I’ve never been especially shy about my obsession with what most people would probably categorize as “bad” TV.
I give a shoutout to embarrassing television in the vast majority of my professional bios (including the one on this very blog). I’ve been known to sit through an entire Emmy Awards ceremony having never actually watched any of the nominated shows because they’re too, well, good. When my friends start talking excitedly about the groundbreaking, deeply complicated scripted shows that they’ve been getting into recently, I generally just fiddle with my phone because I have nothing to contribute. I used to get flustered in moments like that, especially when people would politely ask me (in the way of a normal conversationalist) if I’d been watching, too. I also used to feel awkward any time someone asked me about my favorite TV show. Shouldn’t I have something more impressive to say than “any city of the Real Housewives is just fine, thank you!”?
In the last year or so, though, I’ve really leaned in to my thing for bad TV. I no longer see any reason to spend valuable brainpower trying to come up with the name of a highly-touted drama when asked about my media consumption, nor do I have any patience for people who judge me when I can’t do this successfully. After all, I’m a well-read, well-educated, hard-workin’ lady. Why shouldn’t I take pride in watching (and then re-watching on Hulu) every single episode of the Housewives?
If, like me, you’re a fan of reality TV, you already know that this was a big week for the genre, with the finale of The Bachelorette airing on Monday night. I’m not ready to talk about the results yet, because it makes me too sad to think about Blake and his broken heart, but I did think it was the perfect time to share more thoughts about why I’m now totally owning my bad TV fandom. Plus, it’s Friday… so why not?
- Humans are fascinating in their natural(-ish) state. I’ve always loved people watching. Airports, malls, basically anywhere in New York City — you name it, and it’s an incredible place to observe people just living their lives. I’m convinced that my fascination with people watching contributed to my love of writing! Reality TV taps into this fascination, and while some of these shows are more heavily produced than others, if you allow yourself to buy into the illusion, it’s an amazing window into human behavior.
- Real life is serious enough. I read the news. I’m (largely) educated on all of the truly important things that are happening in our world these days. And since I do stay informed, I feel like it’s almost necessary for me to maintain a little mental balance by indulging in some pop culture that’s purely entertaining.
- It helps put my own drama in perspective. Trust me… I’m not interested in any of the craziness that happens on these shows happening in my own life, and I’m under no illusion that average people actually experiences these things IRL. That being said, it can be refreshing to realize — after a particularly vicious screaming match on the Housewives, for example — that I really have my you-know-what together a lot more than I give myself credit for.
- There’s such amazing conversation to be had around it. I’ve been loyally watching reality TV since the first time my mom turned on The Bachelor when I was in middle school, but the whole category has only gotten better since social media hit the scene. Add in the bevy of think pieces you can find all over the Internet after pretty much any episode of any show and the recap podcasts, and you’ve got yourself a fascinating subculture.
- It’s a social experience! If there’s Thai food and wine and my close girl friends, I’m there.
Do you love bad TV… or love to hate it? Tell me more in the comments below!