Television commercials and the abnormal dependency on their power

It’s Friday. It’s been a long week and I need to ramble a bit. So, here it goes.

Last night, I’m clicking through the channels and spot Old Navy’s back-to-school commercial featuring Jennie Garth, Jason Priestly and Luke Perry from the ‘90s show Beverly Hills 90210.

Whoa. Just bring in Shannen Doherty and it’s a homecoming. (By the way, Gabrielle Carteris, who played Brandon’s (Jason) stalker/admirer, Andrea Zuckerman is in another Old Navy commercial, still stalking I might add.)

In addition, Old Navy’s campaign reunites Mayim Bialik and Joey Lawrence, former siblings in the show, “Blossom.” Another ’90s show.

Are these actors planning comebacks? Are there any fall shows on tap featuring them? On the other hand, the snarky me thinks, they need money. (But who doesn’t?)

Okay, now the old brain really starts to rattle.

We all know that hundreds, maybe thousands of actors and actors have graced (should I use that term, loosely?) the small screen doing commercials before making it big.

I wanted to recall some of the famous faces who did commercials prior to their big break. So, I did what I love doing almost as much as writing: I Googled.

I ran across an article from Woman’s Day magazine, which featured 12 Old Commercials Featuring Now-Famous Stars. Very cool article with video clips.

Most of the commercials listed were a surprise, and quite cool to watch. However, I do vaguely recall Bruce Willis in a Seagram’s commercial.

Okay, so I refer back to the Old Navy commercial with the Beverly Hills 90210 gang, and start to realize (for the hundredth time) how embedded this medium is in our society. So much so, that even actors can’t get away from them.

For actors, commercials are a paying gig, something to add to a resume, and a means for celebrities to get one’s feet wet or come in from grazing in greener pastures.

Television commercials may promote a wide variety of goods, services and ideas, and influence what we consume, and how we behave. But they clearly possess an abnormal power to satisfy the need for celebrity types and athletes (can’t forget them) to stay in our lives for years, decades, centuries. Hmm …but then again, there are reruns.

Enough rambling. I’m going to Old Navy. Enjoy your weekend.


The TV show Scandal: Class is in Session

I can’t wait for September. Believe me. It’s not what you think. My children are grown, so going back to school isn’t the reason! I’m almost embarrassed to say why, because I haven’t felt this way about an upcoming month is AGES.

So, here it goes. It’s ABC’s fall lineup and one show in particular. Scandal. OMG.

Okay, I’d like to admit right here and now, that there are two shows I watch religiously. And this is big, considering I’m not a television watcher—anymore.

I admit there was a time when I used to sit in front of the box at least three hours a night, after work to relax. That’s really not a lot, you might say. For me, that was a lot.

Then about seven years ago, my three hours of television watching came to an abrupt halt. I became immersed in my books and writing. I rediscovered my love for the written word and began putting stories that have been stored on my hard drive, for more than 20 years, another try.

So, what’s this have to do with Scandal? Everything.

First of all it’s, Shonda Rhimes latest “drama revolving around the life and work of a professional crisis manager and her dysfunctional staff.” You know, Shonda. The creator who gave us Dr. McDreamy of Grey’s Anatomy, and the subsequent spinoff Private Practice.

Well, she’s back and class is in session.

“Scandal” is Relationships 101 for any writer of fiction, particularly if you’re a romance writer. The sexual tension between the lead characters, Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and Fitzgerald Grant (Tony Goldwyn), who just happen to be a professional “fixer” and the president of the USA, respectively, is charged and powerful.

I would be remiss if I didn’t mention Olivia’s staff—five hot shots—four attorneys and one ex-CIA-scary-military dude—who work in her “non-law firm” and are loyal to her and what they do. They each bring intelligence and their own special abilities to the table when averting crisis and scandal.

When telling a story, your characters must pop from the page. In romance, the sexual tension hero and heroine is a must and the writers of Scandal make that happen. The show is a must watch for writers, particularly romance writers. The dialogue is fast paced and witty and the interaction between the characters is a real and expertly executed by the actors.

I’m literally taking notes.

Whether it’s film, television or books—good writing is good writing, and Scandal’s writers deliver. You get to know the characters, flaws and all, just as you should in a good book.

If it wasn’t called a political drama, I’d swear it was a romance. But that’s what makes the show work. It isn’t all about politics. It’s about relationships, and how people handle issues thrown in their paths every day. It’s about one woman, in particular, who knows her business, has confidence in her abilities and knows when to back off for something bigger than herself (she breaks off her relationship with the leader of the free world so he can do his job. Or does she?).

Even if you’re not a writer, Scandal is an entertaining, fast paced drama. If you want to catch up, you can watch the full episodes on ABC Online. I can’t wait until September. I’ll have my notebook ready!