TV Commercials, Insanity on a Flat Screen

TV commercials, I do not like them. Just when I get into the story, or the ball game gets exciting, they interrupt to try to sell me stuff. The TV commercials are loud, irritating, often disgusting and make the dumbest promises. 

Do I really need to talk to my doctor every time I sneeze? Is it critical which TP cleans my rear end the best (especially fun to think about during dinner)? Does that new car really come with a sexy blonde in the passenger’s seat? Does that investment counselor, insurance company or ambulance chaser really care deeply about my family? Are they going to move in and take care of us (we need a bigger house)? How am I supposed to lose weight, when they show me pictures of my favorite foods? I just want to watch TV without all the drivel. 

I tried DISH TV, where for a small fee the Hopper lets you fast forward through TV commercials. But my DISH bill kept going up and up, so I went to Hulu TV. For a small, but growing fee, Hulu also allows you to fast forward through the TV commercials, some of the time. However, Hulu includes the ever popular “due to streaming rights, commercials will be shown before and after the program”, and some networks force you to watch the commercials anyhow. 

I called Hulu to complain, and a young woman explained the rules to me for when you can and cannot fast forward through the commercials if you pay the extra fee. It had something to do with the alignment of the stars, or whether or not you recorded the program on a Tuesday, or your shoe size…well, I got so confused I forgot to watch TV for the rest of the day. Come to think of it, that’s one of the best days I’ve had for a while. Is there a lesson in there somewhere?

Speaking of confusion, I think that might be another reason why I’m not fond of TV commercials. For example, they tell me to talk to my doctor about all sorts of new medicines, or I’m gonna die. Why would I want to speak to my doctor about a drug to treat a certain illness, when the side effects are the same, or worse, than the illness? Some drug commercials include a list of side effects that take longer to read than the length of the show you are watching, so they read them really fast. 

It’s also upsetting and disorienting when I go to buy a new car, and they don’t keep the promises they made in their TV commercials. Based on said commercials, I expect a) a test drive on an Alp in Switzerland, b) a test drive on a race track or an icy lake, c) fireworks at the dealership to celebrate my shopping there, d) a sexy blonde in the passenger’s seat when I take the car home and e) a Chevy sedan that looks and drives just like a Ferrari. It’s probably best that ‘d’ doesn’t happen, because my wife would run over me with my new car.

There’s also the TV commercials for all the new car safety and convenience features. This includes forward radar, forward collision prevention, cruise control that matches the speed of the car in front of you, automatic breaking, lane departure warning, rear and blind spot cameras, a camera that watches your face for signs that you are distracted from driving (and for an extra fee will automatically set up an account for you on, a Wi-Fi hot spot, ApplePlay…the list goes on and on.

I actually spoke with one car dealership whose head sales manager admitted to me that all the warnings, blinking lights and beeping were so distracting that he turns the whole thing off on his own luxury sedan. Advertised as the safest cars ever, you’ll feel secure until your neighbor’s 13-year-old hacks into the system and drives you into a tree. Yikes!

This is all leading to self-driving cars, where you can sit behind the wheel and text, talk on the phone, or better yet, watch TV on your smart phone, complete with all the commercials. That’s what this self-driving car thing is really all about, so the American people can watch even more TV commercials, while driving (or not driving).

During the Super Bowl, one of the TV commercials included a car that would automatically park itself after you exit the driver’s seat. It showed the car squeezing itself into a very tight parking space between two other cars. What that particular commercial did not address was the point at which the guy who owns the car on the right comes out of the store, can’t get into his car because he can’t open the door, and subsequently beats the crap out of you, or keys your car. I’m thinking they just didn’t think this one through very well.

Then, there’s the disgust factor. These are TV commercials I never want to see, especially while eating dinner. This includes the little bear who’s compelled to tell me that a particular toilet paper gets his butt really clean. Or the commercials for women’s products; not interested in which ones are more absorbent. 

And, oh God, the ED commercials! Apparently something like 150% of men in the world experience ED at some point in their life, and if you just drink, inject, take this capsule orally, rub this stuff on your naughty bits, and on and on, you will magically be transformed into one giant and permanent…well, you get the idea. In other words, you might get some form of erection at some future time if you inject, drink or rub hard enough, even if you’re a hundred years old. Of course, by then you probably will have forgotten what to do with it.

The other thing that’s extremely annoying to me is all the mandated commercials during sporting event, basketball games, football games, etc. There’s coach’s timeouts, but there’s also about a kajillion commercial timeouts during each game. I always feel sorry for the athletes. Once they work up a sweat and get loosened up, I would think that stopping every five minutes might result in cramping, boredom and distraction. That’s the one good thing about soccer, and why it will never catch on big time in the US. With the exception of half-time, a soccer game just keeps going and going, with no interruptions, and no time for commercials. Maybe I’ll just start watching international soccer. 

I won’t watch basketball or football games live. I always DVR them and fast-forward through the commercials, with the exception of the Super Bowl. That’s the one place where my wife and I actually don’t mind watching the commercials. In fact, over the years, the commercials have been more entertaining overall than the games. (I must admit that this year’s game was an exception. Congrats to Kansas City). But, the thing I’ll remember most is the half-time show, a kind of commercial for the Super Bowl in itself. 

I probably won’t remember who played in the 2020 Super Bowl, but I’ll always associate this Super Bowl with Jennifer Lopez pole dancing, and Shakira having some sort of sexual seizures, for want of a better term for air humping. If more commercials were like that, I might not fast forward through them. (Ouch! That was my wife smacking me on the back of the head).

If you liked this article, you might also enjoy my book, PLEASURIA: Take as Directed (Koehler Books). It’s on sale at bookstores and on Amazon at I’m donating all of my after-tax profits from the book to two children’s charities, Holly’s House and Darkness-to-Light.