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Friday, April 14, 2006

Signs of the Times

Posted by on April 14 at 11:20 AM

Every generation has those moments that perfectly encapsulate the zeitgeist: “waist-up” footage of Elvis on Ed Sullivan, Dick and Mary’s separate beds on The Dick Van Dyke Show, Patty Hearst clutching that rifle on the Hibernia bank surveillance tape.

Last night, I experienced what felt like another of these zeitgeist-defining moments. I was watching The Office on NBC. During a commercial break, the face of an Office cast member appeared on the screen. It was the actor/comedian B.J. Novak, and he looked very, very concerned. The reason why soon became apparent: This was one of NBC’s “The More You Know” public service announcements, which for the past 17 years have enlightened Americans on current events and societal dangers, from racism and drug addiction to eating disorders and internet safety. Tonight, B.J. Novak tackled a new threat ruining the lives of Americans everywhere:

“Never, ever, ever videotape yourself having sex,” said Novak, with deep and impressive gravity. “You can say you’ll tape over it, but you won’t, and the tape will fall into the wrong hands. So just don’t do it. Never, ever, ever tape yourself having sex.” Then, NBC’s signature musical flourish, and Novak’s serene voice: “The more you know…”

Recounting it now, I realize NBC’s plea may have been designed to protect viewers as much as would-be sex tape participants. (God knows my life would be happier if I’d never seen that Fred Durst video.) Still, apparently we’ve come to a point in history when citizens need to be told not to record themselves having sex via prime-time public service announcements, which kinda makes the Pope’s psychotic Good Friday address seem not so crazy….which is a terrifying state of affairs.

And then comes the glorious punchline: The whole ad is a joke, and can be seen here!

God, I love a good mindfuck. Thank you, Office.

CommentsRSS icon

Where can I get the tape of B.J. Novak having sex? Was it with Steve Carell? That would be hot. I promise not to distribute it.

that reminds me, I have a video tape of Novak and Bush going at it, how much do you think I can get for it?

NBC announced a few weeks ago that they were going to have joke "The More You Know"s on Thursday nights. It's part of the "Will and Grace" goodbye party.

Well, that'll learn me to pay more attention to NBC announcements...

Man, the (American) Office started out slow but it's pretty damn funny now.

Good advice.

Re: The American Office: Agreed. The first time I tried to watch (very early in the run) all I could see was how they were fucking it up. But now it's grown into its own, and is super funny.

I want a button that says "Dwight Schrute for President".

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