I have a confession to make. I sometimes watch shit TV, and truthfully? I really enjoy it. Wife Swap, The Jerry Springer Show, Come Dine with Me and Mary Queen of Shops number amongst my favourites. For a long time I was ashamed of my secret pleasures, I would watch them furtively and with a deeps sense of guilt, as if I were indulging in snuff films or Nazi Memorabilia. But no more. I want to make a stand, and proudly exclaim that I don’t think my life would be as good without them. My Saturday mornings would feel empty and dull if they were not there, and those nights that I can’t sleep would be even more torturous. They are brain fluff, and where would we all be if we didn’t have our stress relief? Hundreds would be dead by my hands if I didn’t have my pressure valves of tea, books and crap television.
I think part of the reason I love them is the arguing, the bitching and ridiculous insults. In real life I’m pretty repressed and constrained, which is of course the Great British tradition. I bite my tongue so often I’m actually amazed any of it is still left. I deal with most confrontations inwardly, which probably explains the IBS, eczema and tension headaches that frequently blight my life. I am unable to express my anger, so I live vicariously through the parade of unstable and probable sociopathic beings that inhabit those types of shows. My friend Maddie and I will watch shows simultaneously and exchange an inordinate amount of text messages about the unfolding events, alternately revelling in the drama and condemning that week’s heel. If there are not enough arguments or bitching in any particular episode I feel personally let down, at least one person has to cry to make it a good watch.
Some shows do take the ‘shit level’ too far. I am proud to say that I have never watched anything with Katie “cunt” Price in it, and shows like the X Factor just make me sad. Is that a double standard? Perhaps, but I would never judge anyone for watching them. Well, out loud at least.
Don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy the more intellectual and social pursuits of life. I love a good documentary and spending time with friends and loved ones. It’s just that I like to keep 11pm free to watch enormous Americans throw cake at each other.