Is it hypocrisy?

I caught up on Dawson’s Creek this afternoon. Watched the surprisingly good episode where Pacey and Joey were locked in a K-Mart overnight. This is the second episode in a row with blatant commercial endorsement. The previous episode (or was it two episodes prior?) started with an extended scene at Best Buy where Pacey was looking at a new television set.

It hit me today, though: If they had dome some stupid name games to make it a fictional store (“Q-Mart” or “Better Buy”), we’d all be sitting here making fun of their stupidity. We know what they mean. Wink wink, nod nod. Why bother with the subterfuge?

Instead, they’re honest about it and you see a few K-Mart and Best Buy signs around and the first reaction is, “What crass commercialism”?!?

Is this hypocrisy? Where’s the dividing line?

Myself, I’d much prefer to see real places.


3 Responses to “Is it hypocrisy?”

  1. cal
    23. February 2003 at 01:30

    First off, I don’t watch Dawson’s Creek. So I don’t know if there is a deep rooted reason for using the actual names, if there is, please forgive my ignorance. I used to watch ALOT of TV, so I will give you the reason I don’t like it when programs actually use the real names of goods, services, or places of business. It really does not advance the plot. It also means that they cannot say anything that would offend or otherwise tick off the owners and/or consumers of said product or place. If you make up a name it will probably get a laugh, so the name has to be totally ridiculous or really mundane so it does not get a big laugh and is forgotten soon after. I can go into more detail if you like me to, this could get pretty long.

  2. John
    24. February 2003 at 12:24

    I’m with Augie. If it’s a small store, of course it makes sense that we don’t know it. But if it’s a megastore, and they’ve made a name up, it pulls me out of the story. As far as not being able to mock the store, if the store’s not the point of the scene, as its ususally not in these cases, that doesn’t seem like much of a handicap.

  3. Augie De Blieck Jr.
    24. February 2003 at 14:37

    Hey Cal –>

    In the end, I’m sure it’s just about keeping the lawyers happy. Also, financially, you have to close down a store for a day to shoot in it. So the production team would have to pay off the store to balance out the lost revenues. That’s why it’s usually easier to shoot at a local smaller shop, or set up a small portion of a store in a sound stage, or just write that scene out all together.

    I just think it’s more natural to use the real names. When you start consciously having the actors face the label of products towards the camera as they’re using them to bring in ad revenue — THAT’S when it would be too much. But I use brand names everyday in conversation. It seems more natural.

    Hey John –>

    See what I wrote above. We seem to agree here. =)