What do you know about the 2013 Ford Fusion? If you watched last night’s New Girl, the answer is “all too much” — thanks to a two-minute sequence in which clumsy Jess struggled to model at a car show. As she stumbled about in her giant heels, a brand ambassador droned on and on about the new model’s many features. If the physical comedy hadn’t been so labored, the bit might have worked. But it didn’t.
In an age of ad-skipping DVRs and pirated online streaming, viewers have learned to accept a certain degree of commercialization on their favorite shows — especially the ones that are ratings-challenged. At the end of the day, an episode of Fringe sprinkled with plugs for Sprint’s Google Wallet is better than no Fringe at all. And a few fourth wall-busting series have managed to win us over by turning product integration into a joke — think Arrested Development‘s “It’s a wonderful restaurant!” or 30 Rock‘s “Can we have our money now?”
But even if it did make sense for Jess to step in for her sick model friend Cece at a car show, it didn’t make sense to insert her into a two-minute car commercial. Of course, New Girl‘s attempted Ford/comedy fusion isn’t the first egregious example of commercial-addled TV — remember these five product placement pioneers?