Remember when we’d get shitfaced and call 800 numbers to order as-seen-on-TV products? Who could rebuff he Shake Weight, Thigh Master, Bumpits and Booty Pop?
Or those “Just Kidding” prank VHS video gems that were only $9.99 in the 90s? (Order now and receive the blooper reels for free.)
Who else watches network TV with me every night? Don’t be shy.
I see you, wrapped like an adorable burrito in an afghan, snoring on a recliner, a cache of essentials to your right: bunion pads, baby aspirin, Reader’s Digest, butterscotch candies, a landline telephone and a cup of prune juice.
Twinsies. (But mine’s cheap wine.)
Ads these days aren’t like those old-school gems. They don’t offer tangible objects to donate to a second-hand store after collecting dust for years. Nor do they provide an option to vacuum that erratic bush of pubic hair into a sweet mohawk like the Flowbee once did.
Let’s watch together. See that diverse cast of humans strolling along the sunny beach? Now they’re laughing and lollygagging over a plate of hot dogs at a neighborhood pool party. Hey, look, grandma is doing an impossibly flexible yoga pose on that rocky shoreline. And that cool dude over there is drumming with a spoon on his knee.
A spoon as a drumstick? Heavens to Betsy. Now I’ve seen everything.
What do all of these carefree humans have in common? Clearer skin and less joint pain.
(Meanwhile we’re over here medicating our sciatica and carpal tunnel nerve damage with varieties of plums and fermented grapes on the rocks.)
Pharmaceutical ads are out of control. They pop up like a dozen times an hour. Statista.com told me that Humira spent almost $5 million on TV spots in 2019.
“Things are gettin’ clearer, yeah I feel free, to bare my skin, yeah that’s all me,” sings that cringe-tastic Skyrizi jingle nonstop. Nonstop in my head. Forever. Nongoddamnstop.
Unlike the vintage infomercials that used their TV time with an old man squawk unnervingly loudly about the product, these drug ads place us in a serene landscape, then transport us into 40 seconds of disturbing side effects in the 60-second spot.
Sure, there’s the typical fever, cough, muscle aches, shortness of breath, diarrhea or stomach pain, but you may also experience bloody phlegm, constipation, painful red body sores and burning when you urinate. This can cause serious and fatal bleeding. You may bruise more easily. It may increase your risk of certain cancers and can lower the ability of your immune system to fight infections. Serious infections may be caused, including tuberculosis shingles and skin cancers.
If you take a higher dose of this medication, there is an increased risk of death.
But please, you do not want to go another day without this pill.
Yet the commercials don’t show any of these fountain-of-youth old fuckers with side effects. That one old broad is violently shaking a tambourine and dancing like her hip isn’t about to shit the bed. She’s not itching her burning crotch either.
But at least we know what we’re in for when we feel like crushing up and snorting some Eliquis. It’s good to know that my tennis elbows can be soothed with a minor trade-off of pissing fire and bubbling body sores.
I really need to find another nighttime hobby.
At least I’m not hate-scrolling Netflix for three hours then passing out angry because I can’t make a damn decision on what to stream. No. Instead I’m letting pharmaceutical companies burrow into my brain and stamp their horrible jingles on me.
This makes me feel gassy and old.
But in the end, all the ads are just a mere break in the “Dateline” mystery, and really, is watching grandma bend over in yoga pants all that bad when that smokeshow Keith Morrison is just on the other side of the break?
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