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Commercial relief

Many people think that television has not only hit a new low but that it somehow bears responsibility for society's ills. It could be true, considering the kind of programs we have to select from day after day and night after night.

Still, the situation isn't all bad.

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We have finally found a solution to the poor TV quality by leaving the room to visit the refrigerator during the featured show and returning in time for the ads. Television seems much better since we changed our viewing habits. The new system has another advantage in that it gives more time to sort out the snacks and pour the drinks, whereas before it was always a rush.

Watching only ads is less stressful and gives one more hope. The feature programs usually deal with a woman whose husband and child have been kidnapped or done away with; an airplane about to blow up; dope addicts, officials of justice taking bribes; and so on and on.

But the ads are different. They promise us a better life.

The commercials gently explain that we can easily cope with the misfortunes vividly exploited on the featured programs if we simply buy the right product. It is all demonstrated before our very eyes. Troubles depart when we use the right shampoo. We can avoid financial disaster by staying calm and dry with the right deodorant.

Even better, we can win the spouse of our choice by offering the proper stick of gum or breath mint. Your boss will be delighted to have you share the same car or elevator if you have showered with the soap that makes you clean and fresh. Good things, beyond number, can be yours if you only gargle with a special mouthwash or soak your hands in a mild dishwashing liquid.

Even ''educational'' television is worrisome. The very symbol of instability, they're always just about to go off the air because you haven't sent in your pledge. This symptom, known as viewer's guilt complex, is responsible for more problems than we can imagine.

Commercials have better music and friendlier dialogue. Everyone comes out a winner. The only villains are ants and cockroaches who get done in by a walking-talking can of poison. Your safe future is not only assured, it is reassured. Who can doubt the wholesome verity of any statement on any product spoken to you by that epitome of grandfatherly wisdom, John Houseman?

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If you find you are getting more and more disgusted with the programs on TV, try the commercials.

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