Category Archives: Television

Addicted to Publicity

So news and events on which to comment have basically been spewing all over the place for weeks now. So many things to get me going, piss me off, and really make me want to rant and rave…so many that it’s hard to know where to begin.

But as I pondered, and stewed, fretted, and festered, over all the headlines, bylines, and pantylines of weeks past, all that kept coming to mind was David Duchovny.

“Why?” you ask, would this mildy, or maybe mediumly, hot, former x-files star, be on the forefront of my anger when so many other things are wrong with the world? Well, I think it is because Duchovny really represents most of what is in fact wrong. 

First off, I’ll admit, I am not a fan of actors. In fact I really can’t stand most of them. I’m sure there are nice ones/good ones/plain old “I really just love the art” whoevers, but the ones I know and have seen really just want to be the center of attention at all times, no matter what, and they will do anything to get there, stay there, and keep everyone else out of their way and spotlight. And when I see things like the following, it hurts a little more inside:

When Californication first aired on showcase, I trusted I could enjoy some r-rated T.V. I enjoyed season one. Too many gratuitous tits, but all around pretty entertaining and definitely boundaries pushing (female ejaculation face-shot….yup).

But, is it not just a tiity bittie convenient that David Duchovny declares himself a sex addict, in need of treatment, weeks before season two begins airing????

Give me a break. Seriously. The guy is going to go public with a sex addiction. Right…. This has nothing to do with the fact that his character on Californication is a sex addict. Nothing to do with rebranding the uptight scientist x-files Duchovny with the new, sexier, sluttier, racier version. It practically sets up season two. He may be back with his woman, but he’s addicted to sex, so what will happen in the steamy, sex filled episodes to come…..dun  dun dun…..

Tea Leoni, in the meantime, has to skip out on the Toronto Film Festival out of “embarrassment”. I can just picture that convo: “So honey, the pr team for Californication want me to come out as a sex addict and check into rehab. I know this wont look good for us, but hey, the ratings will skyrocket for the show and guarantee a few more seasons. This could be big time. Come on honey……” 

And of course it all works very nicely. Instead of getting two lines in the T.V. section of the paper before season two begins, whole articles, in the tabloids and the mainstream press, feature Duchovny’s startling confessions. What a load of shit. And really, the media allow themselves to be so manipulated it just sucks.

But sadly, while I found Duchovny sexy and alluring in season one, I can’t even watch season two. Now all I see is another actor, willing to make a fool of himself and his family to make a few more bucks. Is all fair in love for publicity?  

But hey, actors do it, signers do it, athletes do it, and now, even our politicians do it.

Ahhhh John McCain. Another actor, breaking out some tabloid fotter, Palin, in order to create buzz and gain publicity. Who cares about serious issues when we can talk about six packs and moose hunting? Who cares about qualifications when you have great hair? Who wants to talk about foreign policy when they can gossip about teen pregnancy? Why fill the papers with debate, analysis and discussion when you can just post rumours, and comparative fashion shots of power suits.

Just like actors, our politicians have become publicity whores, knowingly dishing out all the shit that we love to eat right up. Making one, if not the, most important U.S. election into a publicity, tabloid circus, one in which the packaging and branding have become more important than the actual product.  

But I guess as long as we eat it up, they’ll keep dishing it out. 

Frankly, I just feel like barfing.

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Filed under Americans, Selling out, Television, Things that make you vomit, U.S. Politics, Uncategorized

Why don’t the networks get it: If you’re under 25, you don’t watch shows on tv.

Recently, there has been some discussion about the show Gossip Girl. Apparently, it is doing very poorly in the ratings but seems very popular online. To grab a useful term from the nineties here: Duhhhh.

Teens and young adults don’t watch television anymore. Why don’t the networks realize this? Why would anyone watch shows on t.v.? They are filled with ads, you can only watch one episode at a time, and you have to watch it when it is airing. Instead, you can download (and if it’s Gossip Girl very quickly) and someone has already kindly removed all the ads for you. You can download several episodes at once. You can watch them at your leisure. You can put them on an external drive and run them right onto your flat screen television or even pump them onto your ipod for the subway ride to work.

But what I can’t understand, as someone who has worked as a television producer for the past five years, is why the networks are so reluctant to embrace the new technologies, and the realities that come with them. It’s time to adapt. (Well that time was yesterday but it’s better late than never)

Living in Spain, I cannot download television episodes off itunes or from the network websites. I couldn’t even download them from Canada. So where do I turn, mininova of course, now that torrentspy is no more. If I had an option to pay a dollar to download an episode that would be fast and glitch free, I would pay, but I can’t even do that if I want to.

And of course no one watches advertisements anymore. They are annoying. The volume goes up, they are often shitty and have nothing of interest. And now because people skip through the ads with their tivo or Rogers on demand, the same ads are played over and over at every break, hoping that as you run for popcorn, you’ll hear the blaring ad from across the room and maybe the 6th time, it will sink in.

But as many viewers forget, television is not a benevolent service. It is not something offered free to the public to entertain them out of charity. It’s a business and to make money it needs ad revenues. Advertisers are frustrated that their ads aren’t being seen, so the networks and execs put their heads together and come up with putting products directly placed into the shows. This is even worse. It pisses everyone off and when Brian on the Family Guy mentions downloading the latest quicktime application, I know that wasn’t originally intended for the script. And when the America’s Next Top model ‘challenge’ revolves around Walmart’s new partnership with Cover Girl, the fact that I am watching a five minute ad, is not lost on me: CLICK. It cheapens the art that can be good television. It brings the viewer out of the entertainment bubble making them feel cheap and used.

But aren’t we the consumer culture? Don’t us young adults love to spend? Sure, we just want ads that appeal to us. Google has figured this shit out. They spy on all your e-mails and then pick out key words and send ads based on that. Similarly, Gossip Girl could foster it’s online community, have targeted ads on a website where you can download episodes for free and taa daa watch the revival of advertising.

Online is where it’s at. But people want to know more about their favorite shows these days. They want the gossip about the actors. They want interviews, they want to know where Blaire got her dress and headband. They want to know what songs played in the soundtrack to get the album. They want to know what shade of lipstick made little Jenny go from innocent little girl to burgeoning sex kitten. All of these things could easily be transformed into online advertising platforms. And then instead of missing the boat all together or putting the boat squarely in the middle of the screen, Networks and advertisers could once again live in symbiotic happiness.

Get with the times oldies or die out to the likes of youtube.

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Filed under advertising, Television