Sunday, August 22, 2010

Commercials are Like Taxes, Only Less Popular

Part of watching television means having to deal with a few bothersome obstacles. In baseball games, it is the constant throws to first to check a speedy runner. During The Simpsons, it’s a Lisa episode. On Countdown it’s one of Keith Olbermann’s Special Comments. And during Glenn Beck, it’s everything after the opening credits.

However, the most irritating part of trying to enjoy a television program is the commercials. Commercial breaks kill the momentum of an exciting show, prolong every sporting event (especially the touchdown-commercial-kickoff-commercial sequence), and interrupt breaking news reports. I understand commercials are a necessary evil and without them television would have a hard time to exist. But like with a movie featuring Ashton Kutcher, just because I watch, doesn’t mean I have to like it.

The following are some of the more annoying commercials currently on television. While I am grateful for their patronage of various networks that enable them to run entertaining programming, I despise them for everything else.

AT&T
The first time I saw this commercial the first thought that came to my mind was, wouldn’t it be funny if the lady’s husband came out of the bathroom and sat down next to her immediately followed by the guy realizing he just got on a train for Boston when he lives in New York because some random woman looked at him. The second thing I thought of was if this train couple’s kid becomes the 57th president, at minimum we’re looking at 52 years into the future. This assumes every president going forward serves only one full term. Every president either serves a second term or tries to. The last elected president to serve one term without seeking re-election was Rutherford B. Hayes in 1880. The point being, we’re looking at more than 52 years until the 57th president is inaugurated. Finally, the parents smiling fondly at their child-president look to be in their late 50s to early 60s. The same people look to be in their early 30s on the train platform, putting them well into their 80s upon inauguration. If AT&T wanted this commercial to be accurate they should have had a couple of five year olds exchange glances on a school bus.

KFC
Never in my life have I taken a bite of something purchased at KFC and said “so good”. Nor have I ever seen a woman as attractive as the one in this commercial either a) eating at a KFC or b) even think about eating there. This commercial shows people in various points of life celebrating something. The fans at a sporting event are cheering the home team. The kid at the mailbox is happy with whatever letter he got. The two douche bags are pleased CVS just got a new shipment of Axe Body Spray. Everyone in the commercial is happy, but their day is really made when they sink their teeth into KFC. I know nothing caps off my day better than a sandwich that uses fried chicken as bread. Mmmm…angioplasty. If the commercial was an accurate portrayal of the KFC dining experience, the person sampling some of the Colonel’s best would take a bite, get an unpleasant look on their face, spit out the food and say “What is this shit?”

iPhone
There are a series of these commercials promoting an iPhone feature where you can see the person on the other end of the line in a small box on the phone. This is actually a pretty cool feature of the phone and comes in handy for certain momentous occasions. However, there is one in particular that really grinds my gears. First of all, it looks like the woman is in a house and so does the guy. I think she’s downstairs and he’s in the study. There are more bookshelves in this commercial than a professor’s office. While questionable, the most irritating part of these thirty seconds from Hell is when the wife says to the husband “you know that thing we’ve been working on?” Does she mean sealing the deck? Or maybe she’s talking about the addition of crown molding in the guest room. Why be coy? They’re a married couple who, judging by the tone of her voice, have clearly been trying to start a family. Just come right out and say she’s pregnant, which is news I’d like to think he could walk downstairs to find out.

It is very tempting to change the channel when a show breaks for commercial. At this point it is almost reflexive for most viewers.

The aforementioned commercials are doing their best to get almost removed from the last sentence.

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