Wednesday, February 21, 2018

How Black Entertainment Television "celebrates" Black History Month

So I'm back on the treadmill and Black Entertainment Television is replaying this excellent film, 2013's Twelve Years A Slave, based on the 1853 memoir by Solomon Northup, a free black man kidnapped and sold into slavery some twenty years before the outbreak of the Civil War.  Northup's narrative is a powerful indictment of the moral depravity of the slave-master relationship as well as being an uplifting tale of stoic determination in the face of despair.

And during commercial breaks, BET shows us advertisements for....this.  A game show based on a board game in which black people test each other's "blackness" by asking trivia questions that I guess only people who are "really" black are able to answer correctly.

A few years ago, BET "celebrated" Labor Day Weekend by running the entire original Roots series- and airing the most obnoxiously racist Stepin Fetchit crap ads during every commercial break (and if you've ever watched BET, you know that there were a LOT of commercials breaks.)  When I snarked on that atrocity I think I used the term "one step forward, two steps back."  It fits here, too.

Hey, kids- sit yourselves in front of the tv and enrich yourselves by learning about the life of Solomon Northup, as told by Northup himself.  During the commercial breaks, PLEASE mute the tv, or better yet, mute the tv and leave the room for 4 minutes or so to get a sandwich or use the rest room or- hey, here's an idea!- go to Amazon and order a copy of Twelve Years a Slave.  It's a great read, and Northup's race isn't degraded and belittled and insulted in between chapters.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Courtney's looking for a Facebook Friend who will buy her dinner every other weekend

Courtney can't find a boyfriend in the traditional way because she's a flight attendant and is always traveling.  She likes "nice guys" and can usually be found on the beach- which beach she doesn't say, because as she said she's always traveling.  My guess is that if you want to be Courtney's boyfriend and actually spend time with Courtney you need to be nice and to follow her around the world so you can be at the same beach she's at between flights.

Seriously, does any of this make any sense?  Courtney doesn't meet a lot of those nice guys she likes because she's always traveling.  She doesn't say she's retired from the airline, so it sounds like what she really wants is someone willing to drop everything and spend a few hours with her from time to time while she's between flights, and is then willing to be satisfied with texts and skype chats and maybe the ocassional pic of Courtney having fun on the beach without you.

I think Nice Guys can do better, Courtney.  Get back on when you're actually available for a relationship.  You're kind of cute but you need to look at things a bit more realistically.  Right now, any "boyfriend" you think you've met on is spending an awful lot of time with other girls while you're gone posing by jet engines and having fun on the beach.  Doesn't seem worth the membership fee from where I'm standing.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

RedFin- Property for People Much, Much Better than You

The young couple in this ad visit one impossibly enormous suburban castle after another but find each lacking in some way (maybe the bowling alley in the basement isn't quite up to their standards, or there's only two man caves, or the peacocks strutting around in the back yard just arent' quite right somehow.)  Sure they look big enough to house several families each but surely, through the magic of Redfin, they can do better, right?

I know I'm sure pulling for them.

And in the end, the female side of this pampered pair of entitled, spoiled-rotten asshats is totally sold when she walks into a kitchen twice the size of my apartment.  She doesn't need to see any other rooms in the house, thanks anyway RedFin Agent, this is where she's going to be spending all her time anyway!  All she needs now is a good pair of roller skates and a GPS to help her navigate her way from the stove to the sink to the fridge.

I hate everyone so much right now.

Friday, February 16, 2018

More preying on the elderly, courtesy of the Funeral Insurance Industry

"If you are 85 years of age or younger..." considering the channel I saw this on, the following pitch is directed to approximately 40% of the viewing audience.

It's a Senior Life Plan from the Senior Life Insurance Company, a company which I'm guessing sells insurance to Seniors.  I'm not sure of this, I'm just taking a stab in the dark based on the fact that the word "Seniors" is mentioned just under three hundred times in this stupid ad.

Specifically, it's another one of those ubiquitous ads for Funeral Insurance.  The "average funeral," you see, costs OVER $7500.   But the MOST government benefits pay is $255, which isn't even enough to cover the caterer for the wake for chrissakes!  I wonder if that "OVER $7500" number will be inflated before the ad is over, since I've seen commercials using the much scarier phrase "$30,000 OR MORE!"

"Leaving your loved ones to pay your debt..." first, what a sleazy way to reel in potential customers- "if you don't buy funeral insurance, it may mean No College For Your Grandkids or Someone Gets Evicted, even if none of that stuff happens Do You Really Want To Be Remembered As a Burden?"  Second, there's no "debt" unless someone goes through with the ridiculously overpriced Party Featuring You In a Box.  And if you don't leave money to cover it, why would anyone pay for an elaborate going away party for someone who has already gone away?

This Senior Life Plan for Seniors will pay up to $30,000 (I KNEW that phrase would show up!) for funeral expenses and "any other end of life expenses."  And we all know what "Up To" is worth, don't we?  It means they might come close to paying that amount if you buy none of the policies they're about to list as Available at an Unbelievably Low Price.

And like all of these ugly Expensive Insurance for the Easily Manipulated Elderly commercials, this one reminds the viewers to "ask about our Free Prescription Discount Card."  I don't know what part of that scam is all about, except that I'm 99 percent positive that it's either just another bit of bait on the hook that provides nothing of value not already provided by AARP or Medicare or it's a way of sticking a "small" extra fee to the cost of the "insurance."  I guess they ran out of those credit card-sized magnifying glasses and Magic Ear hearing aids?

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Oh you have got to be kidding me, Chase!

The entitled little twat in this ad learned that a tree she and her then-boyfriend vandalized with a jacknife sixty years ago was about to be finished off and, having money to burn and not being aware of any charities or scholarship opportunities that might benefit from any of it, decided to blow the stack by purchasing the vandalized tree and having it shipped to her back yard.  Where she and her equally loathsome* significant other could look at it for a few more years.  I guess.

"My first thought was, 'I have to go get it!'"  Huh.  I'd have gone with "really?  That tree survived the gouging me and my thoughtless jackass lover gave it sixty years ago?  That's one hardy tree."

Anyway, she gets on the phone with her Chase Special Services For Disgustingly Stupid With Money Because They Can Be white people rep and tells him she needs god knows how much cash to buy the tree she tried to kill so long ago.  Other people might have to let the past be the past.  But she isn't Other People.  She's an almost unbelievably stupid, self-absorbed douchenozzle who is all about being "impulsive" as long as being "impulsive" means "doing something for Me."

I know this was supposed to be sweet and cloying and heartwarming and all that crap, Chase.  Happy F--ing Valentine's Day and thanks for putting a cherry on mine with this putrid steaming pile of excrement.  Just perfect.

*Unless he responds with a disgusted "you did WHAT?  You blew part of our retirement fund to transplant an f--ng TREE?  That's it, I'm filing papers to have your name taken off the accounts before you decide we need to buy the old Hershey Chocolate factory because we went there once, you bizarre loon."

I see my Home Chef every time I check out the mirror

These ads are like commercials for Home Makeover shows- the product is marketed exclusively toward Double Income households where neither adult wants to invest the energy into actually making dinner or the money into hiring help or going out to eat every single night.  In other words, for 99 percent of the people watching ads for "Home Chef," this is a world completely alien to anything we experience.

I sure as hell don't want to spend even five seconds watching Rebecca squeal with delight at how easy it is to unpack a huge cardboard box of food and paint-by-numbers recipes designed to make life just a little bit easier for people whose lives are pretty damned close to perfect already (except for all that prepping oh noes what a hassle maybe we should reconsider the hiring help plan.)  This is at least as bad as all those ads for Panera ("Real food for Real People with Big Bank Accounts.  You know, the only people who matter.")

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Jared Jewelers meets Lowered Expectations and I guess we're supposed to find it charming.

This thing is, after all, three and a half minutes long.  Which means it's strictly for the Jared website and YouTube.  Well, MAYBE it shows up on one of those lame All Reruns All The Time channels you didn't even know your cable company provided because they are up there in the 500s, past HBO and Showtime.  Those channels have no problem with three and a half minute commercials.

Anyway, the whole time I watched this ad with it's weird imaging and music and camera angles and documentary-style narration, I kept waiting it to become a dark story of betrayal, secret families, money and murder.  Surely, I thought, the sweet balding old man would eventually bludgeon the sweet, lonely middle-aged woman and dump her body two miles off-shore after cleaning out her bank account.  I mean, there was no WAY this was actually going to be nothing but 210 seconds of a Jared Jewelry ad, right?

Man, was I wrong.  This thing actually ends with these people smiling and hugging and happy with eachother and the guy's choice of a ring.  He's not a serial killer or swindler or anything.  He's just an old guy who proposed to this woman and she said yes.  Even after watching the whole damn thing I can't tell you why it took three and a half minutes, but it did and because I watched, you don't have to.  You're welcome.

(By the way, if you want to know why this story is "one of a kind," you will have to watch it yourself.  Because I watched this once and found nothing special or unique about this "one of a kind" story.  If you see something special, feel free to let me know.  I'm done looking.)