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Bad Ads: Televisionary Rants About Irritating TV Series One Sheets

It's that time of year again when the kids start heading back to school, FOX starts unveiling new series that it will only cancel a few episodes down the line, and the fall television season begins anew. It's a magical time this year when we're faced with an onslaught of new and flashy series and a flashy new network, even. (Hullo, CW!) It's also that time when the billboards and bus stations, not mention certain entertainment-oriented publications, around you seem to be suddenly occupied with imagery from those upcoming programs... and if anything they're driving you NOT to watch these shows. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am talking about those irritatingly cloying one-sheets that the networks plaster all over town to gawk at you as you drive to work in the mornings or clutter this week's Entertainment Weekly with reams of wasted paper. Not since the talking My Name is Earl magazine inserts from last season have ads irritated me quite this much... The most u

Televisionary Side Note: Fash and Kristen Bell

Is it just me or are you totally creeped out by the Old Navy " Fash " commercials that are currently airing in cineplexes around the country? Starring Veronica Mars ' Kristen Bell (with a cameo from former Veronica Mars co-star Tessa Thompson ), the commercials revolve around the adventures of Fash, a diminutive marionette who happens to be a serious ladies' man. The two spots currently airing, entitled "Football" and "Date," involve Fash's rebellious nature. The first involves Kristen Bell and Tessa Thompson swooning over Fash on the well-manicured campus of an unnamed university. (Hearst College, perhaps?) The second spot features Fash picking Kristen Bell up for a date and ruffling the feathers of her overprotective "parents" before kissing Kristen and speeding off in a vintage car. Both "Fash" spots completely weird me out. And not in a David Lynchian "Calvin Klein Obsession" commercial kind of way. I'm

"May We Have an Awesome Blossom": When Does TV Product Placement Go Too Far?

We've all noticed the sudden proliferation of product placement on television as it's become inescapable of late. Whether it's Venus razors on America's Next Top Model or Windex on HBO's Big Love , American television has become cluttered with shots of name-brand products, a trend which has lately carried over into actual program dialogue. Pundits have blamed the explosion of product placement on the popularity of TiVo and other DVRs that allow users to speed through (or erase entirely) commercial ad breaks, making it necessary to embed ads into the actual program. If less people are seeing the commercials, networks need to reassure their sponsors that their products are still being viewed. But when does product placement cross a line from a subtle nudge to a knock over the head? Reality shows have always been gluttons for product placement, whether it be competitors' rewards in the form of cars or luxury vacation excursions or, in the case of CBS reality ser