Chris Johnson: I wonder what I'm missing between TV shows

May 26, 2013 

Before I got married, my TV watching was extremely limited. I'd watch sporting events and occasionally the news. Other than that, if it wasn't a rerun of "Scrubs," "Cheers" or "The Andy Griffith Show," I could probably do without it.

But my wife has a few TV shows she likes to watch, and some of them she has managed to drag me into -- such as "Bates Motel," "The Walking Dead" and "Keeping Up With The Biggest Bachelorette Dynasty Dancing Hoarders."

However, she doesn't watch TV like I once did -- and I'm not talking about lying around in holy underwear while eating a bag of Sweet Heat potato chips. I mean that she has this magical ability to record shows and then fast-forward through all commercials.

She calls this superpower "DVR," which stands for Delicious Veal Roast. And it is awesome to be able to bypass all commercials. If she is forced to watch live TV events and a commercial appears, she yells at the screen at first and later curls up shaking in the fetal position on the floor should she happen to endure the same commercial for the third or fourth time. If DVR is her superpower, commercials are her kryptonite.

If she changes the TV to a channel and a commercial is on, she refuses to stick around, no matter what. Even if the guide says that Jesus himself is going to be on channel 101 -- with a special statement, "I actually meant everything I said" -- she will have to set the DVR to record so we can watch it later. (Although, it's more likely we would see him misquoted in some Facebook meme long before we got around to watching it.)

Of course, I have the same issue when it comes to radio. I can't listen to commercials. That's why I've got Pandora and Spotify. I do enjoy listening to sports talk and right-wing shows on the regular radio when I'm driving, but those seem to be the worst offenders of having too many commercial breaks and so few commercials that you hear the

same ones over and over. When a commercial comes on, I'm violently thrusting my finger at the presets to change the channel.

But TV commercials never bothered me until now. I always saw them as an opportunity to grab a drink from the fridge or go to the bathroom. Now that I rarely see them, I wonder if they've changed in recent years.

I wonder if all truck commercials still have voice-overs by gravelly-voiced tough guys insinuating that you're a girl if you don't buy this truck that can tow Stone Mountain as if it were a Nerf football. Wouldn't the truck be just as tough if Pee Wee Herman did the voice-overs?

I wonder if beer commercials still feature young yuppies in a racially diverse group drinking in moderation. Wouldn't it be fair to offset that image every now and then by showing four 50-something white fellows guzzling beer and drunkenly jumping into a gator-infested swamp from the top of their Confederate-flag-bearing RV that they converted into a houseboat with Bubba puking off the back?

I wonder if medicine commercials still spend two seconds explaining how new Noitchin stops that itch and 28 seconds explaining how it does have a few mild side effects like explosive diarrhea and death.

I wonder if erectile dysfunction drugs still feature monogamous couples sitting by the ocean or if they also now include great-grandpa chasing women around the retirement village in his turbo-powered wheelchair or some rich CEO trying to impress the gold-digging 20something for whom he just left his wife of 30 years.

And is every other commercial still a lawyer expressing great interest in helping you sue any drug maker with such lines as, "Did you once take Noitchin? Did you suffer side effects such as one fingernail growing slightly longer than the other? We sure hope so because you might be entitled to a dollar or two from a multitrillion-dollar lawsuit, 33 percent of which will go to the law firm of Dewey, Cheatem & Howe, of course."

I guess I'll just have to keep wondering about those. I'm just thankful I don't have to endure political ads from either party insinuating that the other candidate's policies will threaten old folks, kill jobs, make the rich richer and the poor poorer, harm children, endanger the planet, gamble away the future, be a slave to corporations, create a welfare state and destroy America as we know it.

Of course, you have to take those commercials with a grain of salt because we all know no one candidate can do all of that. It takes 535 politicians to accomplish such a feat.

Chris Johnson is an independent correspondent. Connect with him at or

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