Monday, June 30, 2014

Aging, Advertising and a Bad Latuda

Does anyone still get their news from television anymore?

There was a day when the country used to snap on the TV and watch Walter Cronkite or even two curmudgeons named Huntley and Brinkley deliver the goods every evening. Raise your hands, please.......

Hmmm, only a few. And I’m sure you’re mostly over 50.

Uncle Walter kept us all informed.
Although I, myself, belong in the afore-mentioned age group, I get some of my news at the computer, too.

Thanks to the internet’s proliferation of schlock, I am equally aware of when a family of six rents out Kim Kardashians’s cleavage or exactly which expletive Shia LeBeouf recently shouted at a police officer, as well as the developments in the White House, the middle east and under Hilary Clinton’s bangs.
Actually, maybe a family
of eight could live there.

For the most part, however, Seth and I watch nightly world news on TV and have been noticing a clear and unsettling trend that has usurped all advertising time during the half hour format: All the commercials are for hip and knee replacements, incontinence supplies for women and a variety of prescription medications.  

The most popular and bizarrely obnoxious commercials used to be for Viagra and its ilk, showing attractive middle-aged actors sitting in farted-up bath water in tubs out on their lawns or men with well-clipped beards ogling women as they cheerfully re-pot plants (apparently the writers of these ads find transplanting a geranium before lunch to be a huge turn-on) but now, most of the commercials seem to be about depression.

"Why are our bathtubs out here, dear?"
"I have no idea."

Everyone knows that depression is not exclusive to the older set but there must be a lot of it to justify the advertising blitz on the small screen. Perhaps we are kind of bummed that we need to replace our joints, take up gardening in order to have sex or buy handbags large enough to carry our spare Depends but that would mean that all that malarkey is true. Well, it ain't.

Still, the ads do come fast and furious throughout the 30 minutes it takes Dianne Sawyer to tell us that the world does indeed seem to be in quite a fix. Or, come to think of it, maybe we’re melancholy because we know what's going on from watching the news in the first place.

By the way, have you noticed the names of the medications?

Take for example, Latuda. That sounds like a bad attitude about latitude but, instead, it’s a medication  for bipolar depression. Prolia sounds like a rapid moving flesh eating bacteria but actually is a medication for osteoporosis while Spiriva is for bronchial issues. To me, spiriva sounds like a religious cult (or, possibly a Chasidic entertainer...either way, she's in trouble) as in, “My daughter's run off with Spiriva!! What shall we do?”

 There’s also Toviaz which is a prescription for overactive bladders but should be a futuristic and poorly reviewed  movie starring Will Smith. 

You go break a leg, you crazy bitch.
A very heavily advertised anti-psychotic called Abilify does actually sound like something sturdy and life-empowering but Cymbalta, for depression, sounds like a party: They’re having a big cymbalta on Saturday for their 25th anniversary, wanna go?”

Chantix, which  helps you stop smoking, sounds like fun, too while Lyrica -- for seizures -- sounds lilting and musical.

Then there’s the granddaddy of them all….Viagra. It’s chemical name is sildenafil citrate which does actually sound kind of droopy while viagra could be something to rub into your scalp to make your hair grow or, well, you know. Just seeing the word Viagra makes us all feel empowered and strong. I salute the drug namers for that one.
You might be next!

So, if someone under 25 were to turn on the evening news (as likely as Justin Bieber not hitting someone with his Ferrari) or, for that matter, even the decades-old news show, 60 Minutes on Sunday nights, he or she would be certain that the advertisers are very sure their audience is a bunch of pee soaked, creaking and depressed wrecks who need help in the bedroom.

Maybe some of us are but most of us would just like to be invited to a good cymbalta now and then and have a little fun.

"Toviaz!" starring Will Smith opens soon.


  1. Haha I don’t watch the nightly news, but Viagra is very popular during sporting events too.

  2. And as a frequent watcher of both HGTV and the Food Network I get to see all the commercials for the over 50s subset! ;)

  3. Who takes viagra during sporting events???? The athletes or the observers?????? XOXOX