Sunday, July 10, 2011


I don't watch a lot of TV. I used to, but not anymore. I’ll watch the games during football season, but that’s about as regular as it gets. People make fun of me for this. A lot of people start conversations with me that go, "Hey Rich did you see.... oh yea, of course not."

I don't watch much TV for several reasons. First off, I don't have cable so I only get like 8 channels (not including the 15 Spanish channels my TV receives). My TV is also a monster. It’s from my parents’ old basement. And it’s like a 46 inch TUBE TV, so it weighs about 23,000 pounds.

But really the main reason is that when I am watching TV, I am not doing anything else. I don't write as much, I don't consume as much culture I just kind of… exist on my couch.

Since I rarely watch TV, when I do watch it, certain things get burned indelibly into my brain. Things like commercials.

And what bothers me about commercials is that they suck. Not just that they are bad (although most of them are bad) but the fact that the story telling is so falsified.

I mean I know believing everything you see or here in commercials is dangerous. And I don't do that, but even still, they are so way off that I can't even handle it.

For example, take commercials for paint. I have painted before. I painted my entire apartment. I know what it’s like, how long it takes, etc. But TV paint commercials are completely misrepresenting how difficult it is to paint a room. The people in paint commercials are freaks of nature.

First of all they always paint in khakis, a polo shirt, and a do rag. And they always just kind of look around the room in beautiful reverence paint a little bit, and then cut to them admiring their work they finished on the same day.

And they never have any paint on them! Not a drop. There's no paint on the floor, there are no drop cloths, no painters tape. It's just time to start, oh look let’s paint perfectly together beautiful spouse of mine, oh look at that we’re done.

Oh and how about that, our clothes are still in perfect shape. Oh wow and we just painted 12 walls and our backs don't hurt and hey look its still light outside. Let's go for a jog!

Now if that were real life it would be pitch black outside, those people would have paint in their eyelashes, and they would be curled up in the fetal position on the floor holding a beer and a slice of pizza. But no, paint commercial couples look at each other, grab each other’s hands, and skip off into the sunset.

Shaving commercials also piss me off. Like most people, I have very important things on my face... like my mouth. And if I shaved my face as fast as those guys in commercials do, I would have shaved it off. They shave so fast that at the rate they show, every man should be able to shave his entire face in 29 seconds.

People in commercials shave while smiling and looking at the camera instead of at the BLADE IN THEIR HAND! Hello! That is a blade, or in the case of today's razors, 12 blades. Be careful with that shit and stop telling me how I can swipe it across my face the same way I might wipe chocolate sauce off my cheek. It is a sharpened piece of steel, not a napkin.

And all these commercials where they “surprise” men in gym locker rooms shaving their face to challenge them to use a new razor. First of all, nobody believes that’s real. And second of all, do you know what the legal ramifications would be for sneaking up on somebody holding a razor next to their face?

Every shaving commercial should have the same message:

Hey guys, do you have hair on your face? Do you use our razor? Well be careful! Our razor is ridiculously dangerous!

But shifting to non-violence, my last commercial frustrations are those for laundry detergent. Apparently the science behind laundry detergent has really come leaps and bounds the last couple years because it is so concentrated now it seems like you can go 20 years on the same bottle of detergent.

It’s 3 times concentrated, not it’s 5 times concentrated, no 10. Use a half a cap full, no a teaspoon, no a drop, no actually just wave the bottle of detergent above the washing machine and it will do the work magically. You don't even have to open the bottle. On bottle will last you a lifetime.

I fully expect to walk into the detergent aisle of the store and just see some product that comes with an eyedropper for you to dispense your cleaning liquid.

I have a hard time believing all of these claims since when I do my laundry and start to pour the tiniest bit into the machine I almost always doubt myself and say, no you know what, I should add more. I just feel safe with too much as opposed to too little.

But I suppose part of it is my own fault since I buy the unscented detergent, I can’t tell if my clothes smell clean just… not dirty. Who knows, maybe I am not the target clientele for these advertisers. Maybe there is some other breed of super human to whom these products apply.

But then again if you can shave your face in 29 seconds and paint your entire house effortlessly without spilling a drop, you probably have no need for detergent anyway.



Paula said...

LOL! i loved this :) I also love how you do not watch TV :)

Valerie said...

'But no, paint commercial couples look at each other, grab each other’s hands, and skip off into the sunset'

Had to laugh at that.... you mean, you don't skip off into the sunset?

I rarely watch television, perhaps I should.

Shane Pilgrim said...

I laughed during this entire post. Refreshingly original writing, witty and truthful. The shaving commercials are ridiculous...and they never show you the razor bumps associated with shaving your neck. I swear they must give those guys Brazilian wax, or laser hair removal, or something...

Completely understand what you say about TV. I have Netflix and occasionally I will binge on a few episodes of a show, but I always feel exceptionally lazy afterwards. When I moved to my new apartment I decided not to get cable, and it was a great decision.


Charcoal Renderings said...

Oh my god. Not only am I painting my office today, but I actually took a lunch break of pizza and skin-scrubbing to remove the paint left under my fingernails.

True story.

little said...

i actually saw the funniest commercial yesterday for a fast-food restaurant. i think popeyes. all the people "interviewed" were incredibly overweight. thank you for making me NOT want your food and reminding why fast food is quite disgusting.

love, little.

Caroline B said...

Had a conversation like this the other day regarding the British commercial where the guy sneaks up behind someone shaving and shouts 'WHOOO!!' - we were debating on just how injured he'd be in reality.....

DangGina said...

You know, I think I'd like commercials much better if I was watching them with you. (Didn't mean for that to sound creepy!)

The paint commercials are very likely the most misleading. I was supposed to have chosen a color to paint my room this past June, but the very thought of packing every damn thing I own to move to another room, and then spend hours taping and painting, and...well, the very thought pissed me off horrendously, so I just didn't do it. The townhouse is only 3 years old anyway, and the beige color goes with anything. I still think I made the right decision.

PS I was in NYC for a week in June (when it was 4,000,0000 degrees, plus humidity; SICK!). I had never been to the city before, and,'s my favorite post from my NYC experience:
If you've got time, brace yourself for immaturity at a whole new level...