Monday, January 30, 2006

Where did January go?

My hat is off to you bloggers who can post everyday. I last posted on January 9th and have not had a decent idea to write about since then. I still don't have one but feel compelled to let the bloggosphere know I am alive and well. I know this is really important to the people who leave incisive comments about car loans and country home decor on my blog. If it's all the same to you guys, I'd rather you didn't. There's probably some way to keep spammers out of your blog but I don't know what it is. [OK, now I do. It was so simple]

OK, today's topic is television and television commercials. I spend untold hours of my life vegetating in front of the TV. It's an addiction. This past weekend it was basketball games. I watched three of them: the NC State/Clemson game was pretty exciting and it was nice to see UNC humiliate Arizona and, even though I could care less about who won the Florida State/Miami game I watched every second of it - and it too was pretty darned exciting. I have one complaint about that game, well, two. The big one was the annoying color guy who kept insisting on calling one of the Miami players "Lethal Weapon III". He kept repeating it over and over and to be honest I never knew who he was talking about (Robert Hite maybe?). Jeez, buddy, wasn't there some producer in your ear telling you to lay off the "Lethal Weapon III"? We expect this sort of hyperbole from Dick Vitale and allow him a lot of license but you're not Dick Vitale so shut the f*ck up. The other thing was the same guy remarking on a spectacular play: "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!" I'm not sure who started using this line but now everybody uses it. Whenever I hear it I feel compelled to shout at the TV, "NO, you a**hole, he's not kidding you." I'd almost rather these guys started saying "HOLY SHIT" when somebody did something cool.

One of the problems with watching a lot of sports (especially when they're all on Raycom Sports) is that you end up seeing the same ten commercials so many times you want to scream. Unlike non-sports TV where you can channel surf during commercials it's hard to know how long the commercial breaks are going to last during a close game. So, even if you feel like you're going to strangle that cute little GEICO gecko if you hear him say "pie and chips" one more time, you don't dare switch channels because they might return to the action immediately after the commercial and you'd might miss someone say "ARE YOU KIDDING ME?!"

It's also easy to get your fill of truck commercials on sports TV. And I got to tell you that after the announcement that Ford is going to lay off 30,000 people I thought it in poor taste to run so many Ford commercials - it was kind of like watching commercials for the Roman Empire after hearing that a bunch of Christians were martyred. Yeah, I'll be buying a Ford soon. Here's a great new corporate slogan they might want to consider: Ford, built tough on workers and their families. But...I digress.

I sort of like the "Bud Light Daredevil" commercials - I just wish there were more than three. Budweiser has so many product lines it's hard to keep them straight. There is a commercial featuring Augustus Busch XVIII where he tries to make some distinction between beer that is easy to drink and some other kind of beer that is something else. If you listen carefully, (which I rarely do) you probably realize that what he is saying makes no sense at all, but he says it with such sincerity that you just want to believe him. I bet poor old Pete Coors wishes he had all that charisma. Luckily for me I don't drink beer so I am immune to either of their charms.

Speaking of no sense at all, there is a spate of commercials out there that don't even try to make sense. There is one that Cadillac runs about CEOs and parking spaces which, if it has a message, it continues to elude me - but that's OK because I'm not in the market for a Cadillac either. There is a commercial that Alltel runs in heavy rotation that features this cute little blonde girl and her annoying father who always wants to be where she is. Dudes, I don't know if it occurs to you but this dad's behavior borders on the aberrant. It's the sort of behavior that child protective services investigates regularly. The real reason the girl wants a cell phone is so she can call the police on her weirdly-obsessed old man. It creeps me out.

I could go on but there's probably something on TV that I'm missing. OK, one more thing. GEICO's caveman commercials: I think they should be extinct too.

Monday, January 09, 2006

No man's Monday

I'm not a huge sports fan but I get a little anxious about this time of year when Monday Night Football goes off the air. There is something reassuring about turning the old TV to ABC at 9 PM and hearing the words: "Are you ready for some football?" Even if the game is crap, Al Michaels and John Madden will entertain and (in Madden's case) mystify us with their arcane knowledge about the venerable game of football. Next Monday, the television equivalent of Methadone, the fifth season of "24" on Fox, will ease the pain of football withdrawl.

But not tonight. Tonight, Monday is reclaimed (if only for this one night) by women - who own TV every other night. ABC is totally abandoning men with a slate of God-awful sitcoms and reality shows. The only show tonight that has any Male-Interest-Quotient, or MIQ, is CBS's CSI Miami and that only because David Caruso is so frigging hilarious as the ultra-cool, sunglass-wearing alpha male, Horatio Caine (you'll never see William Petersen's "Gil Grissom" going all drama queen like Caruso.) If you get HBO you can watch Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel although Gumbel and Horatio Caine are cut from the same cloth (I believe it's silk).

Of course, the big fear many of us have is that when ESPN takes over Monday Night Football in the fall it won't be the same. Nobody is saying whether Michaels and Madden will be back in the booth, whether Hank Williams Jr. will open the show or whether ESPN will just pander to their base audience and make it a straight "sports" show. ESPN never seems to remember that the "E" in ESPN stands for "Entertainment". Oh well, we'll survive. We survived Dennis Miller didn't we?

In the meantime, Jack Bauer will make us all forget that tomorrow is Tuesday.