Remember sitting down on a sunday afternoon and watching T.V movies? Ones like Gladiator, Top Gun, The Day After Tomorrow, etc? Do you remember how they took 3-4 hours to get through on T.V because of all the commercials every 4 minutes, but you’d still watch the whole thing? I sure do. Oh the hours that have gone by. Over here in France, I just watched an entire movie on T.V in 2 hours. Read it and weep North American broadcasting. This is the shit.
Over here, the way they do commercials is completely different, and it’s one of the things I’ve noticed about television broadcasting. Instead of 2min long commercials every 10min during a show, what they do is only 1 commercial break during a show. You’ll get a 5min commercial break (enough to go pop a bag of popcorn and take a dump) right in the middle of whatever you’re watching, and that’s it. Movies, T.V shows, they all seem a little better this way, I must say. I don’t feel like I’m getting consumer products jammed down my throat while I watch T.V. It’s just a little more subtle.
One thing I find that bothers me about the T.V programming here is the weird hours of operation. Shows don’t run from 9-10, or 1-3. No, that would be too easy. They have no regard for the start of a new hour here and it bugs the hell out of me. Shows run from 20:03-20:57, or 1:22-2:45. It baffles me. But hey, to each his own right? You do you France.
While consuming my regular intake of The Simpsons (Les Simpsons) I noticed another thing that brought up some questions about French broadcasting. The good ole’ Duff beer Homer J. Simpson was enjoying was blurred out! What the Duff!? After raising the question of why, I was informed that in France there is no alcohol promotion allowed whatsoever. As soon as I heard this I began to think, and sure enough, I couldn’t recognize any memories of this country where I saw alcohol promotion. It seems like a wild law to me, especially coming from a country that seems to be quite relaxed in their alcohol laws in general, at least compared to Canada. The drinking age is 18, but like most European countries I think that is not so strictly followed rule, and the biggest difference I’ve found is that drinking in public, while still technically “illegal”, is accepted everywhere. I’ve walked past 100 people all in their groups by the canal drinking, playing music, starting their nights, and the patrolling police didn’t seem to bat an eye. Mind you, you still get a few rotten apples, (loud aggressive types) I found most people to be quite respectful of their surroundings. People got drunk, crowds grew, but by the end of the evening, as the sun bid us farewell, everyone cleaned up after themselves, and went to their respective bars to continue their belligerence.
Next time on, “Culture Shock” – The things you poop in…