Friday, December 04, 2009

Worst Product Placement Ever

My wife and I have been watching Bones at night (it's syndicated via TNT or TBS or Bravo - who can tell nowadays). It's yet another one of the 'police procedurals' that infest prime-time television, but it's also a cross-over with the medical procedurals that have been around for a while (so, in Hollywood speak, it's CSI meets House!). But while I don't like those other shows that much, Bones is a winner because of (a) the smart and funny writing, (b) the relatively open plot possibilities (they follow every type of grisly murder, even cold cases - and oh man, the grotesqueness is over the top), but most importantly (c) the ensemble cast is top-notch.

Ensembles are usually the silver-bullet for long running TV shows. That's one key reason why Star Trek has lasted so long, but also M.A.S.H., Mary Tyler Moore, Cheers, The West Wing - all of them went beyond the possibilities of plot because any small item can be fun to watch when the characters are well known enough to make even minor gestures or phrases payoff. Listen up Hollywood: this will save you a lot of grief.

Note, this is possibly why I have more trouble with Law & Order and such - same 2 cops, same 2 lawyers every time!

Anyway, down to the worst product placement: last night was a new episode on its home, non-syndicated, channel. In the plot, three of the geekier male characters are enthused to the point of distraction because 1 guy managed to score tickets to the best movie evah: Avatar! 'No way' you say. 'Yes way!' I retort.

The main subplot, thus, was how these three guys needed to camp out on line to await the film (even though they had tickets?! yes!) And were telling unbelievers that Avatar wasn't just a movie, it was the total geek experience. They knew all the trivia about the movie and how it was the bestest to ever be presented to modern eyes. Furthermore, not only did they wait on line for a few days - needing to make flimsy excuses to their boss for why they aren't doing their forensic work to catch the on-the-loose killer (because Avatar is more important!) - but while waiting on line, they meet a bunch of very hot, promiscuous women who intend to sleep with all three of these geeks.

Yes, Avatar is so cool that you need to skip your life-and-death deadline job to wait on line to see it even though you still have tickets. And while on line, you will meet and sleep with beautiful women. Got all that?

Now the first commercial of the first commercial break was for: what? Avatar, of course. No problems there. Why not? But the crass, blatant product placement within a normally decent show, made me look up the information on the network Bones is on - which I discovered was Fox. And you get one guess as to who produced "Avatar:" Fox again.

It all came together and I was repulsed. I will not see the movie, out of spite, for how crudely that tried to carry that off. What an insult to my intelligence as a viewer. Blah.

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