One would think the viewing public would be pleased with news that the 15-second spot is increasingly challenging the 30-second spot for airtime—apparently catering to people's generally shorter attention spans. But not so fast. All it really means is more commercials strobed at the viewer during the allotted advertising time. It also means a focus on one or two gags per ad at the expense of lengthier, more plot-based affairs. The latter are still being made, but they're mostly online features these days. But for TV, shorter is touted as better. Viewers have less patience for ads now, thanks to online streaming television and DVRs, so there's no sense spending money on a 30- or 60-second ad when 15 seconds will do. According to USA Today, a recent episode of How I Met Your Mother carried "five ads in just a minute and a half, including two spots for Dunkin Donuts," just in case anyone watching forgot for 10 seconds about how great their donuts are. And given that this is an election year, the political attack ads you're already sick of will become that much more unavoidable. Being a Marylander, I can't watch anything on YouTube without seeing a Martin O'Malley testimonial beforehand, and it's usually at the expense of Bob Ehrlich. For those of you keeping track, this is part of why we can't have nice things.