“What kind of smoothie do we have today?” asked Tim.
Banana. It will be out in a minute. You know, I’m glad you brought that up, because that’s what I hate most about television.
“What? I didn’t bring anything up. Especially anything I wanted you to expound upon this morning. Can’t we just have our smoothie?” Tim looked out of the garden, hoping for some neighborhood reinforcements.
In just a moment, I said, ignoring his comment. You take one of those shows like E-T. Is that still on? You know, the entertainment shows that come on between 6:00 and 8:00 in the evening and tell you all the celebrity news that you don’t need to know. They have so little to say that they spend all of their time selling you on the hope that they will say it.
“What are you talking about?” said Tim.
I’ll bet if you took a stopwatch to those shows you would find how little of it is devoted to content. We know most of it is a commercial, but what they hide is that most of the commercials are for the show itself. Even the content of the show is a disguised commercial.
“What are you talking about?” Tim said again.
They tell you about something, you know, like who Ben Aflack is going out with. Then they say, “coming up next, Where they went last night.” Then they come back from commercial and they tell you what they just told you a minute ago – just watch, sometimes they use the exact same words. “Ben Aflack is going out with Creamy Bunns.”
Then they add more content, “…and they went to Sergeant’s for dinner.”
Then they say, “More in a minute.”
Then they go to another commercial or to another story, which is a teaser for their next story: “Next, we’ll show you what we’ve been telling you about all week. And, you will not believe what you are going to see. But first, the sous chef at Sergeant’s will tell us about what Ben and Creamy did not like on the menu.”
Most of what they do is prepare you for the next thing they are going to say later.
- “Next on E-T…
- “Coming up…
- “Later in the show…
- “Just ahead…
- “In a moment…
- “Tomorrow on E-T
- “After the break…
All they have to sell is commercials and what’s coming up next. They’re selling you hope by the minute. Hope for the future.
Tim said cautiously, “About that smoothie?”
Banana Smoothie (serves two): 1 banana, ½ cup vanilla yogurt, ¾ cup frozen peaches, 1 cup frozen strawberries, 1 tablespoon Tang, orange juice to fill.