We get it. It's the way of the TV world these days, as someone's got to the pay the freight in a world where you can zap a commercial by pushing a button.
But, when entire stories on shows play out like an ad for a product, then things have gone too far. Unfortunately, my favorite new show, 'Modern Family,' took things that step too far last night with their iPad-themed plot. It felt like one long Apple commercial. Never mind that the episode aired just in time for the device's release on Saturday; the iPad drove the plot rather than the plot necessitating the use of an iPad. And that's where the producers crossed the line.
NBC's 30 Rock makes fun of the network, television in general and, in at least a few instances, product integration. Product integration is the new way to get advertising money that's becoming more and more popular. The Office blatantly refers to real corporations like Staples all the time and football has John Madden's scribbles sponsored by someone now. Well, on a recent episode of Rock, Tina Fey and Alec Baldwin blatantly praised Verizon Wireless in a brief exchange before Fey turned to the camera and said directly, "Can we have our money now?"
Funny and lucrative apparently, as Yahoo! reports today that this was a real case of product integration, with Verizon paying for the "commercial" which at the same time was making fun of the very thing they were doing which ... wow, this gets confusing.