Bladder Control Problem

Grampa's favorite show?

Grampa’s favorite show?

Well, it’s not really a problem. It’s more like a bladder-control insult. Or is it a bladder-control identity crisis?

Who do advertisers think I am? I see as many TV ads for incontinence, motorized carts, and funeral-expense insurance as I do for Toyota and McDonalds. The marketing people clearly believe I am interested in these products.

Here are the shows I actively watch: The Walking Dead on AMC, Elementary on CBS, and Face Off on Syfy. By “actively” I mean going out of my way to keep up with the latest episode. It’s during these programs that I see the ads for cars and fast food.

Otherwise, I indulge my obsession with early 1970s pop culture by watching trashy horror and action flicks and the occasional rerun of Soul Train. I just can’t say “no” to an early Roger Moore Bond movie or any film with a muscle car involved in a chase as horns blare and a funky guitar goes waka-waka on the soundtrack.

“But Baker,” you say. “Those commercials are aimed at people who were already adults when those shows and movies were new. Duh.” To that I say: Soul Train went on the air in 1971. It was broadcast on Saturday mornings and was geared for teens and tweens trying to get hip to the latest songs and dance moves. Even the oldest original viewers can’t be more than 60. These advertisers are simply trying to hook us in early, just like the tobacco companies try to hook children in early by depicting Dora the Explorer smoking Kool cigarettes.

They do that, right?

The point is, the marketing people are convinced I am rapidly declining.

Come on! I play drums. I go see the latest Quentin Tarantino movies. I drink Vitamin Water Zero. I obviously live life on the edge. So why do I know so much about Gold Bond Medicated Powder and Tom Kruze, inventor of the Hoveround? Why am I reminded again and again that I can have adult undergarments discreetly shipped to my house at a surprisingly low cost?

Lately I’ve become worried about my final expenses, thanks to all the depressing commercials. Given the history of longevity in my family, that probably won’t be an issue for 50 years, but who knows what funerals will cost in 2063? It’s well known that advertisers play to your fears and make you paranoid. And you know who is really paranoid? Old people.

See? It’s working. They’re trying to turn me into an old guy. I’ll bet, when we’re not looking, they use Hoverounds for bumper cars and adult undergarments for coffee filters.

I’d go on detailing this conspiracy, but I really have to pee.

Peace out.

(Note use of hip, youthful sign-off that entered the lexicon no earlier than 1990)


Enjoy some 1970s car chasing courtesy of the Cleopatra Jones series. Why none of them ever won an Oscar for Best Picture, I’ll never know.


42 responses to “Bladder Control Problem

  • Katie

    All I see are ads for hipster clothing stores like American Apparel. I shop at Forever 21! I’m not vegan! Where are they getting their info?!

  • feminineocean

    I couldn’t stop laughing! Fortunately, I’m able to indulge in the expense of satellite and only on occasion (when we’ve seen every movie on every movie channel more than once and the choices are just too bad) do I have to suffer those commercials. What’s even worse, is I always wonder why they have a young woman needing to use a catheter, and the hovearound, did you hear that one of those companies was raided by the FBI? As a nurse I know, you want people walking for as long as they can, and I always wonder why even some of the people in those chairs seem so young. And hey, my husband and I planned to be burned when we’re dead! 🙂

  • Jill Weatherholt

    Too funny, Eric and unfortunately very true. One commercial I haven’t seen much of is “The Clapper.” I suppose it’s been replaced by all of the ads for erectile dysfunction. By the way, what channel are you catching the Soul Train reruns on?

    • nmartinez1938

      No dribble lol! I was 33 when Soul Train hit the TV screen. So Eric needs to raise the bar. Don’t wear diapers even after downing a six pack in the late evening before bedtime. Humored when everywhere I go shopping, malls or hawkers on the street want to sell me viagra, and aisles in stores run lanes of skin whitening Proctor Gamble soaps. You have to hunt for soap that is not skin whitening— oh, where do I live, retired to the Philippines. I hate to wash off the chocolate brown, now sun enhanced, complexion I fought so hard to dignify from the 50-70 in the USA. Eric is amazing! He finds humor in the darndest of places. lm:)o…

      • ericjbaker

        To nMartinez:

        They seriously sell skin-whitening soap, or is all soap skin whitening and I just don’t know it because my skin is already white?

        By the way, I suspected and was hoping you’d have a comical comeback in response to this post.


        • nmartinez1938

          Our CORE (congress of racial equality) in NYC actually took on major corporations like Proctor Gamble, Campbell Soup, they scoffed at us at first, until the economic boycott lines started spreading state to state, north & south. People who never benefited from skin whitening products started being hired by IBM, Pepsi, and the likes for higher level jobs. When a radio news reporter sat next to me, while sitting-in at the mayor’s office, I looked at him and asked; “Where did they get you from”? He obiviously was like me– never benefited from the skin bleaching creams of that day. Proctor Gamble has a billion pesos thriving market for a product we killed the market for in the USA, useless it has sneaked it back on the shelves. Soul Train was a Sunday relief. Like, When Sally Meet Harry–, and her boyfriend asked where were her Sunday days of the week underpants; they didn’t label Sunday pants because of god…. I didn’t demonstrate on Sunday because it was Soul Train time! Gosh– we gave America so much soul!

        • ericjbaker

          Interesting stuff there, man. I’d like to learn more about it.

          As for Soul Train, it’s the longest-running syndicated weekly show in the history of television. Not bad.

        • nmartinez1938

          I first started blogging to do an online biography, not much response. Then a old hatred surfaced, my wife’s teen son came down with dengue fever. I advised the doctor to let him drink camote tea (boiled leaves of sweet potatoes). Three days he was ready for discharge but held 2 additional days until I was able to pay the bill in full. Doctor said it was because he drank a lot of water. Drinking water from a fire hydrant open at full force would not have done what the camote tea did. I think to many doctors swallowed the poison remedy Kool-Aid in med school, brain damaged now!

        • nmartinez1938

          lol! not bad…

        • ericjbaker

          Hey, I’m replying up here because the text is getting squeezed. Re: Alternative “medicines.” I’m no expert, but it does seem like too many doctors try to throw chemically derived pills at problems, despite the side effects.

    • ericjbaker

      To Jill:

      Bounce TV. They show Soul Train at 7 a.m. EST, which is, for sure, an old-people time to watch TV. They show it at 8 on Saturday and Sunday, too, I think. They mostly stick with the 1970s and early ’80s episodes, which I watched as a kid. You can tell with the later ones that Don Cornelius missed the old days.

  • nrhatch

    You would think that the commercials in Florida would be geared to old geezers (or geysers . . . if they have incontinence issues), but it’s mostly car ads, ads for pet food, and restaurant ads. :mrgreen:

    I tune them out anyway. My mind hates getting clogged with marketing messages.

  • nmartinez1938

    About the cars and academy awards– keep the awards, I want to go to the driving school that taught her…..

  • karenspath

    The ads for Cialis on Fox News always crack me up, especially since I am a 34 year old female. I wonder sometimes what they used for commercials before Cialis and why exactly they assume it’s just old men watching Fox News. Mostly I wonder why the heck anyone wants to sit in two bathtubs and hold hands while watching the sun set.

    Other than that I DVR everything I want to watch because I can only take so many of the same commercials… there ought to be a rule about how many times the same commercial can be shown during one show!

    Great post!!!!

    • ericjbaker

      Those commercials for men’s products are a riot. I remember the one with the very stiff, corporate-looking dude who used some hair dye and all of the sudden he’s on stage jamming with a rock band. The funny thing is, he’s still dressed like he’s at the office, and he has a woman on his arm who likes like she escaped from a 1980s Chanel No 5 ad.

      I wouldn’t call it the most convincing representation of the rock-n-roll lifestyle I’ve ever seen.

      Thanks for commenting!

  • Cheryl

    Until Groupon starts blowing up your phone with discounts on liposuction, skin tightening, and laser treatments, you won’t have my sympathy. It’s a daily barrage of paranoia inducing, self-esteem reducing, guilt inflicting texts and emails sent directly to me. Target marketing? More like attacking.

    • ericjbaker

      Too bad you can’t do a laser treatment on them… Death Star style.

      Maybe this means I’m old, but magazine ads still work the best on me. They’re silent and I can look at them as long as I want without a salesperson talking.

  • Janna G. Noelle

    Fortunately, I have neither cable nor a TV, but that Gold Bond Medicated Powder really does work, I’ll tell you what. And I’m only 34! 🙂

  • Mitzi McColley Sorensen

    I remember the Marlboro Man when he was on commercials and as children we ate candy cigaretts and chewed gum cigars. Ah, the good old days!

  • Uzoma

    Ah! I wish I could also contribute to this one. Blame it on the region. Well, I take the humor…good one, Eric

  • Earnest Harris

    Hilarious! Oh man, and you are solidified as one of my fans forever since you put “Cleopatra Jones” in here!

    • ericjbaker

      My favorite thing about those films is Norman Fell of Three’s Company fame having to play a character named “Stanley.”. What other actor made a career out of playing against strong-willed women who say, “Oh, Stanley!” all the time?

  • Arkenaten

    Comic book heroes i can understand but I always find it amusing that filmmakers are prepared to resurrect such TV shows as Starsky & Hutch and their ilk then turn them into films for an audience that was still widdling in their nappies when they were released. Most odd…
    Maybe the producers just get a kick out of trying to reinvent flared trousers and music by the Tramps and the Bee Gees?

    Fortunately, I work from home and in South Africa, many of the shows I enjoy these days are repeated in the morning, thus negating the need to stay up past 2015, or 8:15pm in old money. Though this does come at a price, as SA TV producers are obviously aware of this trend and ensure us morning TV viewers are obliged to sit through endless hours of life insurance commercials and discount funeral policies.
    Once upon a time I could recite the dialogue from Life of Brian almost verbatim. These days I can now recite the Life Policy of Momentum. Is this cause for concern, do you think? 🙂

    • ericjbaker

      You’re a pretty funny guy, my friend.

      I’m not sure why anyone would make a movie from Starsky and Hutch, which doesn’t have much of a cult following like The Brady Bunch or Gilligan’s Island. I guess the producers were banking on the appeal of Ben Stiller and Owen Wilson.

      I confess to having seen that in the theater, but, in my defense, I was stuck somewhere with three hours to kill, and that was the only movie starting at a suitable time. Really. I swear.

      • VarVau

        Since you mentioned it, I believe Gilligan’s was to have a film made for release in 2012, but it never took off and now is somewhere in Development Hell, I’m sure.

        (Also if the status says I’ve unfollowed and reflowed again, I’m still adjusting to how this site functions!)

  • tracycembor

    Wow, I’ve been ragging on Syfy on my blog for the last week. I didn’t realize there was something worth watching on that channel. I still wish for the good old days when there was Sci-Fi on Syfy.

    • ericjbaker

      “Worth watching” is a relative term. For some reason I like that show (it’s a make-up effects competition along the lines of Top Chef and Project Runway), but most of the time Syfy seems to revel in intentionally cheesy TV movies and tedious junk like Total Blackout.

      When I get a minute, I’ll check out what you have to say about it.

      Thanks for commenting!

      • tracycembor

        Ooo, I do love Top Chef, and it is Wednesday. This just made my day!

        And to stay on topic, I think commercial breaks would be so much more interesting if they really advertised products to the primary demographics.

  • jdhoward

    I thought you were laying out a confession, there with your blog title.
    Soul Train, a reminder of the times when we had only 3 channels to watch on TV (and no remote control). I love the episode with Al Green singing Here I Am (Come and Take Me). When you have time here’s a link: (hope it works): Love the scene at 1:36 onward, those facial expressions — lots of passion and, he wrote the song himself.

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