I bitch the body electric

I don't know what television's like in the real world, but here in Canada our home channels are infested with old government-sponsored PSAs that hatched like fruit flies somewhere back in the early '70s and '80s. Today they swarm in the dark moist spaces between programming blocks, reminding us all that we once thought television was a tool for educating and improving the masses. Anti-smoking, anti-alcoholism, anti-drug abuse, pro-fitness and general positivity, the spots age more and more badly each year, colours degrading and sounds dissipating. The messages generally get hokier as they recede into the past as well - somehow I find the spectacle of Stevie Wonder singing "don't drive drunk" less persuasive nowadays. And it's only with the maturity of age that I realize they hired a blind guy to tell us how to drive. Was this a joke that everybody laughed about in 1986?

Some of the PSAs, I'm betting, are probably recent but they look old. Case in point: an ad promoting a healthy balance of food and activity, featuring a purple blob with googly eyes. The purple blob runs in place, opens its mouth, flexes purple biceps, melts into goo, and spins around repeatedly, little lightning bolts sizzling around its head to demonstrate its good health. Because nothing's healthier than a purple blob with googly eyes and a manic grin. The blob dances around to a cheery government-sanctioned rap track, the kind of lame positive faux-rap that invariably features lines like "I'm so-and-so/And I'm here to say...". At the chorus they break out into this jaunty tune that you instantly hate but can't dislodge from your head: "You got to balance food and activity/Put 'em together... the body electriciteee'. It doesn't even make sense. You're humming this line that doesn't make any sense, and you keep on wondering why they wrote nonsensical crap, and the people in line at the grocery store are starting to hate you. That's what this ad does to you.

Then it gets satanic.

Somewhere around the thirty second mark (this is one long-ass PSA), the purple blob holds up a grey blob that says 'food' in one hand and a grey blob that says 'activity' in the other. Rapmeister Active MC is explaining that you need both food and activity for a healthy body. So the blob guy demonstrates. First he throws the grey blob marked 'food' into his mouth, where it will no doubt be converted by the creature's digestive system into a purple blob. Then he takes the grey blob marked 'activity' and does the exact same thing.

He eats activity. This infuriates me.

Why can't he take 'activity' and start doing, I dunno, some activity with it? Stretch it out into a skipping rope? Make a kayak out of it? Why not a set of weights or a basketball or something?

I'm sure there's a reason for it. If the animators and the director and Active MC were to defend it in court (brought in on a charge of Well Intentioned Crap), they'd probably say that they'd considered a number of options: that they had to keep the pace fresh but consistent, that their budget was limited (true dat), that the blob really needed to transition smoothly into yet another spin-and-flex, and that hey, they had a project to complete on time, and for god's sake it's just for a bunch of kids and who cares if the blob eats activity anyway? Well, the judge would say, I do. Because I would be that judge. And I'd sentence them to a long hard life as Janet Jackson's personal assistants.

Because that sounds like a bad time to me.