Sunday, March 05, 2006

More Grumbles About Advertising

I know that life's too short to get all worked up about little stuff and yada-yada-yada, but since I've started a trend complaining about the copy on fast food wrappers here and here, I might as well do one more.

We were at Burger King last night, where they're still using old tray liners from the launch of Chicken Fries. And the gist of the thing is to make a game out of eating your fried chicken bits by, you know, nibbling them like a carrot or eating them with your pinky extended like some society matron.

And they've got one idea under the heading "Professional." And this is what it says:

Self explanatory. Don't use your
hands. We know it's hard for
finger food stuff. Get creative.
Tip 'em back like a drink. Or
maybe use chopsticks.

See what bugs me? If you can't, read it again and see if there's anything a little, well, idiotic about that statement, besides the fact that Burger King doesn't have chopsticks.

Okay, here's the thing. They open the description with "Self explanatory," and then go on for five freaking sentences explaining this thing that doesn't need to be explained. And the kicker? The reason they had to explain "self explanatory" is that "Don't use your hands" is not the first thing that jumps to mind when you read the word "Professional." So it's most certainly not "self explanatory."


Okay, I feel better. But only slightly, because now we move from fast food to TV, where I must sadly inform you that UPN has decided to dub their hit reality series "America's Next Top Model" a dramality series.

What is dramality, you ask (assuming you're able to pronounce it - it does not trip easily off the tongue)? I ask, as well.

I know that one complaint about "reality" series like "Survivor" is that they are not real, in a very basic sense. They take a carefully selected group of people, place them into an engineered situation and painstakingly edit the resulting footage to create a compelling storyline. So in that sense, you could say dramality is a show that engineers drama out of unscripted material.

But then, there are also the dark rumors that "Survivor" cheats. They restage challenges with stunt doubles in order to get more dramatic camera angles, they cut backroom deals with favored contestants, they even arrange a call-in contest so that one of their most popular players (though far from the best) gets his own million. I've even heard a story that at least one player's ouster was set up by the crew off-camera. I'll give details if anyone comments wanting to know.

In short, could dramality be a tacit confession that, if nothing interesting is happening on the show, then the producers will engineer something? Could, say, Shandi's illicit Italian hot tub romp on "America's Next Top Model" (and all the ensuing long-distance drama with her boyfriend back home) have been set up by the producers just to wring some interesting TV out of her agony? Is that what dramality really means?

It's possible.

1 comment:

James Goodman said...

I am so burned out on all of this "reality TV" crap. My wife is a die-hard fan of nearly everyone and I...I am only thankful for the shows because they give me an opportunity to write undisturbed.