Enjoy HOW?

Time-Warner Cable slogan introduced in February 2013:

 Enjoy Better

WTF?* Yeah, I understand that Time-Warner Cable and its advertising agency, Ogilvy & Mather, wants this slogan to raise a lot of eyebrows – or, in their words, more likely, “sound fresh.” A take on enjoy more, TWC’s enjoy better is not idiomatic, It’s rather ungrammatical, it starts people talking, and yada, yada, yada.** But that doesn’t keep it from raising something else –  the hackles of word nerds like me, if only by an inch or so. (See also WTF 3: Further with Ford?)

The transitive, or inactive, verb enjoy turns transitive when paired with better. In other words, to enjoy something more is to passively perceive additional pleasure, whereas to enjoy it better suggests enjoyment is an act – and, in turn, implies action of some sort (perhaps jumping up and down, whooping, or salivating)?

Advertising agencies make a habit of pushing the envelope,*** and at least this example of toying with traditional form is less offensive than the current overreliance on computer-generated imagery (CGI) – a technology that leaves too many television commercials looking both contrived and juvenile.

I happen to be a Time Warner Cable customer, though only because the company enjoys a monopoly in my city. And  better is a word I use in relation to TWC only when begging it to improve the lousy reception on my Sony Bravia. Should it ever happen, this news and TV-drama junkie will enjoy watching the tube more – not “better.”

* What the, er, fun?

** I wondered whether this early ’80s term popularized by the Seinfeld series had dropped off the radar, but a check of Google Ngram shows it to be just as current as blah, blah, blah, an idiom that took off in the 1940s. (See how much I care?}

*** This idiom derives from the mathematical envelope, which involves curves and two-dimensional configurions and is beyond the ability of this math dunce to explain. Suffice to say that to push the envelope is to test the limits, and the phrase didn’t becomes common until author Tom Wolfe used it in his book The Right Stuff (1979), focused on U.S. astronauts of the space race era.

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