We all have them, those shows you hate never admit to watching but secretly love. It’s usually a trashy reality show or badly scripted cable show. All-in-all I’m pretty into all of my shows. If I had to point out one as a “guilty pleasure” it would probably be Cougar Town (s/o to my girl Busy Philipps), American Ninja Warrior, Sister Wives or Tiny House Nation.
Cougar Town only comes on at 12:30 AM on weekdays after the rerun of Conan. What is it about reality TV and cable shows that make us feel guilty about watching them? Why do we keep quiet shows we love from the people we love? Don’t binge in shame!
A show doesn’t even have to be poorly made for people to feel guilty about watching it. Nora Zelevansky says that she has encountered people who feel ashamed to claim they watch New Girl (a new favorite of mine) despite its clever script and strong cast. She points out the similarity of rooting for a reality show contestant vs. an athlete in pro sports.
Studies show that we watch these kinds of shows give us a sense of escapism. “As for relaxing, studies show that women are more likely to watch television to counteract negative feelings than men.” It is basically engrained that we appreciate TV as an escape from the troubles and insecurities that plague our own lives. Other studies show that watching TV can raise people’s moods better than other guilty pleasures like shopping or chatting with friends.
GQ has an essay from Kevin Smith about why we love bad movies to shed further light on why it’s okay to watch endless Lifetime, ABC Family, and Hallmark Christmas movies. So let your bad TV flag fly and watch your shows and movies with pride!
What are your favorite “guilty pleasure” TV shows? Let me know in the comments or on Twitter.