Joanna pines for the days of ad-free TV

Brooklyn Daily
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Long ago and far away, there was a time when you could view a real, honest-to-goodness television show in your own home, without commercials.

Yes, there was. It was called cable television. In those halcyon days when cable was in its infancy, there were no commercial interruptions. You heard me right — no commercial interruptions. You paid for the service, and you got to watch the entire movie without one interruption.

You were not jolted, cajoled, or annoyed by those pesky ads that tried to sell you aftershave or the best coffee, even if it was good the last drop, every 15 minutes. Regular, free television was a battlefield where the admen became so aggressive you wound up just watching commercials with a few plot lines in between for good measure. It was so frustrating I found myself reading books, imagine that.

Every channel — all 13 of them — were deluged with ads, ads, and more ads. Except, of course, for PBS — there were those annoying fund-raiser weekends to contend with, but they were tolerable in as much as they only ran once or twice a year.

So you can just imagine my unbridled joy at the thought of watching one entire show without one single interruption. It was nirvana, I tell you. Cable was the answer to a couch potato’s prayers. I jumped on the cable bandwagon with glee.

But then, as is the case with all good intentions, the potholes on the paved, commercial-free road got too big and the cable stations needed to fund the well-oiled machine, and so the days of no commercial interruptions were over. No longer free from the clutches of the ad men and purveyors of consumer interruptions, cable took on the same old ball and chain, with admen ruling the waves and pulling our chains.

For those of us disenchanted with cable television, we took sanctuary in our computers, and logged onto Netflix, Hulu, YouTube — all free of the yoke of the admen. There were even sites where we could communicate free of the commercial noose, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram.

Alas and alack, the shills for aftershave and deodorant have reared their ugly heads yet again, and like the invasive hogweed plant have invaded these sacred sites.

Now even my Facebook home page is sprinkled with ads of every description.

Not for Nuthin,™ the premium channels on cable are still free of the clutches of consumerism, but not so the other 140 channels that dot the dial. There is nowhere left to hide. The time has come for me to take up the book and leave the dark tube behind.

Joanna DelBuono writes about national issues every Wednesday on E-mail her at
Updated 11:48 am, January 16, 2019
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