Wednesday, February 19, 2014
Everyone hates Patrice King Brown: here's why
The days when we bar stool connoisseurs of local news and sports began to tune out during commercial breaks are long over.
These days, if there’s a break in the action many of us improve our postures, tug on our comb overs and daintily try and wipe whole cuts of pizza from our winter beards.
It’s like we think the TV commercial babes can see us through the screen and are appraising our worthiness.
We’re in a golden age of commercial production featuring local beauties who are pitching us everything from used cars to new flooring. It’s like it finally dawned on marketers that if a man must have his Olympic hockey viewing interrupted to consider a pitch about buying a Tempurpedic mattress he’s more open to the idea if it’s proposed by luscious Brandi Engel.
She’s dating former Penguin Tyler Kennedy and is the vivacious spokeswoman for Mattress World.
And think for just a moment how much more fun jogging down a sidewalk would be if, indeed, it were a Mattress World.
She’s a favorite, but we still have warm feelings for luscious Leslie Merrill (the Molyneaux Flooring girl), the Tom Henry Chevrolet girl and, Gina Cerilli, the beguiling doe-eyed brunette who shills for Latrobe Chevy.
We love ‘em all!
All but one.
We hate Patrice King Brown.
Everyone does. And it’s not just Pond bar chatter.
There were a spate of letters to the editors of Pittsburgh papers that said, in effect, we hate Patrice King Brown.
It’s a phenomenon that saddens me even as I understand it.
Who’s Patrice King Brown?
Patrice was for 32 years a fixture and prominent anchor for KDKA-TV News. I’m friends with a guy who worked directly with her many years and says she’s one of the sweetest people he’s ever known.
And she was universally loved. She had a very pleasant demeanor, warm delivery and a playful twinkle in her eye that viewers found engaging when she’d say things like, “And now let’s go to Susan with the weather!”
Television bestows great affection upon smiling pretty people who say nice and uncontroversial things like that every night.
It was rumored she was forced to step aside for younger “talent” in 2011 when she retired to pursue other opportunities.
She was 55.
Now, that doesn’t seem fair at all, does it? Certainly not.
But -- and this is just a guess -- when KD hired her in 1978 one of the most appealing aspects of her application wasn’t that she was ultra-adept at covering warehouse fires, but she had the gorgeous looks that enabled her to at age 15 be a Miss Teenage America runner-up.
So I’m sure her 2011 “retirement” allowed at least one aging reporter she in her youth bumped out to indulge in a karmic cackle.
Anyway, she moved to Southern California with her doctor husband where everyone in Pittsburgh wished her nothing but the best.
Then she made the fateful decision that is destroying all the goodwill she’d built up over the past three decades.
She became the face of Pittsburgh’s largest employer, UPMC, the hospital conglomerate that is trying to dodge paying any property or associated taxes by lawyerly claiming it has zero employees.
It would be like John Grisham contending he’s not a best-selling author, but is instead a humble blogger who let things get out of hand.
The obnoxious multi-millionaires who run UPMC have been engaged in a bitter and complicated turf war with the obnoxious multi-millionaires who run Highmark insurance.
Engaging in a corporate tiff over customers is one thing, but these two behemoths have for years now inflicted their petty squabble on western Pennsylvania’s news consumers.
They run childish ads in the newspapers nyah-nyah-nyah-nyahing each other and cite study after study that says the others’ pants are on fire.
And UPMC runs ad nauseam commercials featuring the once-beloved PKB. I’m unsure of the precise Latin meaning of ad nauseam, but if it means “ads that make people nauseous” I won’t be surprised.
In these ads she comes across not like a warm and beloved TV personality out to cajole us into seeing her side, but as a nagging mother who’s not going to let us out to play again until we eat all our peas.
The ads air so frequently and have such an off-putting and nasty tone, we’d hate them if they were done by sweetheart actress Jennifer Lawrence.
It just goes once again to demonstrate the power of television to build and vanquish affection.
Because, sadly, everyone now hates Patrice King Brown.
I can only hope UPMC is paying her a mint to perform these ads that have cost her so much goodwill.
Because we wonder how she can sleep at night.
Maybe she has a TemperPedic slumber cloud from Mattress World!
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