Ugh, Sniped By My Own TV – The War Is On

I don’t like the pop-up ads that appear at the bottom of screen when I’m watching TV. They’re officially called “snipes,” and I wonder if anyone else feels the same hatred toward them. Or have viewers become inured to the bombardment of information that interrupt their viewing experience? Have these turned into white noise for the eyes?

Take last night. It was the rare evening when I had time to watch The Office on TV at its regularly scheduled time. ( Normally I watch it on Fancast the day after it airs. ) A couple minutes into the show, I saw a graphic pop up in the lower left hand corner telling me that 30 Rock was next. Duh, I thought, I know that. Why are they telling me this? How stupid do they think I am?

A moment later, they flashed a promo for The Last Templar, a worthy special starring Mira Sorvino. But I was in Office mode – and annoyed by the interruption, or the snipe. I waved a finger at my TV and with a Tracy Morgan-like attitude I shouted, “Shut up!” I don’t like talking in a movie theater, and those pop-ups are the same thing, maybe worse because I can’t change seats at home.

I also hate the name – snipe. It makes me feel like someone is in my TV, shooting at me.

Indeed, just as I was settling back into the episode, I got hit again: “Get your favorite episodes of The Office on iTunes.” Ugh, got me.  I should have dived behind the sofa. Instead, while braving additional snipes, I shouted, “No, YOU get my favorite episodes for me. AND SHUT UP.” Now it was war. I don’t like my TV set to boss me around; I’m supposed to be in control even when I can’t find the remote.

As I finished watching the episode this morning on Fancast, I thought about the frightening potential of such pop-ups. What if instead of telling me that 30 Rock was up next, the snipe said, “Hey you! Fat guy sitting on the sofa in your sweats and T-shirt.” A moment would pass before a second snipe appeared. “Yeah, you. You really want some Pringles, don’t you?”

I’m not the only one angered by these ads. “I particularly hate when they have those animated things walking across the screen,” a veteran show business agent told me. “They pull me right out of the show.”

Sadly, a younger generation might not care. “I don’t mind them,” a recent college grad waiting in line at a coffee shop told me. “I have like ADD, so it’s just one more thing. I mean, if you watch Bravo, they’re practically part of the show. It’s like your TV is talking to you through the whole show.”

That’s my point, exactly. Don’t talk to me while I’m watching my show. I don’t want to multi-task while I’m vegging out in front of the TV.

Sadly, I may be in the minority. I’m just going to watch here, online.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of Comcast.

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