Brought to you by our sponsors.

Is it just me or has the whole “crass commercialization” thing reached critical mass?  I’m not averse to making a few bucks here and there – I mean there’s a paid advertisement at the end of this blog post – but can’t we have a little god damned decorum?

Someone get this man a major project.

Team Garrus represent.

As a  freelance copywriter – in other words,  unemployed – I sit at home a lot and watch a lot of television.  Last week I purposely sat down to catch an episode of “Suburgatory,” and before you get up in my grill for having absolutely awful taste in television sitcoms (which is the most redundant argument you can ever make), I tuned in specifically because Brandon Keener had a guest spot and, well, as a card-carrying member of Team Garrus I had to represent.  If anyone asks, yes I also watched the episode of Criminal Minds” he was in.  And yes, he was great in that too, even if he got hit with a shovel.

You can't into grammar either, apostrophe man.

Get this man a shovel.

Oh, don’t look at me like that and grumble about spoilers.  It’s “Criminal Minds.”  Someone gets hit with a shovel every other episode.  What doesn’t happen is that the guy from “Dharma & Greg” doesn’t spend 15 minutes going off how Craftsman shovels are the best shovels to use for braining someone and then burying them in a shallow grave out by the watershed, followed by a commercial break packed with 30-second spots for Craftsman shovels and Ace Hardware stores, where you can easily come down and pick up your Craftsman shovel sold to you personally by John Fucking Madden.

Have we all just given up?

Sucking that corporate teat.

However, this is exactly what happened with Brandon’s episode of “Suburgatory.”  And yes, we’re on a first-name basis, considering his wife Elizabeth Barnes re-Tweeted me that one time.  (Brandon, you knocked it out of the park on both shows, by the way.)  No, there wasn’t a “let’s bury the body” sub-plot in the episode, but at least 70% of the episode was all about how one of the main characters wanted nothing more than to cuddle up with her brand-new Microsoft Surface tablet but kept getting interrupted.  Each bit was, of course, followed by one of those god damned electronica dance video Surface commercials that have been playing solid since Windows 8 launched back in October.  You know the one – it was pretty cool the first eighteen hundred times you saw it but now you just want to hunt down that guy in the commercial that’s covered in a Surface tablet bodysuit and hit him with a shovel.

O thou prophets of our demise.

LIttle. Yellow. Different.

So here I am, just trying to ride out this garbage so I can see Brandon Keener get the prime-time exposure he deserves, and I’m getting more and more disgusted at the whole thing.  Isn’t it enough that a half-hour show is now roughly 20 minutes of poorly written, hackneyed, predictable five-act shenanigans and 10 minutes of obnoxious, insulting commercials?  Why do we have to have commercial creep into our actual television shows?  Is subtlety a dead art?  It felt like that scene from Wayne’s World – the one where they’re making fun of product placement in movies and television – only it’s not a satire any more.

It’s not just shitty network sitcoms that do this now either.  Popular cable television shows are also taking the piss too, as I remember an absolutely awkward episode of “Warehouse 13” last season where I couldn’t tell the difference between the show and a commercial for the newest Toyota Prius, and there was a whole segment dedicated to how mind-blowingly awesome FedEx Office is on a recent episode of “Restaurant: Impossible.”  Can’t we just have shit in the background like we used to in our television shows?  Is this what happens when you let network executives into the writer’s room?

Fuck your shitty television!

Just in case I wasn’t on the terror watch list yet.

Can we call for a moratorium on really intrusive product placement or something?  I mean I know this is the epitome of a First World Problem, but it’s affecting me personally and that’s where I draw the line.  This is our Vietnam, people!  We need to start organizing a march on Burbank before sweeps week next year!

Now go click on the embedded YouTube video ad under this blog post.

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10 thoughts on “Brought to you by our sponsors.

  1. You can thank the advent of DVRs. They know that 99% of the people are fast forwarding through the commercials, so they’re sticking products in the shows. It’s all over the place, sticks out terribly (and usually takes me right out of the show), and is beyond irritating. But they gotta get us somewhere.

  2. Bah, if it wasn’t for the wife and kids, i might not even own a TV. And if it wasn’t for the fact that tripple play is ony like 10 bucks more a month than cable internet and phone by themselves, I would claim cable TV to be too expensive to have anymore and unhook that bitch.

    So basically what I’m saying is, I watch about as much TV as a 9 year old boy eats Brussels sprout and Lima bean sandwiches. What I DO watch is generally geared for 9 or 10 year olds because I have discovery and cartoon network on 99% of the time.

    Honestly, I find those shows to be the most adult on television anyway… When I watch the adult shows they are more simplistic and juvenile than shows like Adventure time (seriously the writer is a genius) or regular show (totally trippy 80s references all over the place).

    Of course it also explains why I still have the wide eyed innocent stare half the time… While I contemplate which of 150 ways I would use to kill you if I suddenly had to because you were a reptilian assassin sent to kill me.

    • Adventure Time has more creativity, better characterization and plot, and is just generally more enjoyable to watch than 99% of the primetime network “dramas” they try to get you to watch.

      I mean, what the actual fuck is garbage like “Grey’s Anatomy” still doing on the air?

      • Dave, I think it has to do with the Pavlovian response that people have to “soap opera” style drama. IT’s why Battlestar Borlactica was something I watched almost every Friday despite finding it to be utterly lacking in the core element of what made the original so awesome (space lazors and exploshuns).

        The same thing that made me watch the last 2 seasons of lost (you know, when Abrams took a shit on the whole thing), even though I was groaning and barely able to give a shit any more.

        They sucker you in with a good episode or two to set the premise, get you hooked on broadly drawn characters that you either identify or hate like ice hates fire, and then drag out cliffhanger after cliffhanger.

        Cheapo dirty psychology tricks!

      • There is a serious lack of explosions and lazors on network television. Then again if you go too far the other way, you get shitfests like Transformers 2: Ebonics Boogaloo, so you really can’t win sometimes.

  3. I fucking hate this as well. In our lineup, the biggest offender is Bones, which has shit like that in EVERY FUCKING EPISODE!!!! Most of it relates to cars, similar to the Prius shit on Warehouse 13, which we also watch and also does this. It’s just such a shameless debasing of the show and its tone that it actually makes me think about not watching the show anymore. We leave the room during commercials for a reason, folks. We fast forward through them for a reason. The reason, is that your writers all suck ass at making commercials entertaining in any way. 99.9% of the time, I look at Cat after watching a commercial and we share a “What the fuck did we just watch? I feel like less of a person after watching it!” look.

    • I remember when Bones did that whole episode revolving around standing on line for “Avatar” when it came out a few years ago. I was like What the fuck is going on here before realizing the creepy goth guy on Bones had a supporting role in Avatar. I think that made it even worse.

  4. Yeah, I don’t mind em but they often have too many of them. The most effective ones I find are when I watch something “on demand” and they have only like 1 minute or tops 2 of commercials. It’s FAR less invasive, and I don’t sit there growing impatient and resentful. I’m FAR more inclined to give a shit about the product.

    I tend to pick up on bullshit when I see or hear it in media so when they insert ads or propaganda into something it sets me off. You can tell because it often grates against what the writer had as far as their flow of plot etc.

    Some asshole will make some political quip about something related to the plot and your like WTF? Then you look it up and the government funds that kind of political insertion into stories, and has been doing it for decades.

    Really, the commercial industry is only just not playing catch up to what uncle sam has been doing since forever, and everyone knows about it, but yet nobody seems to think it’s wrong, or act surprised when it turns out to be happening everywhere.

    http://www.examiner.com/article/government-uses-hollywood-as-propaganda-machine

    What, you think only Tokyo Rose or Baghdad Bob did it?

    • On Demand is definitely a lot better, but sometimes if you’re catching up on a show you hadn’t seen in a while the commercials get so repetitive that you want to hang yourself.

      When Pam and I were catching up on Grimm earlier this year, the same god damned Today Show commercial would play for EVERY commercial break on EVERY episode. And the song they played… holy shit. Now it’s like a Manchurian Candidate thing: every time I hear that song I want to punch Al Roker.

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