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Bugged by Bugs:

Television's Infestation

by Neena Louise

There's a nasty little insect that's emerged in recent years, infesting TV stations everywhere: The TV Bug. It's that offensive little station/network I.D. logo that's often (but not always) ghosted on the lower right corner of your TV screen. I find it terribly distracting and irritating.

Several theories abound as to why they exist and how they came into being, the most prominent theory being "branding". That is, if you're watching a favorite show and see a network/station logo sitting there, you'll assume everything that network makes is good and watch more. Just how stupid do they think their viewers are? Another argument is that, with the plethora of channels jamming the airwaves, the bug is a necessity for viewers to know what channel they're watching when they channel surf. Anyone who finds that necessary is a moron with too many channels for their tiny little brains to hold at one time. I don't see why the memory-challenged don't just paste a channel guide to the back of their remotes, so that the rest of us won't be forced to endure the screen clutter. Other theories are that the bugs are used to brand privately-traded videos and prevent piracy, but I say they are there for one reason and one reason only: to enrage viewers.

Without a doubt, the most irritating thing about the TV bug is how much it obliterates subtitles and credits. I tried to watch a documentary on a cable news channel. It was an excellent documentary, but the subtitles kept running under the full-color, non-ghosted logo in the corner, making the show impossible to follow. How disrespectful to the filmmakers! On another occasion, I was trying to read an hour-long drama's opening credits. They, in their wisdom, put the opening credits on the left side of the screen (presumably to avoid the bug that would be residing on the right), but the station put their black, solid bug on the left, obliterating the credits. And you can just forget about subtitled movies!

Then there's PBS. PBS's most redeeming quality has always been their commercial-free (mostly classic) movies. How it ruins a movie with that damn face in the lower right corner! I can't even watch PBS anymore. What's the point since it's no longer commercial-free? I am especially irritated by pay channels (especially commercial-free ones) that clutter their screen with a bug. I pay a premium to get those channels, I should at least be able to watch without that obnoxious little critter crawling around my TV screen. It seems there's no such thing as commercial-free television any longer: Their resident insects are a constant advertisement for them.

What happened to the periodic flashing of a logo during a show? Why is it suddenly necessary to have that thing there all the time, through every show? From what I've gathered, most TV viewers DESPISE them (and many profess to be watching less TV because of them), yet most stations now seem to have a resident bug of their own. Making it OK, I guess. I tried calling three of my local television stations for comment and their reasoning behind their bugs. Two never returned my repeated calls; the third simply said "no comment". How interesting that they seem embarrassed by the issue! I, for one, am disgusted, though I'm hardly alone. I've even heard of viewers who are so annoyed by the bug (once you notice it, after all, it's hard not to be distracted and irritated by it) that they place a square of cardboard in the right corner of the screen to obliterate it - a square of cardboard being easier to ignore than a bug (especially a colored and/or animated one).

It's time for someone to invent TV Bug Insecticide.  
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