The Edmond Sun


August 23, 2013

AS I SEE IT: TV, commercial irritations grow to list proportions

EDMOND — Have you noticed how cable news commentators bully an invited and accredited guest (unless it’s Krauthammer) but allow their sports/music/acting superstar guests to assassinate characters and spout uninformed remedies for the world’s ills? Such flagrant inconsistency is at the top of my TV Irritations List, but there are others.  

“Stay tuned for SHOCKING late-breaking news” about the Kardashians; Zimmerman; Weiner; drugged athletes; pedophile coaches; escalating Obamacare costs. “Phony” Washington Scandals is another of my TV irritations, the operable word here being SHOCKING. That’s to discourage the viewer from changing channels during program breaks.

I wasn’t going to anyway. Shocking news is everywhere, so channel hopping isn’t going to work. I stay put and let my eyes glaze over unless the commercial is one of my favorites, e.g., the talking pig behind the wheel of a convertible; any commercial featuring Flo; the Aussie-talking lizard and the little white dog that loads the dishwasher. Also the Aflac duck who quacks his company affiliation. I have no idea who is sponsoring any of the other commercials. I don’t want to know. Not knowing is how I take revenge against commercial interruptions.

Do you have any idea how expensive those commercial spots can be? Reliable sources tell me it’s an average $110,000 for a 30-second prime-time broadcast spot; $188,000 per comparable cable spots, and “a sharp, catchy TV spot” can easily cost anywhere from $100,000 or more to produce.

That would amount to a lot of money slipping through the sponsors’ fingers if the cost of the commercial weren’t buried in the product the consumer buys. Not me, though. In fact I’m making money. Watching the TV program but boycotting the commercial is like shorting your host, but I’m not buying his high-dollar name brand anyway.        

“But wait!” is also high on my TV Irritation List. That would be the gizmo hawker who stops midway of his spiel with an offer to halve the price of a $10 knife, a single hearing aid or even a mop if you’re interested in owning two of that item at the stated price, and are willing to pay the shipping and handling on the double deal. Too good to be true? Maybe. Depends on the doubled cost of the shipping and handling. Like Obamacare, you won’t know until you get the bill.

Transparency? Not really, but you can’t say the same for the white-coated TV un-doctor who —after he has lauded the healing qualities of this or that drug — turns the microphone over to a fast-talking off-screen voice racing through a long list of side effects ending with, “and possible death.” Death? An excess of transparency some might say, but then the un-doctor is back concluding in a cheery voice ... “So if you’re suffering dizziness and fatigue, ask your family doctor about Slumber On and say goodbye to those restless nights.”

The car radio wouldn’t be half so irritating, but I don’t drive much anymore.

MARJORIE ANDERSON is an Edmond resident.

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