss right there! TiVo needs to hire you immediately, cajun tiger!

Ian McGibboney said...

Some sponsors hate TiVo because it allows viewers to skip commercials...and yet, commercials can get away with calling for skipping certain shows?

What a double standard! Assuming that makes sense to anyone besides myself...

Leigh C. said...

No, Ian, you're right. It's a total double standard. Hell, there are some commercials out there I'd LOVE to have banned, while the lobotomizing's good...but I think the banning of the ads would serve to raise the collective IQ of our young 'uns.

Cajun Tiger said...

Had to read it twice, but yeah makes sense =)