By Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist Published Dec 23, 2009 at 11:00 AM
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I didn't do any of my Christmas shopping at Target this year.

While I can't say I consciously stayed away because of the discount retailer's holiday ad campaign, it annoyed me enough to play at least a part in that decision.

You must have seen the series of TV spots featuring something uncomfortable about Christmas gift giving. There's the one with the young couple where the guy seems surprised at the flat-screen TV that "Santa" brought.

Here's the spot:

There are others in the series, equally unsettling: Kids make fun of their dad. A little girl thinks she doesn't deserve her gifts, but her parents say the gifts didn't cost that much anyway. A guy gives his girlfriend some jewelry and she says she didn't think they were at that point, leaving the guy crestfallen.

So this is Christmas?

In a tough economic year, adding at least a bit to the pressures of shopping and the other holiday requirements, does a retailer really want to make us feel more uncomfortable?

I'm not saying the spots aren't funny.

But they sure don't make me think kindly of Target this Christmas. And why would I shop at a store that makes me uncomfortable when there are so many alternatives?

Stuart keeps drawing praise: My former Milwaukee Journal Sentinel co-worker Stuart Carlson is now, as he puts it, "laboring in the solitary vineyards of syndication."

He's still an ace political cartoonist, as shown by his inclusion in Time Magazine's list of  of the 10 best editorial cartoons of 2009, with his take on the nomination of Judge Sonia Sotomayor to the U.S. Supreme Court.

On TV: Channel 58 is shutting off the simulcast of its analog signal on Dec. 31. It had been airing it on Channel 63 for the handful of folks who didn't make the digital transition in June.  Channel 63 won't go dark, but will air an analog simulcast of the old shows called Me-TV, which airs its digital signal on Channel 49.1. It's also on Channel 19 on Time Warner and Charter cable systems.

  • Channel 6 is shuffling its late-night lineup starting Monday night, moving "My Name is Earl" to 12:05 a.m., and replacing it at 11:05 p.m. with "TMZ" "Extra" moves up to 11:35 p.m.
  • Saturday's debut of  "Doctor Who: The Waters of Mars" gave BBC America its highest primetime rating ever,  bringing in 1.1 million viewers to the channel available on satellite and digital cable.
  • "Spartacus: Blood and Sand" won't premiere on Starz until Jan. 22, but Broadcasting & Cable reports the premium cable channel has already ordered a second season.

Stewie's big break: The animated Stewie Griffin read David Letterman's Top 10 list Monday night, the "Top 10 things you don't want to hear from your child."

Tim Cuprisin Media Columnist

Tim Cuprisin is the media columnist for He's been a journalist for 30 years, starting in 1979 as a police reporter at the old City News Bureau of Chicago, a legendary wire service that's the reputed source of the journalistic maxim "if your mother says she loves you, check it out." He spent a couple years in the mean streets of his native Chicago, and then moved on to the Green Bay Press-Gazette and USA Today, before coming to the Milwaukee Journal in 1986.

A general assignment reporter, Cuprisin traveled Eastern Europe on several projects, starting with a look at Poland after five years of martial law, and a tour of six countries in the region after the Berlin Wall opened and Communism fell. He spent six weeks traversing the lands of the former Yugoslavia in 1994, linking Milwaukee Serbs, Croats and Bosnians with their war-torn homeland.

In the fall of 1994, a lifetime of serious television viewing earned him a daily column in the Milwaukee Journal (and, later the Journal Sentinel) focusing on TV and radio. For 15 years, he has chronicled the changes rocking broadcasting, both nationally and in Milwaukee, an effort he continues at

When he's not watching TV, Cuprisin enjoys tending to his vegetable garden in the backyard of his home in Whitefish Bay, cooking and traveling.