We all have those things that we hate to love – and we usually keep them to ourselves and deny all knowledge of them if someone asks. But you’re definitely kidding yourself if you say you don’t have a guilty pleasure.
For some people it’s chocolate or an embarrassing film from the 90’s, but I have to confess, my guilty pleasure has to be reality TV. Trashy, staged, unrealistic reality TV. Not only do I hate to admit that I take any shred of enjoyment from it, but I also love to hate it. It makes terrible TV – I appreciate that – especially with atrocious concepts like MTV’s “Ex On the Beach” and “Geordie Shore” gracing our screens. But I, like a lot of people, can’t get enough. From “Made in Chelsea” to “Big Brother”, to “Keeping up with the Kardashians,” you name it, I probably watch each season as eagerly as the last.
It isn’t that I find these programmes particularly engaging, nor do I wish I was a member of their Z-list celebrity crowd – excessive binge-drinking, eating kebabs and getting paid to do so is not big and it’s not clever. But reality TV is just so easy-watching (and makes great hangover TV). You also don’t have to be emotionally invested in a deep and potentially depressing storyline (well, you can if you want, Gaz and Char were pretty compelling).
To me it’s just a bit of harmless escapism. By no means do I look up to these reality stars as role models, but the arguments and drama that ensues on these shows is of course much more dramatic than my life – though I definitely prefer to watch as a bystander since I don’t crave that lifestyle at all. It gives me a sense of accomplishment when I compare my life to the likes of Geordie Shore’s Chloe Ferry (who, admit it, is quite frankly a mess at times), and think, yeah, I’ve got my life together over here. It makes me assess my current academic situation and career aspirations and I can safely say I believe I’m on course.
Now, I’m not criticising their life choices (or perhaps I am), but are they even happy doing what they’re doing? Happy with the version of themselves that they’re exposing to the world? Yes, they may have money now, and get to spend much of their time on lavish holidays, but in a few years who will even know their names? All that will be left of them is a failed cosmetic brand venture, a dwindling social media following and a weight loss DVD. Now who wants that?
Moral of the story… continue to relish in my guilty pleasure and feel content with my drama-free life.
Photo by Andrea EA Ponente