Currently I have no cable TV. This isn't really all that bad, since the only show I really watch is The Daily Show, and CTV airs that. Oh, and Jeopardy, occasionally (even now that Ken is on his 36th win; you'd think that I'd tune in more often just so I wouldn't miss that moment of pop culture that will be him losing, but no). Even when I had cable, I discovered that I was watching not much more than music videos, terrible movies (especially the really bad ones, like crack they were to me - I watched Mangler 2, twice), and commercials.
I love commercials. What's not to like, really. They are generally more arty than anything else on TV, non-linear seems to be in, I love guessing what product is being shilled (I am scarily good at this, though I have a sneaking suspicion that many of us are), and they are one of only a few mainstream outlets to hear new, good music (now that I don't have cable, maybe the only one; the two others before were the WB and the Wedge on Much). Oh, and I almost forgot about all the sexy people (how could I have forgotten about the sex?).
There are bad commercials, though, and these come in two kinds* (well, if I stopped to think about this, there are probably more, but whatever. And a special category is reserved for Mel Farr, Superstar). The first is the kind that makes you shake your head and compose a better ad on the spot. We've all done this, and it doesn't take a marketing degree to add vitality and surprise to a bland commercial (I really am thinking about changing jobs, my virtual portfolio will make you laugh, I swear).
The second kind of bad commercial I despise; it is so bad you have to change the channel when it begins, or else risk contamination. These ads are almost always local, and manage to be simultaneously boring and irritating, devoid of any creativity, and are generally insultingly terrible. Dating service commercials also fit in here, as there aren't any sexy singles waiting for my call at midnight on a Wednesday in my city, and if there are, how lame for them. Which brings me back to the start: during the Daily Show, which is on at midnight in my time zone, there are very, very terrible local ads, and I am shuddering just thinking about them. No, I won't mention them, but if you are from around here you probably know which I am talking about.
Now, when you have cable, and a bad ad comes on, changing the channel is a wonderful option; almost too wonderful for me, as I am a typical male who channel surfs rather well, and sometimes forget to come back to the show I was originally watching. When you don't have cable, you don't have this option. Yet you must still change the channels, and simply must bear the brunt of what you find. At midnight, there are only two other channels (a fourth channel just does not come in at night on the rabbit ears). They are both CBC, and one is in English, and one is in French. Which brings me to my beef:
CBC, what is up with your late night movie language policy? The following happens practically every night: On the English channel, a French movie will be playing, with subtitles; on the French channel, an English movie will be playing, dubbed into French. WTF!!
I don't have a problem with French, or with the French channel (some of my friends are French..., ha!), it's just that I don't know it that well, despite a minimal desire to learn (cause I actually do have French friends). I appreciate that CBC is playing French movies, and I love that they are subtitled, because I hate dubbing: this is beside the point. CBC programmers, why can't you put the English movie on the English channel and the French one on the French channel? Most of us have closed captioning if we want the appropriate subtitles. Or, somewhat easier, maybe: Don't dub the English movie, just subtitle it into French; this will not only preserve whatever "education" goals you had in mind, but will extend them to the realm of teaching French spelling to the anglophones.
I know return you to your regularly scheduled programming.
*You've probably heard this one, which is why it's at the bottom: There are only two kinds of people in the world, those who think there are two kinds of people, and those who don't. Whenever I hear "there are two kinds...", this automatically pops in my head, and invariably pops out of my mouth. Sometimes I sex it up by sounding like Dorothy Parker, but this works better when I am drunk.