The most terrifying things on television

Last updated 11:25 14/11/2012

There are two things that are currently making me anxious and fearful and which I find myself, in idle moments, ruminating on. They are, in order of "terrifyingness": zombies (an old favourite), and the woman on the Lighting Direct ads.

Zombies is an easy one to explain. The third season of The Walking Dead started last week on TV2, and latterly the trailer for World War Z just came out. Is it any wonder that I'm having dreams about them attacking me? That is perfectly reasonable. Slightly less reasonable is that when I was biking to work the other day and saw a guy on the footpath ahead of me shuffle out of a front gate, my first thought (i.e. the one that kicked in before reason had an opportunity to turn up) was that he was a zombie. Which made me feel kind of bad when I realised he just had a limp. As if having a bung leg isn't bad enough, now he's got complete strangers thinking he might be a "walker". Whoops.

But even more scary than sufferers and carriers of an imaginary zombie plague is the rather-too-real-for-comfort "Woman who fronts the ads for Lighting Direct (when she's not feasting on the souls of virgins)".

I find her pants-wettingly frightening. I actually physically recoil at the sight of her. 

If you haven't seen a recent television commercial for Lighting Direct then you may not be able to truly understand the threat this woman poses to the sanity of Kiwi television viewers. Like today's solar eclipse it is recommended that you not look directly at her.

I've tried to break down what it is about her that unsettles me so. Is it the strangely distracting outfits she seems to wear? Is it the spray tan overdose? Is it the aggressively parted hair? Is it the weird hand-on-hip pose she affects? I think it's all those things but mostly it's the over-bright smile combined with a cold deadness in the eyes. She has eyes like a shark.

But then, looking natural on camera is actually quite hard. There's a certain calmness and neutrality of body movement and tone of voice required not to be distracting. Case in point - whichever Kardashian it is they've got sharing hosting responsibilities on X-Factor USA. She exudes all the warmth and grace of movement of a fridge with the door open. And she's constantly smiling, but the eyes...the eyes tell a different story. I prescribe a muscle relaxant and some fart jokes, immediately.

Closer to home the manic "Big Save Furniture woman" with her urgent shoutiness and "claw hands" is at least doing it on purpose. Though I expect Richard Till in his role as Countdown spokesperson has no control over that odd vocal cadence of his. At least, I can't imagine that anyone would deliberately do that when they could speak like a normal person. But I don't want to give Richard a hard time. I've had a certain fondness for him ever since I spotted him actually shopping at Countdown...with a trolley full of wine and beer.

And then there's this guy. His frenetic "party pill" delivery makes me want to go into a cool, quiet room for five minutes to regain my equilibrium, and I have a long-held aversion to men with overly groomed eyebrows.

At least they're all having a go, I suppose. It is much harder than you would imagine to not look like a kid who's had too much red fizzy.

Do you have a favourite "TV commercial freak"? Shouldn't all those shouty guys who are constantly overstocking their warehouses with vacuum cleaners be on their second written warning by now?

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