Wednesday, November 12, 2008
One of my favorite guest-character arcs in "How I Met Your Mother" involved "Victoria," one of Ted's girlfriends in Season 1. She was played by Ashley Williams, who sort of disappeared -- from my radar screen at least -- after her story in the show was over. Now she's resurfaced in something called "Novel Adventures" on CBS.com. Not CBS, CBS.com -- it's a "web original." From the very start, something was fishy: They kept mentioning Saturn in the same breath as the show. Then I watched it. Let's just say I was less than three minutes in and they'd already plugged Saturn like half a dozen times in the script or the set. Ashley's character's husband actually works at a Saturn dealer. Now I enjoy a well-written, witty commercial, like the best of 'em. But what are we to make of a show written entirely around a brand? Move over, product placement, this is a lame attempt at content placement. As much as I like that actress, I can't bear to watch an eight-part ad for something I'll probably never buy. I hope this isn't a sign of things to come. Back in the day, when broadcast shows were sponsored by one brand, at least they had enough self-respect to actually produce content worth watching, right? Or is this not actually that much beyond the pale in television history terms?