For some people it’s The Voice or The X Factor. For others it’s Big Brother or I’m A Celebrity Get Me Out Of Here. There are hundreds of TV shows out there that qualify as guilty pleasures.
Because they’re “bad” TV. Because they’re so ridiculous you yourself are wondering what on Earth you’re doing here while you watch it. Yet, somehow, they still thrive. Probably because, much like a wrecked car on the motorway, you know you shouldn’t stare, but somehow you just can’t help it. I hear it’s perfectly normal.
When I was a teenager I was briefly into Loft Story (French equivalent to Big Brother) and Star Academy (it’s close to X Factor, but the contestants all live in a castle together and get classes and such there). Then for years, I stayed clear of those shows. A friend of mine tried to get me into Jeremy Kyle, but there’s only so much dumb people I can stand to watch.
Two years ago, I started watching Educating Yorkshire and Bouncers with a group of friends. Because there was a few of us, and we spent most of the episode commenting what was happening (plus a few of us are actually working in education), it was less about the content and more about what we thought. I loved it (we also ended up watching My Biggest Tattoo Obsession and other Channel 4 crap).
Then someone told me about First Dates and Undateables, and I just got completely hooked on that. Dating is hard enough as it is and I thought it was a great idea to see what happens on a first date. Especially one organised through a “dating” website. Undateables on the other hand just goes to show we all need and deserve love in our lives, no matter what we look like, what issues we have or how long we’ve been single.
On top of that, and this is as far as my guilty pleasures go, I like watching Snog, Marry, Avoid and Don’t Tell The Bride, as well as the very similar Continental equivalent Quatre Mariages Pour Une Lune De Miel and Vier Hochzeiten Und Eine Traumreise.
The first is of course a crash course in what makes us judge people on their appearance. And oh how we judge. And yes, most of the time the cases are extreme (I haven’t yet seen people walking around town in their underwear-unless you count the queue outside Przym between 10pm and 1am) and the make-unders are often needed in order to a) save them money and b) reveal the person underneath the ten inch deep foundation. But all in all, it’s just trying to celebrate natural beauty where we can find it. And it’s often interesting to see when people decide to go back to their original look because they felt their natural self wasn’t beautiful enough.
Don’t Tell The Bride is just hilarious. Obviously, they pick couples where the guys have no clue, or are set on a crazy theme. And I know the brides are only turning into headless chickens because they have no idea what will await them on their biggest day (and I know I’d go nuts!). But usually it all goes well, even if at first they were unsure. I’ve so far only seen one episode where the bride didn’t like the dress, and I’ve seen a fair few. The other show, basically translated as Four Weddings And One Honeymoon, sees four brides attend each other’s weddings and rate them. The highest scoring gets the honeymoon. It’s basically Come Dine With Me (which is also cool) with weddings.
What are your guilty pleasure shows?
Pictures from: channel4.com, wordpress.com, andoverandvillages.co.uk, staticflickr.com, wikimedia.org