Hollywood is missing out on a form of entertainment I seem to be finding increasingly amusing. There are these commercials that…Yes, I said commercials. I know there are lots of them that are funny and there are occasional primetime compilation programs put together to showcase them. I’m not talking about those.
The commercial spots that’ve increasingly been tickling my sense of irony are the delightful little sales pitches from the pharmaceutical industry. They seem to offer pills for every plague or discomfort they can think of. Too excitable? Feeling down? Can’t sleep? Can’t stay awake? Whatever your ailment, they’ve probably got a pill for it or they’ll have one soon. I know…that’s not really all that funny. In some ways, it’s kind of sad.
So what makes me laugh? Where’s the punch line? It rests in the inevitably lengthy list of side effects. These things rival works of epic literature. The warnings dwarf the sales pitch. Apparently, unlike a car company or a fast food restaurant, drug companies are required to tell you all the bad things that might happen when you use their product.
Worse than the size of the list of side effects is its content. To find out that attempting to combat your irritable bowel or chronic drowsiness may result in rashes, boils or death seems like it may be asking customers to play the game for some heavy stakes. To make it more interesting, there are bound to be at least a dozen other potential side effects. Throw on top of that the warning that whatever you’re trying to clear up may be made even worse and you’ve got the crowning kick in the nethers that makes the whole commercial break such a delight.
I’m laughing at the drug companies, not the afflicted, I swear. The other way around would just be cruel…y’know, like giving someone who’s depressed a bunch of pills that may make them feel suicidal. It would be a whole new reality show! Uncontrolled Substances or something like that. There’s probably a network that could put that into an hour-long format and bring in some money. I’d watch that sooner than The Bachelor.