Jon Reed Goes Off On... March 2007
Wednesday, March, 28 2007
Dance Your Way Through "Lost" with ABC
You're watching an intense episode of "Lost" on ABC. Suddenly your attention is distracted, not by the outside world, but by ABC itself, as they slip in a not-so-subliminal - in this case an animated jig of two people dancing that skirts down the edge of the screen, but just for a couple of eye-catching moments! How intriguing! How fun! ABC is fun! Now, you have no idea why the tiny people are dancing while John Locke is blowing up a submarine, but then a little voice in your head reminds you that ABC is pushing "Dancing with the Stars" again. Dancing is cool. Therefore, I will get up from this gripping episode of "Lost" and look up the time for "Dancing with the Stars" online. On-screen clutter is not exclusive to ABC. Each morning during the news, my local CBS affiliate slaps a homemade, ill-fitting Dunkin Donuts decal on the screen. Cram it in there! We won't mind the clutter. In the YouTube age, I can accept the importance of a transparent network logo for copyright reasons. I'll even put up with an enormous "winter storm is comin' down on your ass!" banner when the local weather team needs to pay some bills by cashing in on pending bad weather real or imagined. But more and more, we're seeing the unwelcome insertion of sponsor logos (doughnuts anyone?), and when it comes to sports, we're seeing the sponsorship of everything that isn't nailed to the court, including the sponsorship of timeouts, free throws, and so-called "game summaries." Perhaps the silliest thing? Listening to damned-if-you-do announcers like Dick Enberg, who doesn't know how to speak without gravitas, reading in-game promos for soon-to-be-cancelled shows: "She was an Ivy League graduate with an nose for a good story. He was a serial killer with an axe to grind. Find out what happens immediately following the game." I won't even get started on the pleasure of seeing my favorite sitcom stars, like little Ducky from "Pretty in Pink" (a.k.a Jon Cryer of "Two and a Half Men"), sitting courtside during a game sponsored by his network. I just love hearing Ducky break down a zone defense. If I miss some of the game action due to the what-a-coincidence-there-is-a-celebrity-from-our-network-in-the-stands interview, then so much the better. Maybe the best solution is just to combine the shows. Merge "Lost" and "Dancing with the Stars," merge "CSI" and "The Amazing Race." No need to invade one show to plug the other when they're on at the same time!. Dance with the stars of an airline crash. Investigate the murder of a bad reality TV show host. Double your audience, double your ad rates. Sign my eyeballs up! Whatever demographic I represent, we'll be there.
Wednesday, March, 07 2007
Ask Your Doctor if Your Pharmaceutical Company is Right For You
Is your life all it could be? Are you sleeping only seven and a half hours when you'd love to make eight? Are you a man with a "weak stream" that has to piss more often than you'd like? How would you like to take care of these little problems in exchange for unknown long term consequences and a few mildly inconvenient side effects like delirium, nausea, and mild diarrhea? If that sounds good, then all you have to do is follow these helpful instructions: the next time your doctor invites you over to their place for iced tea on the veranda, the two of you can casually review the various drugs available that might allow you to alleviate the nagging angst of modern life. It's the most common line in commercials today: "Ask Your Doctor if 'Wonderdrug' is Right for You." Is there anything more infuriating than this casual assumption - the absurd premise that the average American has the kind of sit-down relationship with their doctor where they can casually chat about the designer drugs now available? I have a better health care plan than most, and if I called my doctor to ask him if Technoniftydrug was right for me, he'd start by asking, "What did you say your name was again?" And when I do get in to see him, there's generally a more pressing problem to talk about than whether I want to trade weak streams for wet dreams. It's a Brave New Pharmaceutical World, where the "haves" are busy talking to their doctors about why their erections last six hours after taking something they never should have put in their body in the first place, while the rest of America sucks it up and tries to live with problems that will deteriorate if they don't get access to care they can't afford. Of course, the pharma companies are just one piece of a flawed puzzle, and some of them have pretty innovative programs to help folks in hardship situations get the drugs they need. But for now, I think we've seen enough clip art models smiling through television sets as they pantomime a superior lifestyle granted to them by a fantasy drug that they only obtained through an equally fantastic doctor, the likes of which we've never met in real life, even while pharma companies frantically attempt to reassure us otherwise.