Because of all the anti-abortionist people protesting with their giant signs displaying the images of unborn, aborted fetuses on campus, this gem of a column I wrote for UCSB’s paper, The Daily Nexus, went unpublished. Why? Well, if you’re the Opinion Editor, what would you rather print, a column that dicusses the impact of the protestors or a column on how crappy local TV is? Nevertheless, I can still post my column here.
“As a loyal resident of Santa Barbara County for the past two years, I have learned to put up with a wide array of unique situations and occurrences. For instance, there will always be a steady stream of noise coming from Isla Vista on weekends. There are always going to be annoying tourists parading down State Street, with their bags of souvenirs and over-priced clothing, taking up valuable sidewalk space. The weather will always be about ten degrees cooler than in nearby sunny Los Angeles. The lagoon is always going to smell like a dinosaur shit and died in it. And you know what? That’s all fine and dandy. I can put up with such trite problems. There is, however, one thing that I cannot even begin to pretend to comprehend: the utterly horrible local television commercials.
“Unless you live under a rock or consider yourself too ‘indie’ to watch television, there’s no doubt that you’ve seen the utter crap that passes for commercials here in partly cloudy Santa Barbara. Let’s say you’re sitting down with your popcorn and beer getting ready to watch your favorite characters from The OC bitch about how shitty their rich, high school lives are, when suddenly, the local commercial block comes on. First there’s the dentist who, despite talking in a monotonous, serial-killer-esque voice, wants you to come into his office so he can look at your precious, valuable teeth. Next comes an ad for the Chicken Ranch, built on the one-joke premise of actors being dubbed over by ridiculous sounding voices telling the interviewer that they all love the Chicken Ranch. Let’s get one thing straight, Chicken Ranch; if you want me to come to your poultry parlor, you’ve got to dupe me better than that. Just when you think that commercials are over, up pops an ad for our esteemed newspaper, The Santa Barbara News-Press. I’m sorry, but do you think watching a guy make an ass out of himself by falling off a bike in front of his stereotypically suave boss is going to make me want to read your paper? And don’t even get me started on that damn metal detector.
“I’m all for advertising, that’s not my problem. My problem is that if I’m going to take a break from watching Kate and Jack deal with sexual tension in The Hatch (that’s a LOST reference for all of you non-followers out there), I’m going to want to be entertained. After the commercial, I want to be able to want to buy the product, vote for the candidate, or obtain goods and services at the location that I just wasted thirty seconds of my life watching an ad for. I don’t want to think about punching the 14 year-old kid who received a $5 gift certificate to McDonald’s and a case of Ritalin in exchange for being behind the camera for his or her father’s used car lot advertisement.
“It can’t be that hard to come over to UCSB or SBCC and find someone who’ll make a good commercial that doesn’t look like it was made by someone who ‘filmed a matrimony one time in the 70s.’ And while you’re at it, drop by our Dramatic Arts Department and pick up some actors. The people who ‘act’ in those commercials really need to stick to their day jobs. If acting is their day job, then they need to stop acting and start flipping patties at In N’ Out. Basically what I’m trying to say is that you need to get on the ball, businesses of Santa Barbara, because if you want me to buy your stuff, then gosh damn it, I want to feel like I just sat through The Godfather, not your six-year old’s first fencing match.”