It's been another long day, and all you want is to throw on your night pants, sit back with an adult beverage in hand, and act according to your target viewing demographic.
But which concentric red or white circle do you fit into? You thought watching House M.D. was a gender-neutral nighttime activity? Think again. Under the impression that adult swim. says something about your age? Probably not what you think it does. Still confused about the large-print edition of closed captioning that comes up when you flip to your favorite hip nightly drama? That's okay, we understand your confusion, and want to offer the option of helpful hospice care, for your future needs...
With this infallible by-the-commercials guide, find out just what label your viewing preferences pin to your chest...and adjust accordingly.
The Lady Show:
A lot of times, we think we're watching a universally accessible, stereotype-eradicating, bring-us-together-through-our-common-humanity night-time reality-based comedy. But then Jamie Lee Curtis comes on, talking about how often she has a BM, and you know that you're smack-dab in lady country. Other road-signs to look out for? Any sort of cleaning product (isn't your husband just the worst at scrubbing toilets! Let's laugh about it together!), unnecessary child-care items that feed off fear (did you know that without immunitox-boosting straws in their chocolate milk, children are 1.7% likelier to suffer from the common cold this year? Choose Ensure for Kids...for your peace of mind.), or potential dinner (that durn' family is always complaining, rushing around you like a whirlwind of your shattered dreams! Shut them up with a casserole made with canned soup! It leaves more time for that third martini...) means that, regardless of how much that dirt-blind husband insists he likes it, too, you are watching a lady show. Pop open that Yoplait and start talking about bloating, girls, 'coz this one's for you.
What this says about you: You're a woman. A tub-scrubbing, microwave-dinnering, perioding, occasionally irregular woman. Just one step away from vacuuming in pearls, no?
Exceptions: As with all programs, the occasional lady-commercial may just indicate that ladies are only one of many target demographics, another being...men, or ladies who haven't pursued homemaking as a career goal. Alternatively, you may be watching this show with your lady, and thus have nothing to bro-up about later. There is also the distinct possibility that this show is intended for a broad viewing audience of women and gay men. See: anything aired on Bravo. Which may raise your...hackles...in a different way...
The Kid's Show:
Cartoons aren't just for kids anymore, but getting all revved up about Hot Wheels and a new Barbie DVD adventure is. Or at least it ought to be. Watching the occasional episode of Sponge Bob (and suffering generic "rock" music played behind an ad where skateboarding koalas slam drinkable yogurt while you do so) so that your mind can shut off so completely that it starts going in reverse? A decent replacement for therapy. Filling your Tivo with iCarly episodes (teens, look your totally omg COOLest with the newest bedazzler for hair...works on eyebrows, too!), the latest incoherently-plotted Pokemon sibling (get your cards at Toys-R-Us today. THAT IS AN ORDER! BUY!), and anything starring Zac Efron, despite the fact that you left thirty behind a long, long time ago? Worth examining with someone certified in these sorts of issues...
What this says about you: There are two options here, both equally distasteful; either 1.) your taste and/or sense of humor has not advanced beyond that of the average 9 year old or 2.) you are a creepy, creepy pedophile. No, your "sense of whimsy" and being "young at heart" does not exclude you from one of these characterizations
Exceptions: As noted, occasional viewing of programs for the Nerf-set is not immediately problematic. Also, as a parent or child-care provider, this sort of viewing isn't your fault, though it may still have pernicious effects on your vocabulary and fart-joke-per-minute meters when consumed in concentrated doses.
The MAN Show:
Your chin-hair starts sprouting just thinking about cars exploding at high speeds, and boobs are necessary to most plots, right? But not every man-show will start your testosterone pumping all on its own...it needs twenty drunk girls mumbling about how they're finally 18, which means, of course, that it's time for that time-honored rite of passage into adulthood, making out with other naked girls, to do that. Other yer-a-MAN-dammit fist-pumpers? Any fast-food commercial (let's dig around for change in our seat and then use this, the last of any viable income we have, since we prefer sitting on the couch and scratching ourselves to employment, for...TACOS!), beer brand that doesn't mention calorie counts (Drinkability means never having to wonder how you woke up in bed with three goats and the nurse from your grade school...it went down that easy.), or commercial starring women who are sadly born headless and with only stumps for legs (TurboTax can not only guarantee you your biggest-ever refund, but BOOBS!!!) means that this is no country for non-men.
What this says about you: You probably belch a lot, call women "bitches" when other penises are in the vicinity, and are under the impression that, in all time and across all cultures, nothing has ever been as funny as Will Ferrell's naked ass and stomach. You may be impervious to the horrifyingly cloying scent of Axe body spray.
Exceptions: EXCEPTIONS ARE FOR PUSSIES! DRINK!
The Old-folks show:
Andy Rooney may be crotchety, but gosh durn-it, you like his spunk! And your stories fit in perfectly between Lifetime reruns of The Golden Girls and the Diagnosis Murder/Murder She Wrote double-death slot! And what with the miracle ear you have turned up to the highest setting, you're able to hear Wilford tell you how to control diabeet-iss and that pleasant young Alex Trebek inform you about the benefits of Colonial Penn. You may be 26 (hey, Golden Girls is timeless, okay?) but get out your Jitterbug anyway, and actually turn it on for once - it's time to answer the call of old-age.
What this says about you: You are probably shuffling towards death, more or less rapidly. But this active senior community is such an affordable choice, that there's no reason not to find other 'experienced' friends and take that walk(er) together...
Exceptions: Certain programs are split right down the middle between the two at-home sets, the moms and the retirees. The Price is Right is a good example, where ads are just as likely to extol the stain-fighting powers of Oxy-Clean! as the gum-gripping gusto of Sea-Bond. Please everyone by hooking your life-alert up directly to your (grand)kids' school phone number, brewing up some Folger's, with International Delight creamer, of course, and eating...whatever keeps you regular. People just don't pay enough attention to keeping regular these days.
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