Category Archives: tv

The many lessons provided by commercials on antenna TV channels

I just want you all to know that I live a very rich life in between drunk dialing Pizza Hut at 10 pm and eating stuffed crusts while I cry myself to sleep. And one part of that richness, is watching bizarre half channels on my old person TV antenna that I purchased for $15 at RadioShack before that closed down. (*)
you life antenna

With all of the marathons of Frasier and The Nanny available daily, I never have to leave the apartment again. I’ve taken to MeTV, thisTV, Antenna TV, and Cozi TV like a fish that doesn’t want to leave the comfort of her home because of social anxiety and laziness. I’ve found a deep love for endless Sundays spent watching In the Heat of the Night and Cagney & Lacey, and the entire block of programming found on Decades (tonight it will include a solid four hour block of the Bob Newart show, which I’ll watch before switching over to Rowan & Martin’s Laugh In and ending the evening watching Dick Cavett be such a card).
dick cavett

The additional benefit of watching antenna TV  – both my antiquated antenna-ness of it all, and the actual programming itself – is the targeted advertising. My television believes that I am a senior between the ages of 65 to question mark. And because of TV’s belief, I have gained so much insight into worlds that were previously closed off to me – particularly the heinous tactics of targeted advertising for that demographic. For example, because of this advertising I now know a lot more about the Shingles virus. Shingles is like unsexy herpes for the elderly but all over their bodies and not just their mouth parts and nasties.

Also, a lot of stuff about Type 2 Diabetes (I don’t know why I’m capitalizing these illnesses and ailments, other than it’s how they’re emphasized on antenna TV). But Type 2 Diabetes isn’t as SWOL as Shingles, so I usually just tune out during those ‘uns. However, it appears that if I get old, according to the medication commercials, I won’t be able to avoid it so Imma put a pin Type 2. Though, according to the numerous pharmaceutical commercials, medication that appears to cost kind of a lot is the only way to manage this.

[I am not putting photos of either examples in here because the image searches made me upset]

One the better targeted marketing campaigns I am regularly exposed to is the gorgeous and resplendent actuality of walk-in tubs. Everyone knows what these jawns are, right? They are, honestly, fucking amazing: they’re therapeutic and safety-providing sit-down bathtubs, which offer comfortable bathing solutions to their owners. [SIDE NOTE: IT’S FUCKING OUTRAGEOUS THAT MEDICARE AND MEDICAID OFTEN DON’T COVER THE COST OF THESE, AND THAT THESE SHOULD BE MORE AFFORDABLE AND ACCESSIBLE FOR THOSE THAT NEED THEM].

There is no reason for me to have a walk-in tub, as the only therapeutic necessity this tub would provide me is the ability to drink my shower beers and wallow in existential dread while Randy Newman’s Baltimore plays outside the tub and I suppurate self-pitying tears on any given Thursday.

Yet, still I crave – selfishly. I want them so much that I regularly Google-search price points, as though I could place one over the claw toothed crumble that sits in my asbestos bathroom where I indulge in being the garbage bathtub witch of your swampy dreams.
tub witch

So much, so, that this arrived in my email the other day:

walk in bathtub you life

Tell me more, plz

And it lead me on a pictorial adventure, which I will share here:

walk in bathtub you life 2

This model was so nice that I actually made a, I’m not even being snarky or insincere, vision board about maybe getting one

walk in bathtub you life 3

They illustrated why these tubs are do damn dope

walk in bathtub you life 5

So, I called for a quote and to see if I could finance one only to  discover that I am not qualified – as per my credit – for the bathtub.

I would like to repeat: these should be a more viable and affordable option for people that actually need them (and not self-indulgent narcissists on the internet).


The sort of wild thing about the marketing on these shows is how manipulative and corrosive they become. The fear tactics and inevitability of the necessity of a lot of these items is super duper rooted in greed feeding upon the guilt and distress of their potential consumer. Because most capitalistic tactics are gross, here is one of the most outrageous examples of marketing on antenna TV:

While I might dodge a diabetes bullet (see earlier in this post), what is unavoidable is death. TV commercials have taught me that. And I would be greatly remiss to not get into the magic and the majesty of a commercial that was so outlandish I couldn’t be sure that I hadn’t hallucinated it while horking on a swisher. It’s called, “I’m dead now what,”

i'm dead now what

this is not a still from Beetlejuice

and it’s all about an end-of-life binder and it’s hosted by fucking Anson Williams (Potsie of Happy Days).


Do you have a minute to talk to this guy about the inevitable unrelenting cruelty of the ever-mowing scythe? Get ready.

A wikipedia hole and an entire day after watching the above, I learned that death binders are not a modern concept created by Potsie and affiliates. This metal as fuck model has been around for hella time. It actually has a couple of different names (the concept not the aforementioned specific product): the everything binder, the family emergency binder, the legacy binder. Essentially, it’s a three-hole trapperkeeper (like you carried in grade school if you’re old as hell like me, only with less Lisa Frank designs…or the same, you be you) that carries all relevant information regarding how you’d like your loved ones to handle your funeral and end-of-life plans.


This is the one that I own and had no idea it could be so multi-faceted

The larger, and honestly pretty good idea, is that if you’re well prepared for your own death it will eliminate the stress your family and loved ones will face upon your expiration. Like step-by-step financial guides and what music should be played while you’re getting jettisoned into the ether.

I even found a “Create Your Own Death Binder,” website that I entertained for a day before that started to get realllllll weird and reallllllll irrelevant since I have no finances to take care of and all my friends know my final wishes: that Naughty by Nature’s “Jamboree” is played at my funeral.


Featuring Zhane. Also, this is 100% true and I’ve had that plan for my funeral set-up in a will since I was 23.

Back to Anson Williams and “I’m dead now what,” which is backed by easily the strangest spokesperson that if someone said this was a play written by Mamet, I’d be, like, “Oh yeah, that checks out and makes a lot more sense than this bizarre reality.”

The main pitch is, “The peace of mind planner created to protect your family’s future,” and it’s only $19.99 plus bonus internet address (don’t know what that means) and password log book. I want to draw your attention back to the fact that it is twenty bucks for a binder and, what I think is, an online chat room.

All of this is sort of supplemental to the marketing of this product (matter-of-fact, this whole post, is in fact to one degree or another about the predatory nature of marketing and how advertisers manipulate people who watch these programs, only it’s far more insidious on television that’s entirely free). Because when doing research on the above product, I found this real crowd pleaser: the marketer of this folder commercial hosted by an actor who clearly had to face himself in the mirror and say, “they picked me because of the fragility of my future mortality,” is that Top Dog (yes, that’s the marketer’s name) is not afraid to really diversify their portfolio, as “I’m dead now what?” is only one of the very ambitious products they market. They also market problem solvers called BeActive, inappropriate and insane novelties called Tiny Tyrants (it’s doll versions of dictators in case you want to feel really fucked up and gross about yourself), Catholic memorabilia (Visitation Cross), and – of course – sex toys: One Massager.

Which leads me to wonder, what kind of television channels do I need to see those commercials? Because I’m interested.


  *  A quick internet search just actually confirmed that RadioShack has not entirely closed its electronic sliding doors – just the one in West Philadelphia. I know nothing, Jon Snow.
you know nothing jon snow


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Which mythical creature am I?

This is who I wanted to get, y’all. I feel so blessed
which mythical creature are you

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Before The Trip To Belize

I kind of bailed on Fan Fiction, huh? Well, here is a grand return to Fan Fiction of Failure. It features the fictioning of Breaking Bad by Emerson student Jenna Danoy, the soothing vocals of our favorite Anthony J, and the hasty artwork of The Law Offices of Van Noss².

Welcome to the most uncomfortable Fan Fiction yet.


The moment Jesse, battered and broken, finished with their most recent batch, Walt took him in his arms.
“Good job, Jesse,” Walt said, stroking Jesse’s face with a tender thumb. He pressed his erection, which had been growing as he watched Jesse cook, against the younger man’s back. “I’m…very proud of you.”
Jesse turned around to face him. Walt noticed that his crystal blue eyes that matched the meth were full of tears.
“You’ve never said that before,” Jesse said, his rough voice cracking over the syllables the way he had just cracked the sheet of meth into a million little crystals.
The sincerity aroused Walt. He felt himself stirring, beneath his tighty-whities, and he took Jesse’s face in his hands.
“What do we do now?” Jesse asked, slipping his hand over Walt’s wrinkled one.
“Isn’t it obvious?” Walt breathed.

Jenna Danoy is a senior Writing, Literature & Publishing major at Emerson College. In addition to giving voice to Walter White’s deepest, darkest dreams, she enjoys baked goods, crafty television dramas, writing (good) short fiction, and iced green tea. Her short fiction has been published in Concrete Literary Magazine, and one of her plays was produced for the stage in high school. Hang out with her on Twitter @jenna_danoy
Anthony J never provides a bio but he’s got a bangin’ voice
The Law Offices of Van Noss² still hasn’t recovered from the end of Breaking Bad

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It’s just one of those days

Am I right, or what?

Am I right, or what?

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It’s a rare condition, this day and age, to read any good news on the newspaper page.

Albeit a bit late, but this installment of fan fiction of failure is sure to ruin your 90s childhood. You Life is Not So Great is proud to present:

It’s a rare condition, this day and age, to read any good news on the newspaper page.
by: Eric Z
voiced by: Joanna
art by: the Law Offices of Van Noss²

photoCarl collapsed into his seat. His hands trembled as he smoothed the front of his blue police uniform. Eddie, seated adjacent, offered a food-garbled “Dad” and a nod between bites.

“What’s for dinner?” Carl asked, ignoring his son.

Harriette transferred the burned contents from a pan on the battered range to a Corningware plate.

“Nice to see you too,” she said putting the plate down in front of her husband.

Carl drew a deep breath.

“A little boy got killed today, Harriette. Seven fucking years old.” Carl’s voice wavered. “Dead on his way to school.”

Without warning, the backdoor flew open. A shelf of knickknacks fell to the counter in its wake, all but a few breaking.
“Did I do that?” Steve said in mock surprise.

Carl was silent as he left the kitchen. His dinner remained untouched on the table long after Winslow family went to bed.


Eric Z is best known for his contributions to such periodicals as Modern Dad Magazine: A Magazine for Modern Dads and Dad Fancy: A Fancy Dad’s Guide to Modern Living. He collects Fabergé egg and sometimes remembers his grandmother’s birthday (Editors Note: October…18…sometime in mid-October). Mr. Z coined the phrase “I live my life a quarter mile at a time” and fuck you for saying differently. You can sort of find more of his stuff at Reel 9 Productions

Joanna has the voice of an angel and is cooler than you (You Life is Not So Great took some liberties writing her bio)

The Law Offices of Van Noss² – the popular mantalope – is not allowed to play D&D anymore



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Conversation topics with my dearest friend

Obviously my cats are my best friends. The only problem with that is their ability to communicate back is somewhat truncated; the conversation is mostly one-sided and responses are generally meows and shedding. Whenever I need to have the deep, soul barring conversations that are so necessary in deep relationships I turn to my other best friend.

giving me the good advice

giving me the good advice

Cats can really only give me so much biased self-validation. When I need tough unbiased love, I consult Google. And here is a sample of the sorts of deep and searching questions that I address to Google when needing to divine the meaning of only the important existential crises

the big questions

When reinspecting my most recent talks with Google I noticed that the searches look exactly like what a teenager from the 90s would ask (if they had Google! Unlucky sods). It also is representative of someone who has almost exclusively been watching Jurassic Park and Degrassi: The Next Generation for the last two weeks because all of their other DVDs are packed away.

And when asking the big questions, Google is sure to deliver with the results. Such as bringing up this gem pertaining to my Jimmy Brooks question (also known, currently, as Drake).

I am confused...wasn't Drake shot in real life in order to make his Degrassi performance for authentic?

I am confused…wasn’t Drake shot in real life in order to make his Degrassi performance more authentic?

Cause, like, he was in a wheelchair in the show. But now that he's a musician he can walk again. What's the deal, Google?

Cause, like, he was in a wheelchair in the show. But now that he’s a musician he can walk again. What’s the deal, Google?

Thank you Google, for filling my apartment with laughter. But also thank you for filling me with consternation pertaining to the state of education in the United States, and the infrequency that our children are required to learn about Helen Keller. She was the one in the wheelchair that also created stickers in the 90s, right?

A recreation of Helen Keller overcoming her obstacles.

A recreation of Helen Keller overcoming her obstacles.

Thank you, Google

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Down Town Abbey (see what I did there?)

While at work I love to illegally stream television.

Downton Abbey is my favorite for a very specific reason (other than the giant hats) :

hilarious juxtapositions

Two things I love: William stumbling over speech and Asian women looking for love

Two things I love: William stumbling over speech and Asian women looking for love

But there was no such grandness that existed before this:

Dame Maggie Smith, how many sperms are swimming?

Dame Maggie Smith, how many sperms are swimming?


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