Exploring being female (for that's what we are) in a world of media myths, publishing incompetence, and marketing madness -- as well as the female submission and subscription to those messages.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Mis-Selling To Americans

Because I enjoyed it so much, let's hear about the idiocy, ageism, and discrimination of media and advertising from one of the last episodes of Boston Legal, Juiced (Season 5, Episode 11).

Carl Sack (John Larroquette) in court, presenting a case to Judge Clark Brown (Henry Gibson), on the behalf of client Catherine Piper (the delicious Betty White):

Carl Sack: Your Honor, there may have been a time when it made practical business sense to exclude the old. But not today. Americans over fifty make up the fastest-growing market.

Attorney Jeremy Hollis: It's about money! Not how many-

Carl Sack: Really? Gee! Who would ever have guessed that? The baby boomers, now all over fifty, earn two trillion in annual income. That's trillion!

Attorney Jeremy Hollis: Madison Avenue is after discretionary spending.

Carl Sack: Yes, and people over fifty account for half of that too. Choose your statistic. Go ahead. I've got you. We've got more money. We spend more money. We watch more television, go to more movies. We buy more CDs than young people do. And yet we're the focus of less than ten percent of the advertising. All the networks wanna do is skew younger. Kid's shows for kids. You know, the ony show unafraid to have its stars over fifty is Bo.. (He stops himself.) Gee, I can't say it... (He looks and points directly into the camera) ...it would break the wall.

Judge Clark Brown: Mr. Suck!

Carl Sack: It's still Sack.

Judge Clark Brown: I can't tell the networks what shows to make!

Carl Sack: No. But you can order them not to discriminate! What they're doing, it intentionally excludes a class of society. That's bigotry. You know, we should be able to turn on our damn televisions and see something other than reality shows aimed at fourth graders. Game shows aimed at those slightly smarter than fifth graders. And scripted shows with dim-witted, sex-crazed twenty-somethings running around in suits or doctor scrubs. Old people, the ones with intelligence, don't wanna watch that crap! We're fed up! You know the networks might think we're dead! But we're not! We're very much alive, with working brains! Give me something to watch dammit!
Later, Carl catches his client speaking inappropriately with the judge and there's this juicy bit about television:
Carl Sack: Uh, you know Judge, in addition to there being little for us to watch, most of it stinks. (He pulls out his cell phone.) And it's partly this thing's fault.

Judge Clark Brown: What are you talking about?

Carl Sack: Well, a lot of people are on it. While they're watching. They no longer give television their undivided attention. We're either on the phone or texting. Or on the internet. So the producers, they dumb down the plots. Make it easier to keep up with while their viewers multitask.

Judge Clark Brown: Really?

Carl Sack: Kids nowadays watch an average of three hours of television a day. That's while being distracted! People over fifty-five, we watch six hours a day, and we really watch! So why aren't they programming for us? You know what? Do these idiots a favor, Judge. Send these network bozos a clue. Be a leader. We can't wait for Congress after all. Because... well they're bozos too.
The judge's verdict:
Judge Clark Brown: At first this case was like every other case brought by this ridiculous law firm. Ridiculous and outrageous. But I can't ignore ageism is one of the last socially condoned bigotries. And it is rampant in this broadcast network business. They consider those of us over fifty to be irrelevant! How is it possible that we are not even a part of the target demo when we watch the most television and spend the most money? My God! There are eighty-seven million of us and that number will grow by thirty-one million more by 2020. Are you telling me that it doesn't make sense to make television shows that we want to watch? If I am to assume that the industry is not run by a bunch of idiots, then I can only conclude that it's dominated by prejudice. This case stands. (Pounds gavel.) Adjourned.
Oh how I miss my Boston Legal.

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