Wednesday, December 09, 2009

Everything is a commercial

Yep, I'm still here. I didn't fall out of the blogoverse, I just got mega sidetracked with RL stuff. I have a feeling it's pretty much gonna be like that throughout 2010, but I will do my best to keep things posty around here.

Anyway, I wanted to whine about an alarming trend I've noticed lately. Maybe it's not all that new, maybe it's not really all that alarming, but it bugs me.

Have you noticed that fictional TV shows [you know, the ones where the actors are NOT playing themselves] are looking more and more like continuous commercials? As if it wasn't bad enough to get 15 to 20 minutes of ads during every 60 minutes of prime time, now the shows themselves are all about advertising.

This hit home when I was watching last week's episode of Bones. A subplot [if you could call it that] revolved around several of the characters getting tickets to go see the new movie Avatar.
Now, don't get me wrong, Avatar looks like a stunning movie and I can't wait to see it. Showing a trailer during the commercial breaks in the show would be fine, BUT the plot of the episode involved the characters not only talking up the movie, but watching a clip from it on TV.
On the surface, hey, what's the big deal, right? It's a cool movie, and it sort of makes sense that the characters who live in an only mildly alternate version of our real world would be interested in seeing it, but including what are essentially ads for the movie directly in the episode to me smacks of... I don't know...a little too much mind control.
Oddly enough, I don't complain when the cast of The Big Bang Theory talks about Star Wars, BSG, Star Trek or any comic book hero. It didn't bother me when they had Summer Glau as a guest star during her stint on The Sara Conner Chronicles...but this plug for Avatar left me miffed. I'm just wondering if this is what our TV fiction will be coming to...instead of 15-20 minute acts broken up by 5 minutes of ads, will we end up watching 15-20 minute ads broken up by 5 minutes of slightly more annoying ads? Bones isn't the only show I've noticed this on - Eureka and Star Gate Universe have done it too.
People are getting paid to wear T-shirts that advertise companies, or wrap their cars in 'skins' that make them movable bill boards...what's next? I wonder, in the future, will it be easier to get a book contract if your story manages to plug a major product?


Kristen Painter said...

I noticed that too. In fact, Hart Hanson - I think he's the director of Bones or something, I follow him on Twitter - actually mentioned before the show that he hoped no one minded the Avatar tie in because it was going to set some stuff up for future shows. Whatever that means.

Bernadette Gardner and Jennifer Colgan said...

Hmm, interesting. I suppose if there is a method to their madness...but I'm thinking in most cases it will just be another way for the shows to get funding from advertisers.

PS: David Boreanaz in his skivvies on last night's episode...well worth the price of admission. Just sayin'.