In our house, we watch an embarassing amount of TV on DVD. My guess is that we pretty much jumpstarted the entire market. Just me and Rox.
Me the second I realized that I didn’t have to keep my old VHS copies of the original broadcasts of The Simpsons (I started taping it from the very first show, since I figured out that something so awesome would never ever last, and once I got locked into it, I couldn’t really stop, could I?), and Rox, who has already purchased the entire runs of both Buffy and Angel. Twice.
We have a 5-disc carousel that is always full of various TV shows. For example, right now, we have:
- Veronica Mars Season 2
- Buffy The Vampire Slayer Season 2
- Arrested Development Season 1
- Battlestar Galactica Season 2.5
- Taxi Season 2
It’s this last one that is causing all of the consternation. Not because of the show, which is an all-timer (and we haven’t even got to Reverend Jim yet!), but because some marketing genius at Paramount has decided that they want steal my life, a few minutes at a time.
Normally (unless we are trying to desperately finish something prior to the next season starting), we watch these shows in an never-ending rotation. One after another after another after another. So the expectation when I load in a DVD full of TV shows is that I will see the menu, select the next episode, and start watching it. Unless it’s a Paramount show, like Frasier or Taxi.
Paramount hates me. They want me to die, slowly. Because when I load one of these DVDs in, I get bombarded with this: “Sunday, Monday, Happy Days!!” Yup: It’s a preview for goddamn Happy Days! Look, can’t say anything bad about Henry Winkler or (especially) Ron Howard, but Happy Days aged pretty badly. So my first instinct, of course is to desperately push the “menu” button or “next chapter” button or even fast-forward, fast-forward, fast-forward but no matter what I do, I get this message:
“Operation currently prohibited by disc”
I’d rather get the Blue Screen of Death. The first couple of times I saw this, I panicked, and I hit the stop button. And you know what happened when I hit play again? It started over!!!!
So I wait. After about a minute and a half, it ends. Whew! Finally, the menu. “Schleimel, Schlmazzel, Haussefeffer Incorporated!!” That’s right. It’s a goddamn Laverne and Shirley preview!! Happy Days was bad enough — but the only thing that Laverne and Shirley ever gave culture was the lead singer for Spinal Tap.
After another couple of minutes that seem like forever, finally—wait! What the hell is this?? Mork and Mindy!! Will this nightmare ever end! Remember when Robin Williams was edgy and funny and cool? Well, I’m here to tell you that it was after Mork and Mindy.
I know that other studios do this, but I’ve noticed it primarily with DVDs made by Paramount. Now, Rox makes me leave the room until the previews have ended.
Here’s the thing: I know which shows I want to purchase in the future. I read sites like TV Shows on DVD, and I make lists of the upcoming DVDs I’d like to purchase. So I do not appreciate the forced previews. You are not doing me a service in any way, shape, or form. In reality, you are just bugging the crap out of me.
This is just like the commercials that they show prior to movies, and those commercials are at least part of why I’ve essentially stopped going to the movies. I’ve paid my money; give me my film already? Here I am now, entertain me!
Ms. Paramount Marketing Executive, isn’t it enough that I purchased your DVD??? I spent my own money on your product in order to be entertained. My money. Your product. I didn’t tape it or bittorrent it or borrow it from friends. I purchased it.
And this is the respect I get, the thanks I get, for buying it?
This is another reason why consumers should have the right to backup (and reauthor) their DVDs. You could slice those previews off the beginning and just start with the menu.
Jim, you’re starting to sound angry. Put the remote control down and take a deep breath. Then write an angry letter to every Paramount executive on the face of the planet. We watch DVDs because we don’t want commercials. If we wanted commercials, we’d buy a DVD of commercials. Or watch appointment TV.
You have, by the way, talked me out of buying Taxi. Sorry. Happy Days really did age badly.
I hope these people don’t go too far. this just happened to me for the first time, and Im already thinking about a boycott. it would do me some good too not to watch so much tv. I wish there were some way to get a bunch of people to contact the companies responsible for this. I think there are just going to be too many people who won’t do or say anything and will just accept this bullsh*t that the companies will have no reason to stop the forced previews. anybody want to start a boycott? work on ways to pressure the companies who are doing this?