Oh, the joys of not being 13 anymore and therefore free to express ourselves in any ways we want to, instead of sticking to the imaginary expectations that no one really holds us to. Yet every time I use the term guilty pleasure (be it a TV guilty pleasures or any others), I almost feel like a silly teenager again – full of assumptions about what people may or may not judge me for. Absurd, isn’t it? A grown up woman worrying about what other people may think after learning of her binging patterns.
I like to think of myself as a well-rounded person, even if there is more hope than certainty in that statement. And although it is all nice and fluffy when it comes to talking about how much I enjoy reading philosophy, not all my interests are particularly… highbrow entertainment. Is it wrong? No. Should I be embarrassed of it? Definitely not. It comes in a package with being open to new experiences. I may reject a certain show or a hobby because it is not my cup of tea, but I’d never do this because I find it not worth my attention. This is what well-rounded really demands: looking for bits and bobs of knowledge and experiences everywhere, not only in a comfortable or fashionable niche.
And there is still a lot to learn, even in the worst of the worst TV guilty pleasures. Or at the very least – a lot to entertain oneself with.
Warning: My contain minor spoilers to shows that finished long ago.
Some people can get away with anything – even selling one’s girlfriend for a hotel
Everyone by know is probably well aware of how much I love my cat – but I am also well aware he is the biggest mischief maker of them all. Would I love him as much if he were sweet and always polite? Maybe, but he would definitely lose some of his charm. You see, my cat is the animal version of a bad boy™.
And where to look for a bad boy if not in American TV shows?
Just think of all the times Chuck Bass pissed you off. There is probably not enough time in the day to go over all of them. Gossip Girl in no means taught me how to forgive (because I still don’t know how Blair managed to find it in herself to forget about all the crazy stuff he dragged her through) – but it has shown me, first hand, what it really means to… hate to love someone.
The same can be said about Suits and Harvey Specter… or pretty much anyone else on that show. We all know these are some corrupt people, and we also know that what they do for a living is destructive to pretty much all of society as a whole. Yet we sympathize with them, do we not? Through all the bad and all the bad-er.
Other than Donna. Donna is fantastic and faultless, and don’t you dare say anything nasty about her.
It is possible to compete in a friendly fashion
I had always lived under the impression that TV competitions are ruthless – full of people screaming and yelling, and digging holes under each other. But then I discovered the magic of the BBC.
Don’t get me wrong – I learn tons about baking from The Great British Bake Off anyway; and I get plenty of crazy inspiration from it too. But there is a certain charm in this show (and all the other British great offs) that I appreciate most. It is just so… friendly.
The contestants actually help each other! Everyone is still competing for themselves, of course, but if someone is struggling really badly, they tend to give each other a hand with their bakes. And apart from one crazy guy who decided to bin his cake, there is none of the usual drama involved that is so typical of guilty pleasures TV shows.
Because if there is one thing I hate the most about TV competitions, it is scripted drama.
All magic comes with a price
It is unusual for a show’s marketing team to come up with a slogan so accurate to what the show represents. How did Once Upon a Time achieve that? Well, their other one was kind of a flop (Evil isn’t born, it’s made), but…
The price of magic is also so much more than the obvious Let’s cast spells and see what happens. It applies to a great many real life situations. To the hard work we put into our achievements. To the pain and sacrifices we have to make. To little deals we make with ourselves whenever we want something.
It is always important to think in terms of trade-offs; it is the only way we can avoid losing perspective as to what our desires are really worth. Otherwise, I am afraid, we may be up with a very pyrrhic victory.
It is never too late to find someone who cares
First Dates can be the most awkward of all my TV guilty pleasures, but most of the time it is simply the cutest.
No matter how old, inappropriate, bizarre, boring (whatever we as a society tend to deem unworthy of love) you are, there is always some hope that somewhere there is someone who would take you just like that. And that is SO ADORABLE.
Little moments of pleasure are not always worth the hassle
This one may seem related to the All magic comes with a price point above – but hold on for just a second. Because there is a grand difference between the sacrifices we take to get to our goals and wasting our lives away for the sake of little pleasures.
Don’t get me wrong. There is nothing wrong with a bit of hedonism here and there, and we really shouldn’t take everything seriously. But Californication, intentionally or not, shows the ugly side of catering to our every whim, the one most people choose to ignore.
Yes, I also don’t believe I am watching it. Yet somehow I am.
Talent should always be assessed regardless of its owner – but sometimes it is just so hard to do that
Sometimes one just detests someone so much, one is ready to throw the TV out of the window every time this person pops up on screen. I guess this is a side effect of TV guilty pleasures. But no show has ever taught me so much about disliking a person on the small screen as the first edition of the Polish Project Runway.
I cannot stand the American version (it is way too loud), and I have no clue if they ever made a British one (probably not; how could they ever compete with The Great British Sewing Bee?). Most of you will probably never have the pleasure of watching the Polish copycat. But trust me: the single most annoying and full of himself person in the history of television already happened and it was just as Project Runway started in Poland.
My bitter lesson from this experience was as follows: sometimes he would just (probably by pure luck… ok, even I know it is not true) make something I like – and I really really really struggled to get over myself to admit it. Yet I felt like it was simply unfair. One’s work should not be judged based on the craftsman’s or artist’s personality. It should be given a fair chance.
Which I never really gave him. Well. Sometimes I like to ignore my own preaching.
You can always screw up more
One of the guilty pleasures I hate to confess to watching is football. Yes, I do… enjoy it sometimes. But as soon as I say I like it, I suddenly am forced to watch it all the time – as if football fans believe you either live football or you absolutely detest it; there is no middle ground.
Watching Poland play is an extremely stressful experience. I would recommend it to anyone whose blood pressure is too low. We always start on such a high, doing great in the first few minutes of the game, and then, as if we were cursed, even if the opposing team is rubbish, we find new and new ways to fail.
New and more embarrassing, I should add.
… mostly by being the moaniest person on the planet
I know, this is very low entertainment. And I know the words I am about to use are considered sexist by people who I will never understand. But can you think of anything more tiring than a proper bridezilla on Don’t Tell the Bride?
Sometimes the grooms just don’t care. The worst guy I have ever seen on this show literally cheated on his fiancé while preparing for their wedding. Sometimes the grooms have very bad ideas. Sometimes I even feel sorry for the poor girl (more often than not). But the amount of overreaction on this show, scripted or not, is ridiculous.
What Don’t Tell the Bride has taught me is that some people just want to be miserable. They want to suffer. They want to be victims. They want to ruin their own wedding just so that they get a certain power over their significant other for the rest of their marriage. And that is simply not fair.
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