For virtually all of my adult life, I've been a regular viewer of early evening newscasts on ABC, CBS or NBC, and I've discovered in recent years that the commercials on these programs generally are more depressing than the news. I've lived alone for  years now, leaving me free to switch among the TV channels […]

 

For virtually all of my adult life, I've been a regular viewer of early evening newscasts on ABC, CBS or NBC, and I've discovered in recent years that the commercials on these programs generally are more depressing than the news.

I've lived alone for  years now, leaving me free to switch among the TV channels all I want, which I regularly do during the news programs airing at 5:30 p.m. here in the Central Time Zone. I flip around a lot on the chance  that one of the networks will feature a worthy  news story that isn't covered on the two other stations.

But the  commercials aired by the three networks on their evening newscasts are pretty much the same — and they're often depressing as hell.

If you watch for it, you'll probably notice that these programs are loaded with commercials for prescription drugs. That's because the viewing audience is  full  of  geezers like me, people   who tend to have more health problems than younger folks.

The fundamental problem with this situation is that the commercials generally are more depressing than the news. The manufacturers of the drugs they're peddling on TV apparently  feel an  obligation to warn viewers that there are potential drawbacks to medicating yourself with these products. And the lists of potential drawbacks can get pretty long. Some commercials seem to spend more time talking about possible  adverse side effects than anything else.

Perhaps the most unsettling of these potential side effects is suicide — or “thoughts of suicide,” as the commercials usually put it.

Oh, great! As if the malady I want to treat is not bad enough in itself, the drug I'm taking for relief might make me want to kill myself.   And the manufacturer is making a specific point of this matter in its TV commercials. It's probably a strategy to help guard against lawsuits.

Indeed, almost everything these days is intended to keep the lawyers at bay.

What a world!