By Joe Rector
As stated on many occasions, I like to watch television. That doesn’t mean that I’ll sit down and watch any show that comes on. In fact, my list of favorite shows is limited. For instance, I’m amazed at the writing of episodes of “This Is Us,” but I can find not one endearing quality in “The Bachelor.” For all those shows, however, the bills are paid by commercials. Some of those spots drive me up the wall.
One group of commercials deals with children and their eating habits. One little girl refuses to eat broccoli and informs her parents that they’ll sit at the table all night before she eats the stuff. Mom solves the problem by serving up a pile of macaroni and cheese. Another commercial shows a young girl being rewarded for taking a bite of a vegetable with four French fries.
In the first place, my brothers and I talked back to our parents once; the consequences of doing so convinced us that ever doing it again would not be a way to survive. Neither Mother nor Daddy believed in bribery.
My parents did learn a valuable lesson about demanding that children eat certain foods. They were hell-bent that my brother Jim was going to eat greens. He finally relented and loaded a fork with the things. He chewed a couple of times and swallowed. Yep, you are way ahead of me. Those greens barely made it to his stomach before they made an exit. Jim spewed those greens across the supper table. Our parents never insisted on our eating a food again.
In another irritating commercial, a dad is on a conference zoom meeting when his two darling children enter the living room, tear open a container of flour, and throw handfuls of the stuff all over. The dad sits motionless and lets the two cretins have their fun.
I know during this time of COVID-19 that many parents are working from home. Children are involved in virtual learning, and being cooped up for months has everyone out of sorts. Nevertheless, children of our generation wouldn’t have been brave enough to pull such a dumb move. Oh, we accidentally broke things in the house, but we never intentionally destroyed the house.
The worst commercials tout new medicines. They lessen depression, cure psoriasis, and help with leaky bladders; you name a problem, there’s a medicine commercial for it. That we have so many cures for illness and conditions is something for which to be thankful, at least until the narrator begins listing possible side effects from these drugs. I’m not so sure that those possibilities are worth taking the stuff. At the same time, pharmaceutical companies spend big bucks to promote their products, which most of us can’t afford to take anyway. Yes, some companies will offer help with costs for a while, but in the long run, patients either stop taking the medicine or shell out hundreds of dollars. The company grows richer, while the consumer grows poorer or sicker.
As I said, I like to watch television. What would be even better is to watch a television show that isn’t evenly divided between the story and commercials. I’d also like to finish a show without being in a rage over some actions of brats or some high-priced medicine. That’s what the DVR is for. It might be the best feature of any television provider.