Like most millennials, I refuse to pay for cable and hardly watch regular TV. Instead, I opt for Netflix and YouTube and whatever else I can watch after poaching passwords from friends for Hulu and Amazon.
That being said, I was watching live TV for the first time since the Super Bowl this week and had a revelation: “Oh wow, a commercial is on; how nice,” I thought, without even a hint of sarcasm.
When Netflix first became a big thing a few years ago, the allure of watching an entire show without commercials was thrilling because we all realized how much time commercials took up in our lives.
But now, I think it’s gone too far the other way.
I find myself getting sucked into shows for hours because my brain doesn’t get the forced pause for commercials.
What did we used to do during commercials back in the Stone Age?
I would get up and take care of a quick chore, or better yet, have a conversation with a friend about what just happened on the show and conspire about what was to come in the next scene.
Not too mention — dare I even say it — I actually enjoyed watching some commercials.
Have you ever gotten mesmerized by a perfume ad? I can’t seem to look away; they're my all-time favorite commercials.
It’s such a high quality production: There’s fancy music, a stunning setting, equally stunning models, and for 30 seconds, you get to pretend you’re in Monaco, or on the streets of Paris. It’s like reading the first paragraph of a really good adventure novel; you’re sucked in and want more.
If Versace or Dior made one of their perfume commercials into a movie, I would probably watch the entire thing and then order five bottles of the perfume online. That seems like a fair trade and just about the price of a movie ticket these days anyway.
Or, how about luxury car commercials? Highly produced and equally stunning scenes, plus for like five minutes after the ad, I seriously consider the likelihood of buying a car that would cost as much as my student loan debt.
I doubt that I’m alone on this. I watched four episodes of “Nurse Jackie” the other day and lost a huge chunk of my night. I wallowed in my guilt about my lack of productivity and watched another episode to feel better.
Aside from perfume and expensive car commercials, most of them make me want to claw my eyes out from boredom, so I do get up and act like I’m a productive member of society to avoid watching them.
Granted, there are commercials on YouTube, but they’re really short and you can usually skip them after a few seconds.
There’s really no solution to any of this. I miss commercials for the sometimes appealing nature and for the opportunity it provides me to realize how lazy I’m being.
I could divide up more of my screen time between watching live TV and Netflix, but let’s face it, that’s not happening.
I think the best take-away from this is when I see a commercial in the future I will appreciate its value even more, even if it’s just an ad for laundry detergent or lawn fertilizer.