Commercial television

I don’t watch commercial television. I’ve tried. I’ve really tried. Most recently the other night, when a few colleagues at work were talking about some show that sounded interesting, and I decided I’d give it try. So I settled down with a cuppa, and the remote—just in case …

The show started. It was fun and I was sort of getting into it when after about ten minutes ads came on. I watched the ads and slowly felt the edges of my brain turning to pea soup. Back came the show, then after another ten minutes, more ads. I sipped at my cuppa and patted the dog by my side. The pea soup was thickening. Back came the show—by now I’d all but forgotten what it was about—it also seemed to have missed something out and not quite returned to where it left off. Or maybe it was the pea soup confusing me.

More ads. This time I reached out for my little crossword book and pencil—anything to stop the pea soup from spreading, and when the show came back on I’d lost interest and reached for the remote.

But it made me think. Why do they do that? Yes I know—dollars, but why use that format. Have we become a nation with such a short attention span that we can’t concentrate on anything for more than ten minutes at a time? Do we need a break to absorb what we’ve seen and embed it in our minds before returning to it? We can’t watch something for an hour without losing track of the plot? Mind you, this particular show didn’t seem to have a plot.

And speaking of plots, and actors—were we? Yes we were—you just lost track. I watched a download last night (no ads in those) where one actor was so wooden that I felt like hitting her up the side of the head with a plank of wood to bring her back to life. Actually, you could have painted a face on the plank of wood and used that in the actor’s place. I don’t think anyone would have noticed the difference. But I digress. 

Here’s a suggestion. Run the show at length, then show half an hour or so of ads. Those that want to watch the ads can, and those that don’t can find something else to do in the interim. Walk the dog; play with the kitten; talk to the kids (now that’s a novel experience); make tomorrow’s lunch, oh no wait I know—check their phone! Phew I said it …

Or another idea (I’m on a roll now …) an entire channel devoted to ads. Run about two hours of ads, and then have a quick half hour reality show using the products from the ads. How awesome would that be? You could have cooking shows following two hours of food products; house renovation shows using products from electrical appliances; gardening and furnishing ads—I might even watch that myself given my current circumstances, or the Open University could run short courses following insurance and banking ads. Finance 101: Which bank offers the best short-term investment rate and how does it impact on your private superannuation? Discuss. 

Channel 10, you can contact me on this number: 000WTFTV.

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