28 April 2007

Proof that watching even one TV show is one too many

There's only one television program that I watch. That's it. I've never been a fan of TV, and the addiction to Supernatural is quite enough, thank you.

But even that one hour of television a week is too much. Last week was "TV Turn-off" week, and I didn't even know it until Thursday, and since that's the day Supernatural airs, I certainly wasn't going to not watch. Heaven forbid.

Television is all around us. There are too many TV screens to even count at my gym, mounted on the walls surrounding the cardio studio. The treadmills and steppers and elliptical machines and stationary bikes all can each see at least three screens at any given time. There are about half a dozen treadmills with their own built-in TV screens, and about an equal number of elliptical trainers with their own televisions in addition to all those wall-mounted TVs. It is in every restaurant I go to, a distraction that is unneeded when I'm dining out with friends and family. So hard to tear your attention away from, even when what matters are the people in front of you.

So it is inescapable, and I end up seeing more of it than I care to. I'm more plugged in to the pop culture loop than I care to admit, and sometimes when people ask me if I've seen a particular commercial, I have seen it, and can talk about it. There's a Verizon commercial running right now that has subtitles and is about text-message speak that is really funny, I stop what I'm doing to watch it when it comes on. Advertising is such an interesting thing, trying to persuade you to do things or buy things that you might not otherwise buy or do. I'm not going to change mobile phone providers based on that commercial, but it certainly generates buzz.

And then there's good old Chuck. There are several commercials from Charles Schwab running in heavy rotation on seemingly every single channel right now. They irritate the shit out of me. I'm not sure why. They're "normal people" in everyday situations, a backyard barbecue, sitting around a table in a restaurant, standing outside a chi-chi coffee shop, to name a few. The people are talking about how they're unhappy with their stockbroker, or they were unhappy until they switched to Charles Schwab. All that is fine, normal advertising schtick so far. But the people have been cartoonized, for lack of a better term, much like some of the effects that you can do in Photoshop. Even MGI Photovista, the photo-editing software I use, has a cartoon effects filter. You overlay the picture with this effect, and it makes your picture look like a cartoon. You can do a similar thing to make your picture look like a painting. Very easy, a 3rd grader could do it with the right software.

For some reason, the cartoon effect in those Schwab ads bother me a lot. Is it because it is such a low-budget effect, or because looking at the people, you can kind of envision what they ought to look like, and it causes some disconnect in your brain? I don't know. They just bug me.

I hate even admitting that I know about and can quote television commercials. I'd love to toss a "Damn You, Kripke!" out there, and blame this on my SN addiction, but that wouldn't be precisely correct or fair. (Kripke's one of the producers of SN, and that is really a compliment, or a catchphrase, depending on you POV.) I watched bits and pieces of television before Supernatural, and when it goes off the air (god forbid that be anytime soon!!) I'm sure there will be other times that I watch bits and pieces again.

Such an ingrained part of our culture; I wonder if it would be possible to truly disconnect from all of it.


*~mad munky~* said...

*waves* (It's Cosmic - followed the link in your myspace page!)

it's funny but the tv's at the gym were one of the few reasons that i managed to keep going (i've fallen ff the treadmill completely now - i haven't been in over a year)..

there're some interesting progs out there, but it's a matter of hunting through the dross to get to them... i find i spend much more time on the 'net than i do watching tv nowadays :o)

MotherMe said...

OMG I just love someone who use words like "dross" in a sentence. Lucy, you know the coolest people! :)


Lucy Arin said...

Hey Cosmic! *waves back*

Welcome! I too spend much more time on the 'puter than watching TV...as you know from the forum. :-)

I need the distraction at the gym too, because let's face it, the treadmill is dull, dull, dull.

It just bothers me how prevalent TV is in American society...I'm serious about it being in restaurants, even my DENTIST has a television screen that you can watch while they clean your teeth. I always ask them to turn it off, so that they're focused on the task at hand instead of "Oprah". Because it IS such an attention hog.

Hi! Yep, to quote another interwebby friend..."I iz teh kewl & popular!"