Thursday, July 12, 2007


Those of you who don't live in New York probably don't have to sit through 1.800.okaycable's mind-searingly tedious ads. They apparently dig up local bands and pay them enough to shill.

The first one wasn't /so/ bad... It was a group called Early Edison singing about the wonders of one bill for digital cable, internet and long-distance. The lead singer was also passingly cute, so I wasn't grossly offended when it came on 18 times during my People's Court episode each day, and the bassist looked so OTT that I usually giggled.

Here, for your viewing pleasure:

But take a minute and consider the subtext. Apparently, this girl doesn't ever leave the house, and needs to talk to her mother, thousands of miles away, nigh-constantly. She clearly has some psychological issues. The lead singer of the band -- who admits to paying all of these expenses for her -- eyeballs her constantly the way Sebastian the dog eyes a ham, then turns her into a muse of cable advertising. Again, we see some weird obsessive action going on there.

And then there's the guitarist playing like he's trying to save his life.

Were it not for the lively Top 40 Pop/Rock music, it could be a play by Samuel Beckett. But given the music, I'd say it's clearly a verfremsdungeffekt on the part of the singer/actors and this is a modern-day attempt at Brecht.

Now, one would think -- and having been in such bands, written for such bands and played such bands on teh radios, I would consider myself one -- that they may just want to distance themselves from such crass commercialism. But no. Apparently (again, one hopes under the influence of something fun) they do this live:

Here, for your schadenfreude pleasure:

But this ad's run is over. Pseudo-sniff.
Fortunately for those who like local bands, but not enough to go see them or enough to hear their own unadulterated music, 1.800.okay.cable struck again.
This time it was Astoria's own Future86. (And to think, I could have been their neighbour!)

This one, a mid-tempo little ballad that speeds up to a ska-sound didn't exactly have the bizarrely sincere charm of the Early Edison stalkers and their agoraphobic fixation.
In fact, there was no little plot to tell us quite why this chick and her band were in a warehouse (or possibly a very empty cathouse) singing about digital cable.
When the tempo changes, the chick starts caterwauling about wanting it all and doing some third-tier Madonna-esque*posing in a wind tunnel that has suddenly sprung up (insert your own joke about sucking here) and the band doesn't even have the dignity not to look vaguely distasteful. Then, thankfully, the 30-second spot ends.

And so did the ad's campaign.

But wait! There's more! Just this week 1.800.okay.cable's come back with a /60/ second version. The first one caused an apartment-wide leap onto the Tivo remote -- Sebastian the dog not excluded -- to fast forward through the ad. This one causes the same, but... more. It makes me afraid to watch TV at all -- you never know when it's going to be put on the air, or what network. It lurks, like an evil shark, behind the pixels ready to jump whenever you're weak or unready. When you go for a pee during the commercials, there it is. Up for a snack? Its notes reverberate on your turned back. It will consume you. Fear Future86. Fear their love of package internet deals. Fear Spangly cami-tops and Leopard-print guitar straps. Fear Her.**

*I'm thinking either "Vogue" or something off Erotica, like "Deeper and Deeper"
**What? You think I'd get through an entire post with no Doctor Who references?!

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