G** D*** Ads

Oh, this modern age. You can’t do anything without being held hostage to an advertisement.

Back in the day, when there were just three TV stations, you would watch your favorite hour-long dramas and get more than 50 minutes of actual show. At that time, one’s “free TV” entertainment was solely funded by commercials. The only reason a show was on was to get you to watch the commercials and thus be inspired to part with your hard-earned cash for a detergent that was Stronger Than Dirt!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or a burger, because (of course!) You Deserve a Break Today!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Or some hair-care product, because A Little Dab’ll Do Ya.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I don’t remember the commercials to be particularly intrusive, though. The shows worked around them, and even had clever mini-cliffhangers so you wouldn’t change channels during the commercial. Keep reading for an example of how that art has been jettisoned.

 

Then came cable TV. The original premise was, instead of advertisement-funded escapism, the consumer paid for the broadcasts — and there wouldn’t be any commercials. Any cable subscribers getting commercial-free entertainment these days?

One of my favorite shows is Leverage. It’s about a group of four extralegal heroes who have come together at the direction of a former insurance investigator to do good by people who have been trampled by the moneyed elite. Kind of a Robin Hood theme.

 

The show’s introduction is by the main character:

The rich and powerful take what they want. We steal it back for you. Sometimes bad guys make the best good guys. We provide Leverage.

The last time I saw the show, the intro ended with

We providesoft, touchable hair.

It was interrupted by an ad. And not only did they interrupt, they couldn’t even wait one word to place the ad in a spot that made sense.

 

And it’s not just mindless TV-watching that is interrupted. If I’m in the middle of an important task and run into a roadblock, I’ve found YouTube videos to be helpful. They’ve become my go-to DIY reference. They’ve enabled me to install toilet parts, wire outside light timers, and overcome computer glitches. But as time has progressed, I’ve noticed more and more ads at the beginning of these instructional videos.

My mouse pointer is always poised over the Skip Ad icon, so I can click as soon as possible. There’s usually a five-second countdown. Not bad, you say? How about two ads now? One you can skip, but the other, you can’t.

I had a favorite crossword app on my iPad. It had one ad at the beginning. No big deal. I’ve honed my eye/finger coordination and can quickly tap the X that can appear in any corner of the screen. I take pride in quickly reacting and not wasting a microsecond on looking at their stupid commercial.

Lately, however, they’ve added another ad in the middle of my puzzle’s progress. And then another at some other random time during this fun-but-healthy mental exercise.

That’s where I draw the line; I deleted the app. I hope they’ve gotten the message.

But do you see where this is trending? At one time the Federal Communications Commission stayed on top of this kind of societal decay. Younger people probably can’t imagine a time when infomercials were forbidden, for instance.

Here’s an all-too-possible scenario:

Let’s say someone is coming back from Central America. He’s had a great vacation. But he’s picked up a case of amoebic dysentery. He needs relief, and he needs it now. Rushing to the airport’s men’s room, he pulls on a stall door.

It doesn’t open immediately. A monitor on the door lights up:

And now, a word from our sponsor.

Does he have five seconds to wait for the Skip Ad button?

Let’s call our Congressmen and women, before things get out of hand.

 

 

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