Thursday, February 23, 2006

Reality TV

Thanks. Thanks a lot.

It could have been a relaxing night at home, starting with an uneventful commute. Instead, there I sat on the 6:59 out of Penn Station, being eyed by my wife in the same way you’d regard an airplane seatmate who asks for extra air-sickness bags.

“You,” she finally hissed. “You deal with an industry that I hate. I just hate it.”

This was definitely not good. The last time we had a thoughtful discussion about the restaurant business, McDonald’s was trying to open a unit in our town. My child-bride, a vegetarian who has wondered aloud why we can’t tend our own goats, was not in favor of that community enhancement. I felt differently, as I was reminded by hours of silence and a collaborative read of “The Art of Listening.”

“What could have angered you this time, my sugar-dusted beignet?” I bravely asked.

“KFC is running a new ad that’s designed to be TiVo-proof,” she snapped back. “And now that they’ve decided to do it, everyone will be doing it.”

I used to ask my wife, “If you, your TiVo and I were in a boat that overturned, and you could only save one of us, which would it be?” Now I merely inquire if she’d use my body as a floatation device to keep the recording device dry. She likes her TV, but she doesn’t like your commercials.

Now, she had read, KFC was going to thwart people like her with a commercial that carried an encrypted message. If a viewer TiVo’s through the spot, he or she won’t catch a code that’s needed to get a free Buffalo Snacker sandwich. Indeed, you have to play the spot at slow motion via a VCR or a digital device like the TiVo if you wanted to catch the instructions. Skip the commercial, and there’s no sandwich.

More important to my wife, the anti-TiVo movement was beginning in earnest.

Not good, not good at all.

I explained that KFC is merely trying to deliver a message in an interesting, entertaining fashion, and that they were losing eyeballs to techno-TVers exactly like her. After all, we have three TiVos, three DVD players, four VCRs, and a video iPod.

That was when she decided some iPod time right here on the train was absolutely essential. I’ve yet to hear her voice since. Then again, it’s hard to hear through the front door, especially when you’re shivering. But I could have sworn I heard her yell, “Go see if the Colonel has room at the plantation,” and an unsavory remark about sheep.

Fortunately, there’s a KFC not far from me, for dinner. At least they could give me a discount.

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