I wouldn’t say I’ve been missing it, Bob.

I participate in an online survey program–I like to give my opinion, and I like giving my opinion more so when I am compensated for it. I was sent a survey asking me to watch an episode of a new television program, and for watching it and answering some questions about it, I would be paid ten dollars. Ten dollars!? To watch TV? I’m in!

The show was called “Smothered”, about two sets of grandparents battling over who gets to spend the most time with their granddaughter. As the laugh track chimed in over a joke so stale a decade-old Saltine would be more palatable, I suddenly realized this ten dollars would be very hard-earned. “Very” may not have been an appropriate word. “Excruciatingly” strikes a bit closer to the mark. The show opens on Gillian and Zack, a married couple who have recently had a daughter. Gillian does not seem particularly interested in either her daughter or Zack, and Zack is portrayed as an effeminate, ineffective parent who calls his wife “dude”. (This pronouncement was met with riotous laughter from the no-doubt canned audience.) Gillian’s parents are introduced as down-home good-old Christian country folk, and Zack’s parents are portrayed as upper-crust Jewish socialites who think nothing of long vacations in France. Oh ho ho, everyone! Look, it’s an odd couple! This has never been done before in the history of television! Neither set of grandparents seems to particularly like their own children, but fight over time with the granddaughter, who is essentially ballast. Emotion and personality-free, she could be anything–a doll, a purebred puppy, or even a particularly nice rock. She is a prop intended to demonstrate just how zany and wacky the adults around her are, one set of which sneaks her off to a church to have her christened against her parents’ wishes, and the other set of which had a secret Jewish baby-naming ceremony. There is also a dull sister named Susie who solely exists as a point of universal loathing by all family members. It’s all about scoring points in an attempt to hurt the other set of grandparents, and all of this would be just fine if only it were funny. I can laugh at mean jokes with the best of them, but there was only one joke in the entire episode which made me laugh aloud, an offhand line about serving pork on a Jewish holiday and calling it “Hamukkah”. The rest of the jokes drew rolled eyes and groans, and even an amount of writhing in my seat like a small child, desperately wanting it all to be over so I could get to the survey portion and unleash the seething hatred building within me toward everyone involved in the production of this show. And lo, how my hatred flowed. I hated the music. I hated the characters. I hated the plot. I found them all unrealistic and unrelatable. (There was no option for “I hoped a plane would crash into the set.”) Had I found myself in their unenviable situation, I would have crammed the child back into myself and started phoning around for abortion deals.

And after all this, my time spent watching the show, and my time answering questions about which characters I might like to see more of (none) and which characters I might like to see less of (all), I was informed that the number of survey participants had been reached already and I would not be receiving my ten dollars.

I want my ten dollars. I paid, cast of Smothered. Oh, how I paid.

Your bill is in the mail.

25 Comments I wouldn’t say I’ve been missing it, Bob.

  1. scearley

    I can imagine the pitch.
    “We’ll make what I assume Little Fockers is about based on watching the trailers, but use no star power.”
    “Aren’t you shooting for a 13 episode commitment?”
    “Yes. But we have 6 written, and do our own coverage for the remaining 7 based on commitment.”
    “Six written? You wrote what amounts to Little Fockers but twice as long?”
    “Absolutely.”
    “SOLD!!!”

    Reply
    1. admin

      I use e-rewards. I’ve had some good luck in the past, but lately it has been sucking.

      It’s a new TV show, one of the survey questions asked to which network I thought it was most suited. Sadly “none” was not an option.

      Reply
        1. admin

          Ultimately I chose “Lifetime”, figuring if it was going to be made regardless of what I thought of it, a network I never watch should be the one saddled with it.

          Reply
          1. splatterhouse

            anyone who thinks sexism is dead should watch lifetime for five minutes and see what assholes still think should be targeted to women. i hate that network sfm. >_>

          2. admin

            One day, my dad and I were joking about Lifetime movies, saying that they were all “betrayal this and betrayal that”. My mom protested, and we pulled out the network listings–it was an afternoon of “Secret Betrayal” and “Betrayal of a Son” and “The Betrayed” and NOTHING could plug up our donkey brays of laughter.

  2. hopefulspirit

    There are no words for how wrong that is. To suffer through that only to be denied your $10?!

    I wonder how many of those survey participants thought it was a fantastic show and highly recommended it. That’s a scary thought.

    Reply
    1. admin

      In darker moments, I’ve wondered if perhaps I was denied my $10 because they didn’t want my hateful answers included in their survey results.

      Reply
  3. aliminx

    Have you signed up with House Party, BzzAgent or Synovate? I’m guessing you’ve heard of House Party and BzzAgent, but Synovate was pretty new to me, until recently, and I’ve already have 4 or 5 product tests sent to me to try, and almost have enough points to cash out for $25. You only get a survey once a day or every few days. It’s not a spammy site. I’m eating something they sent me, right now :)

    Reply
  4. madamecacoon

    I’m a member of a few survey programs too. I’ve never had to watch and entire episode of something, but I have had more than enough instances of filling out a boring survey for something like 20 minutes only to be told that I “did not qualify” for the survey and would not be compensated.

    Those bastards.

    Reply

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