Thursday, October 06, 2005

An itch that needed scratching

Something was bothering me last night, while watching TV.

No, not the fact that I followed the advice of a couple of friends and spent another hour of my life watching America's Next Top Model on UPN.

Here's how I'm justifying it: 1) I'm just trying to enjoy what I didn't have, while I have the time to do it. I went two years without a UPN affiliate in Iowa City. 2) One of the contestants is a local girl, which is something that often manages to intrigue me. No, her looks have nothing to do with that.

By the way, I'm not sure I've ever wished for someone to get beheaded so strongly in my life. And that's a side of myself I wasn't necessarily comfortable spending the evening with.

But that's not what was bothering me. Let me get back on track here. How many times have you not realized something was wrong until someone took the time to point it out to you?

Something about the new Sprint ads hasn't been right, but I couldn't quite figure out what that was. The new logo? No, I kind of like that. How about the cornea-scorching yellow that they've chosen as their primary color? Well, yes, that's ugly, but I can live with yellow. My two favorite college football teams use it in their color schemes. Hell, I think that one commercial - with the two guys at a nuclear power plant arguing over the rules of the sandwich world, and whether the initials in "BLT" suitably explain everything, while a reactor meltdown is in progress - is pretty funny.

Only after reading this article by Paul Farhi of the Washington Post did I realize what the problem was.

The Trench Coat Guy is gone. Another casualty of big corporate mergings and the constant need for these companies to redefine themselves and their images to a short-attention-spanned public. I liked that guy. All those ads where people misunderstood each other over their cell phones ("She floured the kids!") because of static were funny. And he wasn't nearly as annoying as the "Can you hear me now?" dude. (Yet I switched from Sprint to Verizon last year. Oh, that's right, actual service is more important than advertising campaigns!)

Now, he's on the pop culture scrap heap. This isn't upsetting me nearly as much as the Taco Bell Chihuahua being retired (Hmm, I think I do quiero some Taco Bell for lunch...) - man, I loved that lil' #$@%er. But it's yet another reminder of how slow I can be to adjust to our disposable and quick-to-change world. I'll contemplate that while listening to my Def Leppard cassette tape on my Walkman.

(Photo by Lois Raimondo/ The Washington Post)