Where's The Beef?

When you tell anybody under 18 that there used to be only 3 TV channels you could watch (ABC, NBC, CBS--and sometimes an independent), they just laugh. And when you further tell them that everybody had to sit down and watch the show at exactly the same time--or they would miss it, it seems really ridiculous.

You have probably forgotten that with only 3 TV channels, when there was a hot show, everybody would come to work or school the next day and be talking about it all over America. What you really have forgotten is that not only would everybody be talking about the show, but they would be talking about the commercials as well!

TV commercials became an art form in America in the 1950's, 1960's and 1970's.

Whether it was "See The USA In Your Chevrolet," "Plop...Plop...Fizz...Fizz," "Two All-Beef Patties Special Sauce Lettuce Cheese Pickles Onions On A Sesame Seed Bun," and the most famous of them all--"Where's The Beef?," Americans were obsessed for decades with television commercials. As if they were an important contribution to culture and the arts.

It wasn't until the introduction of the VCR and recently the TIVO that you could skip the commercials and focus on the content. The emphasis on TV commercials fortunately only comes up once a year now. During the Super Bowl.

And the rest of the media goes along with it--promoting it with prime time TV shows such as "The Greatest Super Bowl Commercials Ever" and major Internet sites holding contests with advanced previews (How Exciting!) of ads that will actually run during the event.

Really Folks. Get A Life. Get Some Culture. No wonder Americans seem like unsophisticated yokels and yahoos (yes the word actually had a meaning once) to people from many foreign countries.

The next time you think that your life will be enhanced by watching TV commercials as an art form, try this. Here is a list of ten foreign films that you need to see sometime in your life. Go rent one:

1. Cinema Paradiso
2. Umbrellas of Cherbourg
3. Amelie
4. The Bicycle Thief
5. 1900
6. M
7. Metropolis
8. Run Lola Run
9. Il Postino
10. The Seventh Seal