As further evidence that 1) the McSweeney’s obsession with the “actual” is catching on, and 2) nobody has any clue what constitutes a “non-fiction” narrative… we present the following commercials for TruTV.

Their slogan?


Without using a pat definition from the OED, can you explain to us how “actuality” is different from “reality?”

For that matter, how is “Tru” different from “true?”



Filed under "Non-fiction", McSweeney's Nasal Congestion

3 Responses to Truthpocalypse

  1. fictionadvocate

    Side question. I think we can agree that these commercials are targeted primarily at men. (The bachelor protagonists, the bro-like “whack,” the extreme sports clips, the typeface that’s reminiscent of Axe Body Spray ads.) Could this be an extension of the belief that men are more interested in “non-fiction” stories, while women are the primary audience for fiction?

  2. I object to any binary that posits reality tv as equivalent to non-fiction, but if anything, this ad seems to be attempting to carve out a space in reality tv for men because reality tv shows tend to be geared towards women. I’m thinking of Bridezillas, home and people makeover shows, the Real Housewives franchise. I bet most of the talent shows (Dancing With the Stars, American Idol, So You Think You Can Dance?, Top Chef, Project Runway) have a stronger following among women than men. Unless you define the History Channel and National Geographic as reality tv (and you could probably make an effective argument for doing so) I think reality tv generally targets a female audience. If you wanted to bring genre and gender into the equation, I’d say the more salient stereotype would perhaps be about reality tv that’s blatantly about shocking viewers versus reality tv that’s driven by ploys for empathy.

  3. A similar case of an ad campaign that attempts to redefine what people are looking for in a story:

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