TBS Fails the Judgment Test

It’s 11:50 pm and the Red Sox just beat the Angels to win the American League Division Series.  With Tampa Bay on deck later this week, I should feel great, but I don’t.  The culprit?  The advertising executives at TBS.

This series is being broadcast on TBS which seems to have no sensitivity to the fact that kids like to watch baseball, and their loving parents sometimes let them stay up to watch playoff games.  Not the whole game – it’s a school night after all – but we let our 11 and 9 year old kids watch the first hour.  An hour which included a number of ads with content that is totally inappropriate for young kids.  Three examples:

  • Viagra.  Have you seen the one where the husband finds his wedding tuxedo in the attic, puts it on and surprises his wife before sweeping her into his arms and carrying her upstairs?  Gee, I wonder what they have in store.  And what kid won’t pick up on the disclaimer, delivered in Dolby digital surround sound, to “ask your doctor if your heart is healthy enough for sex.”  Great.
  • Sex Drive. This is a teen comedy about a horny teenager who decides to drive across the country with his two best friends to, you guessed it, hook up with a girl he met online.  “What’s that movie about, Dad?”  “Gee, I’m not sure, but from the title I’d guess it’s about a race car driver.”

And here’s the capper:

  • Zak and Miri Make a Porno.  This wholesome slice of Americana 2008 tells the riveting story of two friends who are short on cash and need to make some money.  Get a job?  Start a business?  Nah, too traditional.  How about we make a pornographic film together!  I’m no prude, but the suggestive trailer for this one should be rated R or worse.

These ads were all shown between 8:00 and 9:00 tonight – that’s prime time – and left my wife and me scrambling to respond to our kids’ puzzled, curious expressions.

What are these media executives thinking?  Do they take no responsibility for the content they broadcast into millions of homes?  Is the ad market so distressed that they have no choice but to show these ads during prime time?  You’ll probably say I’m naive or nostalgic, but what I crave more than anything is room to explain to my kids all the important, complex issues related to sex when my wife and I feel they are ready.  TBS is stealing that privilege and forcing my kids to confront topics they are not yet prepared to understand.  And Major League Baseball is complicit.  I love the Red Sox too much to boycott TBS right now, but you can be sure I will take steps to prevent my kids from watching those ads.  Thank goodness for my Comcast DVR.

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2 Responses to TBS Fails the Judgment Test

  1. Nancy West says:

    We have this problem during th entire NFL season. The games themselves are fine for kids, and the truck ads don’t bother me, but the film previews? Shooting, explosion, shooting, explosion, shooting. And now back to the Patriots. It’s awful.

  2. Jamie Neilson says:

    Ask anybody in LA about the Wienerschnitzel ads with the hotdog running around the college dorm during Dodger games. At least the Viagra ads are merely suggestive!

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