So, The Middle is a television program on the Disney Corporation’s ABC Network. As the series’ title screams, it is as blatant a knock-off of another program, namely Malcolm in the Middle, as you could ever find in any medium, with all the usual steps down, including a huge drop-off in acting and writing talent (not that Malcolm in the Middle was ever anything wonderful itself). Obviously, the market-measurers at Disney/ABC simply noticed that the formula — ironic, navel-gazing self-pity and apolitical class resentment — still had some legs.
I mention this utterly turdy show because it just recently stepped to a new low in the multiply burned-over and reconstructed capitalist Potemkin Village that is American television. This week, The Middle aired an entire episode that was an undisguised, ham-fisted commercial for the Volkswagen Passat.
The set-up, shown in this clip, is as terrible and stupid as everything else about this series and this episode. The premise is that the main characters’ neighbors are away doing something fun, but somehow forgot to park their brand new Volkswagen Passat in their garage, so call as ask the main characters to move it in for them. This, of course, launches a series of scenes in which the main characters praise the various wonders of the Passat.
That’s the thing about commercial TV. It always gets worse, despite (and because of) all the money.