Remember how they always told you TV rots your brain? Surely they (whoever “they” are, we all have our theories) would be quite shocked to hear that a healthy TV diet helped a bunch of doctors solve a medical mystery and save a patient. All thanks to the show House M.D., starring the inimitable Hugh Laurie. [More]
Infomercial products usually claim to solve a problem that you didn’t know you had. This is usually the stuff of jokes, but what if the products actually improved our lives and made us and our homes more safe? Such a thing is possible in the case of the Lint Lizard, a $11 gadget that promises to attach to your vacuum and suck gobs of lint out of the crevices of your dryer. [More]
Every time I look at a TV during the last few weeks, I see ads for the Perfect Tortilla, a wavy mold designed to help you make lovely edible bowls out of a regular store-bought tortilla. At home, visiting family, even at a sports bar: the ad is everywhere. What makes it annoying isn’t the spokesman who resembles a bald Billy Mays. It’s that this product is useless, even by the rarified standards of as-seen-on-TV merchandise. [More]
Long-running basic cable staple House Hunters (and its various iterations) are the lifeblood of HGTV, which sometimes seems to air nothing but half-hour after half-hour of incredibly picky people looking at three possible places to purchase, one of which seems to always fit the incredibly finicky buyers’ check list. Most of us have known the show is at least partially staged, but now a woman featured on the show pulls back the curtain even more. [More]
If, like me, you’re a regular watcher of basic cable programming (yay for House marathons on a dreary Sunday!), you’ve probably seen the ads for those kits that promise to restore car headlights that have fogged over or dulled from oxidation. They promise to clear up that haze quickly and cheaply, but do they work? [More]
Infomercial products are all about solving problems that you didn’t realize you had. Did you know, for example, that the hot dogs you and your family eat are incredibly boring? It’s true. That’s why someone created the Happy Hot Dog Man. For only $10.99, you can create the unholy spawn of a frankfurter and a gingerbread man in your very own home. [More]
A basic understanding of physics should tell you that the Fuel Doctor–a small device that you plug into the 12-volt power outlet in your car–will not work. The gadget claims that by “conditioning” your car’s electrical systems, it increases power and gas mileage. But…why have none of the major automakers thought of this? Is it all a plot between the car and gas companies… or is the Fuel Doctor just automotive snake oil?
To find out, Consumer Reports plugged the device in to cars set up with sensitive fuel mileage meters, and also tested the vehicles’ power with and without the Fuel Doctor. Their verdict? Well, there are some pretty lights on the Fuel Doctor, so it makes a nice decoration.
A few weeks ago, we asked you which infomercial items you would love to see put to the test, and in the comments and e-mails, a number of you mentioned Mighty Putty, the epoxy adhesive hawked by the late Billy Mays. But then we looked through the archive over at sister site ConsumerReports.org and found they’d already put the putty through the paces. [More]
We all know that it’s best to take the claims of any infomercial — or really, any commercial at all — with a grain of salt so large it would turn Lake Michigan brackish. And yet, there appears to be no end to the stream of products being hawked late at night by loud (and often Australian) pitchmen. [More]
I think it’s safe to say that most people have a decent grasp on the distinction between advertising and reality. Most of us know that the cheese on our Whopper isn’t going to perfectly placed like the cheese on TV or that the bacon on our Baconator probably won’t be identical to the crispy, glistening bacon we see on the poster. But at what point does fast food cross the line between “acceptably different” from the picture and “completely unrecognizable”? [More]
If you watch enough TV, there’s a good chance you’ve seen ads for The Green Millionaire, which purports to be a free book that will teach you how to take advantage of government programs to do things like “keep your gas tank full for free” and “get big dollars to ‘green’ your home, even if you rent.” But some complain they’re getting more than the free book — they’re getting a pricey magazine subscription they can’t get out of. [More]
I remember being a kid and having a male relative tell me, “You know you’ve found the right woman when you can fart in bed and she doesn’t leave you.” That may very well be true, but a new product claims that it can save relationships by blocking you or your partner’s passed gas from making its way into the room. [More]
Have you caught this Undercover Boss show on CBS? For the unitiated, they take corporate head honchos and send them undercover at their own companies for a few day. To the skeptics (like yours truly), it always seems a little too packaged and contrived to be genuine, but some of the workers featured on the show say it’s the real deal. [More]
The Therma Scarf, a polyester/cotton blend scarf with pockets and microwaveable heat packs marketed by infomercial powerhouse Telebrands, has been recalled. The scarf’s heat packs, made of flaxseeds, pose a fire and burn hazard to wearers. In a related story, someone actually thought it would be a good idea to make a microwaveable scarf with pockets. [More]
Sometimes you need to leave the house, for instance to go to the supermarket or to attend a job interview, and let’s face it: that’s when the Snuggie fails you. Until they make the formal Snuggie, there’s at least PajamaJeans. They’re like sweatpants, but disguised as jeans. Sadly they’re only for the ladies right now, so guys will have to stick to sweatpants when they give up on life. [More]
Looking for pants “custom made for a primary anchor in a top 5 market”? Or how about a sports suit worn on air “by a play-by-play announcer for a regional sports network”? Look no further.