As previously detailed in the hereabouts, I have a mild addiction to Studio 60. Not only that, pretty much all the drama on TV that really passes muster (read: gets on my Sky+ series link) can be found with an American accent on one of the 4 channels. (That’s not as in “one of four channels” because that’s just stupid: I have Sky and therefore a zillion channels, most of them pap. One of the 4 channels meaning Channel 4, E4, More4 or Another4*)
What this means, apart from the fact that I’m essentially paying my television licence fee in order to sit and watch dramas from the other side of the Atlantic whilst my money gets frittered away on 2 Pints of Lager and a Packet of God-Awful Soap Operas, is that I spend most of my viewing time fast-forwarding between ComparetheMarket.com idents which would appear to crop up almost randomly within any given Channel 4 show.
I fully suspect that were I, in my late-afternoon stupor, to sit and watch an entire hour of Richard and Judy, I would find that they’ve replaced the You Say, We Steal Your Money feature with Same Car, Dramatic Difference.
It’s not even really the fact that by the time you’ve seen them for the 44,352nd time they get a bit repetitive, same-y and repetitive. It’s the arbitrary way in which they are shoe-horned into the programs that really gets my goat (if I had a goat).
I know it’s unfair to blame it on ComparetheMarket.com, but hey – we live in a world where it’s necessary for Blue Peter presenters to apologise for the mistakes made by THEIR BOSSES to the littl’uns who wouldn’t even understand what they’d done wrong if they had it explained to them Very. Slowly. Seriously – if you’re old enough to understand what they did wrong, you shouldn’t be watching Blue Peter by now anyway. Go put your hoodie on and sit on a street corner with the rest of the degenerate youth of today.
The timing of the ad breaks in Channel 4 dramas is so ridiculously out-of-place as to be almost comical. I say “almost” because despite it’s cosey up nicely to the mistress of mirth, I still find myself throwing objects at the screen every time they break the flow of a scene to blare 5 more minutes of capitalist propaganda (too far – sorry, go all high-horse Marxist in the middle of my rant there…). It’s getting worse, too. Last night it was the TV remote, which threatened serious damage. Tonight I damn near through K at it.
I KNOW the Americans have a very weird system of throwing ads in almost willy-nilly, but at least they do it at moments that feel right to the show – in fact, all shows on Network TV in America are written AROUND the ad breaks, they actually plan for them when they’re knocking out the scripts.
So why oh why oh why oh why and a few more why of whys can’t Channel 4 either ride shotgun with the Americans and surrender to their ad patterns or – at the very least – work the ads into a sensible spot in the drama.
I’ve lost count of the number of times an episode of Brothers and Sisters has stomped all over the emotional denouement of a scene to go to commercials mid-thought, when there is a fade-to-black which pops up within 2 minutes of the return of the break. Would it kill them to hold off on the ads for another 120 seconds? Would the regulators go bananas? Would their ad clients be raging on the phone? I’m going to guess not – if for no other reason than I chose to heap all of my scorn for the shoddy ad-break practices of Channel 4 Television onto ComparetheMarket.com who have the misfortune of having spend hudreds of thousands of pounds on a sponsorship package for shows which get ruined by arbitrary commercial breaks thrown in by editors with no sense of emotional beats or story arcs.
So come on, people, sort yourselves out. We clearly can’t all enjoy US TV series ad-less, like Heroes on BBC 2, but at the very least we can stop the ad breaks being quite so unflinchingly (or is that flinchingly?) annoying.
I’m starting the Campaign for Correct Placement of Ad Breaks (or, rather more niftily, I think, CFCPOAB) today – to run right alongside Save My Remote Control.
*May or may not be a real 4 channel.
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- Nope, we got nada!