12/5/16

What I learned from a night of tv: an insomniacs ethnographic study*



I struggle with sleeping like a normal human. Sometimes, it's my brain that refuses to shut off and I lay awake thinking of anything and everything (I mean, it doesn't have to be anything heavy...it can literally be my to-do list for the next day, or how I think I should reorganize my book collection...), other times its my body which seems determined to keep me awake via various aches and pains. Either way, its annoying as shit and I find that the most effective comfort and (eventual) remedy, is often television. I can't read or do anything productive, it never works. But middle-of-the-night reruns of some classic sitcoms**? I find it not only comforting but effective in lulling me to sleep (eventually being a key word here).

Being the abnormal human that I am, I've become quite amused by the commercials that play during the middle of the night. Some of them are really weird, and I'm convinced would never see the light of day. Of course, I can't just ignore them like the average viewer likely does. So instead, I compiled my thoughts on them to share with the world...

First off, it comes as no surprise that a majority of the commercials that play in the middle of the night are for drugs. Hell, during the day, it's the same thing. I can't watch an episode of NCIS without being told about this great new drug for the life debilitating problem of double chins (the horror!!). Well, they play during the middle of the night too. The medicalization of society is a fascinating, and clearly profitable business. How did we live when dry eyes, male balding and double chins were just part of the genetic lottery vs. being diseases we can treat?




I learned that if we go to the bathroom, no one must know about it. Leave no trace, and spray weird poo marketed perfumes. Because nothing says you just went to the bathroom like a room that reeks of weird fragrances. When I was little, my grandmother used to burn a match. Now there's poo-pourri and VIPoo. I shit you not (see what I did there?). These are the names...




Can't Sleep? It's your pillow! You need My Pillow! They're made here! They're the only pillow you will ever want or need! American innovation! Magic pillows!! Oooohhhhhh!

Or maybe its your pain keeping you up? Go ahead and knock yourself out. No really. Have some Tylenol PM

Constipated? Try Dulcolax!!

You can keep little green men away for twelve whole hours with Mucinex!

No one has conversations in real life like they do in drug commercials. Seriously. I don't sit down and have heart to hearts about my need and love for antacids. ...or do I??

Airborne. Lysol. Immunity vitamins. Germs. Germs. Germs. Baby Steps down the hall...





Then there are the ridiculous commercials advertising the cable and internet I already have. I will never understand this. What is the point?? Who are they trying to reach??

You also can't forget the weird, oddly placed 5am toy commercials. Magic Tracks and crazy princess castles. You know you want them. You know you need them. Oh baby, Oh baby.

Seriously though. Middle-of-the-night commercials are weird. They're 90% drugs with some strange As-Seen-On-TV products thrown in. What does that say about what they view as their market in the wee hours of the morning? Do people actually watch these commercials and feel compelled to seek out these products? Or do they watch and feel like they're eyes have been opened to the medical condition they never knew they had? Or are these commercials simply seen as filler for the late night/early morning hours and we should take them as the fodder they are? Like I said earlier, I'm sure most people just ignore them. My brain apparently does not have an off switch...



*and by study, I merely mean observations made while lying in bed unable to sleep. This was not done in any formal way, and my neurotic nerd brain felt this disclaimer was necessary.

**In the case of this particular night, the show was Roseanne. My go-to shows are The Golden Girls, and Frasier (and Cheers if its really late and I really, really cannot sleep), but The Hallmark Channel hates me and took my shows off the air before Halloween and they won't return until January, because you know...Christmas. We must have a 24/7 Christmas station right? Blegh! I will continue to bitch about this.

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