We watched a movie the other day; a movie we really wanted to see. All was fine for the first half hour, with a couple of commercial breaks. Stations do that, you know, to lure you in. As soon as they have you hooked, they change.
We timed it. Every eight minutes, they broke the movie for a four- to six-minute block of commercials.
The commercial blocks were long enough I could drive to the corner store for an ice-cold Coca Cola and return without missing a bit of the story line.
The next night was “Survivor,” a time for celebration and serious TV watching in my household. We don’t answer the phone, the door or the dog when “Survivor” is on. Then they went commercial, too. They had the 7-Up reward challenge. I was going to suggest a drinking game to Mike, where we would down something every time someone said “The Uncola,” only by the time I thought of it, I realized we would have died of alcohol poisoning before the show ended.
We even tried to do an end-run around the commercials, by watching something on demand through the cable company, but they are on to us there, too. They’ve rigged some of their free offerings so you can’t fast forward through the ads anymore.
There has to be a solution to this somewhere. I understand the networks have to make money, and my just watching a show isn’t doing it for them. Then I got to thinking maybe reality shows with their product placements may just have an idea. What if they included the commercials into their storylines? Sure it might make for a little awkward conversation, but so what?
Imagine “NCIS,” for example:
DiNozzo: OK McGee, lets jump in our new 2012 Chevrolet Equinox and head out to the crime scene.
McGee: I’ll grab my gear. You know, with 182 horsepower in that puppy, we’ll be there in no time.
David: You are right. And the 20-plus miles per gallon fuel economy means we will not have to stop for petrol either.
Gibbs, slapping DiNozzo on the back of the head: Let’s quit talking and go. I’ll drive. I like the way this machine handles.
DiNozzo: On it boss. (Runs out the door).
It’s sort of like those shortcuts you take that are three miles longer than the direct route down Florence Boulevard. It might take you a little longer to get there, but at least you’re moving.
Leah Daniels is magazine editor at the TimesDaily.