Wednesday, 16 June 2010

San Francisco and beyond probably one of the nicest cities I've ever been to. It's sunny, it's got cable cars and trams and things, and if you go to Pier 39 you can see Alcatraz AND a shit load of sea lions just chilling on some platforms out in the sea. See?

But what I really want to talk about is American TV. And the adverts.

Seeing as hotels are currently working out cheaper than hostels for some obscure reason, my accommodation now has the luxury of a TV. So last night, knackered from a night on a Greyhound bus and a day spent walking around the city, we stayed in and relaxed. Spag bol, a bottle of duty free gin; The Office, Family Guy, Simpsons and South Park on the telly.

But here's what I don't get.

It's bad enough that there's around four advert breaks breaking up one half hour episode of whatever you're watching, but when one of those ad breaks comes between the end of the show and the credits, before going straight in to an entirely new programme for two minutes, then back to an ad's enough to drive you insane.

Last night me and the Boyfriend sat there in our room absolutely baffled by the random scattering of adverts which interrupted our schedule of intellectual viewing.

"Why do they put up with this?" the Boyfriend exclaimed, after an episode South Park was interrupted for the fifth time. "It's infuriating!"

Then I tried to imagine your average viewer in the UK being subjected to any more than one advert break per half hour, without a country-wide roar of disapproval being voiced on several Radio 2 phone-ins and a mass mailing to Points of View the next day. I failed.

Which is why I'm looking forward to Thursday's destination of choice: Las Vegas. Apparently, our suite in the MGM Grand (oh yeah, I should mention that with 5 weeks left, the whole budget thing? Nah. Not happening) has not one, but two unnecessary TVs. So when one's showing adverts, we can just walk into the other room and watch something else. Which will come in very handy when I've got pissed, put the remainder of my travel fund on black in the casino, and lost. Genius, eh?

Ahhh. I'll see you after Vegas. Broke, happy, fat and married by Elvis*. Hurrah for excess.

*jokes. As in, we've joked about it. I won't. Promise.


Anonymous said...

The suites in the MGM Grand are lush, you'll enjoy that part of your trip.

The Unbearable Banishment said...

Las Vegas is like a horrible traffic accident that you can't take your eyes off. I'm glad you're paying a visit there. There's nothing like it. It's a great town for people-watching. The city is overrun with hoards of massive Americans all looking for the next buffet line. God, I wish I were there right now.

Martin said...

So jealous. I just got back from a similarish jaunt, hadn't been to SF since I was a wee little boy, still enjoyed the hanging-off-the-side-of-a-cable-car, which, in the grand scheme of things, isn't terribly dangerous, but feels strangely exhilarating.

I f*cking *love* Vegas, and I have no idea why, but I do. It's like Disney Land for grownups. And you can smoke indoors. I shall forever fondly remember it as the place where I proved, once and for all, that there is no such thing as "too much bacon", and that an all-you-can-eat-and-drink champagne brunch at midday makes the afternoon, evening, and early morning just swim by effortlessly.

London-Lass said...

Given that the average ad break on Sky is now almost 6 minutes long - am sure it wont be long before the powers that be decide to break up our adverts into mini bite size portions throughout our favourite programmes. Speaking of ads during programmes, you probably missed out on the furore that was caused by ITV `mistakenly' inserting a car advert just as the England football game started last w/end - meaning that it's HD viewers ended up missing our first (and only) goal of the game.

PS : I loved Las Vegas - couldnt get enough of it. I should drag The Chuppies there one of these days ... although definitely NOT to one of the little wedding chapels. Not, not, not.

James said...

San Francisco is a great city---what next after Vegas?

I was surprised by the tv commercials when I moved to the US, and still find them odd. But in practice I rarely watch them---that's the magic of tivo.

not twitter said...

Was is Mericay each of the last 2 years. Watching TV drove me crazy, couldn't keep track. A program would start and you'd blink and the ads would be on again, thought I'd had a blackout.

Worth getting someone to take a couple of pics outside a wedding chapel with an Elvis or Dolly and you in a dress with a posie if only to send home and scare the bejaysus out of friends and family.

Grump said...

They do a similar thing on Australian TV. I still can't watch commercial tv here with any degree of happiness.

lapa said...

I miss you

Ellie said...

Jokes are good.

I can't remember what we need about the advertising dilemma. Probably just sat through them patiently. Until they invented TIVO.

Robbie said...

I've been to the US a few times. That before credits/new show ad break always confused me. And I was very young at the time. Strange to see they still roll like that.

Looking forward to the Wedding photos*
*Joking as much as you guys are.

Please Don't Eat With Your Mouth Open said...

Perp - the suites were amazing.

Unbearable - Thats spot on, there's nothing like it. It's an incredible place.

Martin - Thats Vegas to a T. Disneyland for adults. A crazy place, we did everything you described and had no idea what time it was ever.

Londonlass - ha! We caught a snippet of the ITV furore, the Boyfriend keeps his eye on the BBC news website.Thought that was so funny. Not for the England supporters, natuarally. Bet there was a typically British uproar.

James - Next up is Phoenix, Arizona. And Tivo would save my sanity if I lived in the US.

Not twitter - Brilliant idea. We were very tempted to do the whole facebook "married" location "vegas" and a photo outside the forever chapel in the MGM, but then we just got drunk and forgot about it.

Grump - Shocking how many adverts we're subjected to a day isn't it?

Lapa - You're back!

Ellie - Yeah, Tivo seems to be saving the world at the moment. TV companies must be ruing the day.

Robbie - Haha, definite jokes. The Boyfriend keeps getting emails from friends asking if he's married yet.

jman said...

The reason there are so many adverts is there is no tv license in the US - the price one pays for "free" tv. Of course now everyone pays for cable and if one wants advert free tv, one has to pay even more for channels like HBO. You can guarantee the adverts will come on after they have you hooked, then somewhere in the middle and then just before the climax to the show (where if you have watched this far they know you won't change the channel). They used to have a bunch between shows but then they wised up and often go right into the next show to stop you from seeing what else is on other channels. Once you are invested then bam, adverts.


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