Now I’ve just recently moved house and I didn’t own a television. I never use to watch much free-to-air shows anyway because I had cable – those days are now gone. I now have a tv. I now realise how hilarious and ridiculous free-to-air television really is.
I’m home during the day a lot which means I am now exposed to daytime television. Sure there’s the chat shows, the soaps and all that jazz but it’s the commercials that get me laughing. If there’s not someone shouting at you about the benefits of a clean toilet or the heavily discounted prices of a brassiere then it’s stereotypical figures tricking you into thinking they know you. The best are the life insurance ads. One of them contains a bunch of middle age women sitting around a table, having just played tennis (which has no relevance to the ad) and one of them tells the other – leaning in with excitement about the decorating she is going to do in her new house. Instead of the others laughing and rolling their eyes wondering how they get rid of this one dimensional woman with the use of readily available objects they proceed to warn her about the difficulties of life. Or rather death. If you died WHO would pay for your children’s food? Your mortgage? Your funeral? Who indeed. Isn’t that the mystery of death? You die and leave a whole pile of mess for others to clean up... I mean no matter how no fuss they say it’s going to be it’s really going to be a total pain in the arse for everyone else concerned. Just because you’ve thrown money at this impending and inevitable problem on a weekly basis doesn’t mean your underpant draw has been dealt with. Or your collection of antique thimbles that only you have ever liked will certainly be dumped in the neighbour’s bin on the way out by one of your surviving loved ones. But I digress. The women begin discussing life insurance and how important it is. Home decorator woman pipes up with how expensive it must be and then sulks whilst saying maybe she shouldn’t do it at all to pay for it. Again violence does not ensue. Instead the women say that it’s so cheap it’s just the same as the cost of their “weekly goss mag”. Honestly that’s what she said. It’s just like the script writers were so tired after a long night of scripting something else that this ad landed on their desks so they proceeded to make it as superficial and awkward as possible. –shudder- It was really weird.
After having not having a tv for such a while I forgot the art of flicking needlessly between channels to somehow fill the minute void of ads with a minute of something else – completely out of context. Finally a show I recognised. “Judge Judy”. It’s always entertaining to see a shrivelled up toad of a woman with an embroidered napkin around her neck dispense harsh realities to toothless individuals. Then came an ad break. It was for some new fangled kitchen appliance called the “Magic Bullet” which blends everything in the universe in under ten seconds. I waited. The ad went on. I waited. The ad went on. The ad went for so long I felt the need to scream at the tv “WHERE’S JUDGE JUDY!? WHAT THE HELL HAVE YOU DONE WITH HER, YOU TIME HOGGING BLENDER!?” The ad went for half an hour. The most disturbing part is I watched the entire half hour – without taking my own life. It was like the previous ad. The scene is set in an everyday kitchen and gradually different guests of the two hosts emerge and complain about being hungry and hungover. My deductive brain said that they had all had a big night... though why five adults had to have a slumber party is beyond me. Some weird sexual stuff going on in the subtext but there you go. So the hosts proceed to make breakfast in their magic bullet. They have one each. Must be a new activity for couples. “Hey there husbands and wives couples! Do you want to replace the sexual void of your marriage with this great and fun blendy thing?” Man I should be doing the ad for this. Anyway during the course of the half hour the hosts proceeded to make several different types of breakfast, lunch, dinner and about a dozen snacks in between. No one ate anything. They just kept cooking. And cooking. And cooking. Then some bedraggled old woman with what looked like a possum on her head shuffled in and began chain smoking whilst marvelling at the wonders of the magic bullet. No one jumped up to shoo this obviously lost old hag off the premises they just kept their eyes on the damn bullet! It’s hypnotic! I mean by the end of the ad I was ready to order one – not because I needed it... or wanted it but because I felt like I had to. My body was possessed. Then I was told I could get a second magic bullet for half price if I ordered RIGHT NOW. I tell you... the people on this ad and those that watch the ads, myself included, do need a bullet but it sure ain’t a magic one.
So to come to a conclusion free-to-air television is very odd to the subjective eye. I mean there’s a show called “The Biggest Loser”. Isn’t that insulting? I know it’s about losing the most weight but the title makes me think of a total deadbeat. Watch “The Biggest Douche” and see fat people cry and sweat at the same time.