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October 9, 2015

The Five: Lies TV expects us to believe

by Jay Black, posted Mar 8th 2007 2:25PM
I was going to put a picture of George Bush here, but I don't want to get political.I get it: TV is supposed to lie to me. I know that the real reason Jared lost all that weight was because Subway sandwiches so destroyed his intestinal tract that he wasn't able to eat like he used to. I know that no guy in the history of America has ordered a Smirnoff Ice at a bar without hating himself a little. I know that despite repeated attempts to prove otherwise, the NHL no longer exists and Vs. isn't even a real TV channel.

But there are some lies not as obvious as these. There are lies more insidious. Lies that don't look like lies. I don't know if TV has an agenda or is just so zombified by institutional groupthink that they've begun to believe these lies themselves, but there's no doubt that they exist and they are subtle. Being the crusading young reporter I am, I dutifully spent the weekend watching television and identifying the five most insidious lies TV expects us to believe.

The list after the jump.

1. People care about the WNBA. Every once in a while, Sportscenter will slide in a highlight of a few lay-ups from a 68-54 matchup between the Houston Comets and the Connecticut Sun and for a nanosecond the thought will pass through your mind that someone, somewhere, actually gives a damn. Don't be fooled! Sportscenter is just trying to round out the programming to an hour! No one is watching! Even the live games don't draw. Besides, 91% of those attending are the families of girls playing JV basketball. The other 9% are people there on dares.

2. People confess out of guilt. The middle of the third act of every sitcom of the last 70 years has the words, "There's something I need to tell you", somewhere in it. Whether it be the character tried to bring two dates to the same prom or the height-challenged ward secretly wished his legal guardian to have a miscarriage, at some point the person fesses up and all parties have their say. Now, I grant you that sometimes confessions do occur in real life, but if people came clean about their minor trespasses with the frequency of television characters, we would never stop having kitchen heart to hearts. It scares me to think that there's a generation of kids being raised under the belief that if you do, indeed, accidentally handcuff yourself to your worst enemy but still want to go on an important job interview, at some point you should confess your botched magic trick to the interviewer. The real world doesn't work like that, sport. As Chris Rock said about what to do if your wife catches you cheating: deny, deny, deny!

3. All men are fat guys with hot wives who can't do anything without the help of a good woman. Listen, I understand, women have been discriminated against and have had an uphill climb towards equality. But is the only way to level the playing field to have every guy on TV be a fat idiot barely capable of getting food into his mouth without being the brunt of a joke at his level of intelligence? I mean, there's a lot of idiots out there, but guys did make a few contributions to the world (like the polio vaccine and Doritos). Next time you watch the Simpsons, take a good hard look at Homer and then at your own father or husband (or self). I'm sure you'll see some differences! (And if you don't, please rush that person to the hospital immediately. They probably have some sort of liver disorder that's turning them yellow).

4. The only people who eat at fast food restaurants are skinny people. This one really insults my intelligence. I know that McDonald's just can't come out and say, "Hey, fatso, you and I both know it's a lot easier shoveling Big Macs down your throat than it is to admit that mommy's never gonna buy you that pony", but come on! Every single one of their commercials has slender 20-somethings pounding cheeseburgers like they were Kobayashi with not one little roll of belly fat showing. I've been in fast food restaurants. Good looking college kids occasionally make an appearance, but it's mostly filled with people like me -- people who are gambling one more time with their insulin levels. Guts, butts, and droop are what's for dinner. I think from this time forward there should be at least one fat person in every fast food commercial. This should be mandated by law.

5. Every person in America is one "makeover" away from being 30 years younger and 50 pounds lighter. Physics, apparently, doesn't make a distinction about which direction time is moving and one might just as easily move forwards as one moves backwards. Well, that's all well and good for physics, but in the real world it works a little differently. I'm 30 now and I'm more wrinkly, more gray, and more fat than I used to be. I can do some tricks to hide this fact, but in the end, they're only tricks. So, TV, stop telling me how to "turn back the clock" or "shave inches off my waist with the right choice of pants." You know what happens when a 30 year old chunky guy like myself dresses younger? He looks like a really sad 30 year old chunky guy.

As always, let me know what lies TV tells you in the comments...

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Here are my five:

- Cell phones are capable of doing a lot more than the manual says they can. You just need access to a 'special' government agency to get the extra features. (24)

- A drill bit in the back or a screw driver in the chest will only hurt for an hour or two. Even then it doesn't interfere with your business. (24)

- All gay guys are funny.(Will&Grace)

- I will sleep with a coworker at least once in my life. (Ok,... that one turned out to be true)
(Too many shows to name)

- In-Laws are the hateful and don't like you.
(Too many shows to name)

March 08 2007 at 7:13 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

And if they drink the right brand of beer, they will have hot women falling all over them.

I always looked at #3 differently. To me it comes across as, "Men! You don't have to look good or be smart and you will still land yourself a hot woman! So don't worry about being polite or getting a good education because it just doesn't matter!"

Maybe my judgment had been tarnished by the beer commercials.

March 08 2007 at 7:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

It's not just McDonalds ads that have only skinny people. There are no food ads in any form that have overweight people that I can think of.

Also, if men dye the grey out of their hair they always get a promotion and if they dye their facial hair they always get the girl.

March 08 2007 at 6:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Hey now -- I totally care about the WNBA and I'm not related to any of the players. (And I'm not gay -- though lesbians are a large constituency for the WNBA, and that's awesome.)

No, the WNBA isn't anywhere close to rivaling the NBA, but it does have its fans.

March 08 2007 at 4:53 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Steampipe alley

haha, for some reason i automatically thought of King of Queens when i read 2 and 3. (even though i love that show..lol)

March 08 2007 at 3:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Liz Newcomb

The NHL definitely exists! Go Habs!!

March 08 2007 at 3:48 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Here's a lie:
Handicapped people are all mopey and were victims of tragic accidents. They should be treated accordingly.

Unlike Dr House, some of them have a condition from birth and cope just fine. Not that "House" isn't amusing, it's still not entirely true. I like how "Las Vegas" has a guy in a wheelchair and doesn't feel like it needs explaining why.

March 08 2007 at 2:59 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What?!? They are lying to us? I better stop going to McDonald's! And I was very close to telling my husband about my affairs - whew! Good post Jay!

March 08 2007 at 2:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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