Saturday, November 22, 2008

It's 3AM & I'm Watching a Barry Manilow Ad. Why?

Last night, after attending an inspiring performance of Mozart's, Don Giovanni, I could not sleep . . . possibly and additionally, the effect of the cold medicine I am on.

So I flipped on the TV. It was about 3AM.

Early-morning television is a Twilight Zone of programming for the abnormal. It is, it seems, for those poor souls who can not sleep at night, whose only distraction is television's least entertaining infomercials, lawyer ads, televangelists, Shopping Channels, and occasional ad for a music CD. Normal people are not drawn into this world. The normal do not know it is there. But I was there and I was watching.

Enter Barry, as in Manilow, and his newest CD ad.

What can I say about that opening shot? First, there is this bronzish hue to the whole screen, possibly done to evoke an 80's feel to match the albums's theme. I remember the brown colors of that era, and they are not pleasant memories . . . then there is that mug . . . which is, how do I say this, which is . . . an admixture of blow-dried bouffont hairdo and girl makeup on an oddly angular face. It is 3AM and Lady Di has melded with Kramer on my TV screen and they are trying to sell me 80's music. It is scary, really.

Then there's the ad's kitschy tagline:

"Barry Manilow. Showman our Our Century. Songs of the '80's." Now, I'm so turned-off I keep watching.

"Islands in the Stream," the voiceover says, "Chicago's, Hard to Say I'm Sorry, Cyndi Lauper's Time After Time and Stevie Wonder's, I Just Called to Say I Love You." And of course, that full screened bouffont singing a line or two from each unfortunately unforgettable tune. I am sitting on the edge of the couch, jaw-dropped, and stunned.

"Who buys this stuff?" I thought. "Some sleep-deprived schlep like me, I guess. I have got get some sleep." Maybe, it was just a nightmare.

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