The television industry is once again, treating you as nothing but a consumer cash-cow, an open wallet for them to reach into.

I was indulging in one of my guilty pleasures, watching My Name Is Earl. I can’t help it, it’s such a stupid comedy, yet the characters are so endearing and when you come down to brass tacks, it’s really about someone doing the right thing, even if how it gets done is pretty ridiculous at times.

But tonight’s episode crossed a line, selling out bigtime to advertising and product placement. In the show, Joy, Earls’ ditzy Ex, sees a commercial on TV with Jane Seymour pushing some diamond necklace. Later she has a dream about it and sees Jane in her medicine cabinet. Seymour tells her that she has to disprove the theory of evolution so that she can have her own diamond necklace.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t about creationism to me. I think it’s hilarious that Joy sets out to disprove Darwin’s theory by putting a fish into an aquarium and putting food up on a rock. She says that if the fish grows legs and climbs up on the rock, then Darwin was right. The only problem is, she’s so stupid, she doesn’t know a pollywog from a fish and it does grow legs!

Okay, so that’s not so far out of a plot for this show. But then they cut to commercials and the same commercial with Jane Seymour for Kay Jewelers comes on. Oh, come on, how low can we sink into product placement hell. Bad enough we have to see people drinking Coke and using Sprint cell phones, or driving their Hybrid SUVs, now they’ve worked it into the plot!

Of course, this should be no surprise. This is the television industry’s way of saying “Go ahead, put our show on You Tube or Bittorrent, we’ll force you to watch the commercial anyway.” I wonder how much Kay Jewelers paid to get this ad, or if it’s just part of an experiment they were invited to be part of.

Anyway, I found it slightly offensive, in that condescending TV way that thinks we are placed on this planet to watch whatever crap they serve up.

And of course, at the end of the show, Joy received her necklace, reinforcing the Open Hearts theme… fast-forward through that with your Tivo!