Every so often, I find myself in the mood to watch bad television. Normally, this isn’t a problem. But I’m learning that there’s a threshold between watching bad television ironically and falling head-over-heels in love with it. I’m still not sure where that line is.
You see, when it comes to TV, I have standards. No Twilight. No reality shows involving weddings, houses, or eating gross food. Actually, no reality shows PERIOD. And for goodness sake, NO Kardashians.
I feel like the majority of shows I watch aren’t cringe-worthy. I’ve got my period dramas, from Downton Abbey and The Paradise. Then there’s fun fantasy shows like Doctor Who, Once Upon a Time, and Merlin. On a more serious note, I also like Game of Thrones, which is one of the most well-told stories I’ve ever seen on screen. Of course, I like superhero shows such as Arrow and The Flash. Not to mention The Musketeers, which is both historical AND action-packed. Finally, I like quirky comedies like The Office, Parks and Recreation, and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.
Every once in a while, though, I find myself indulging in television that I know is just crap.
Most of my indulgences include poorly written teen flicks and anything found on the Hallmark Channel. For those of you who aren’t versed in American cable TV, Hallmark is the mecca of sappy love stories featuring mediocre actors and plots you can predict for a mile away.
A couple of weeks ago, I curled up in bed and opened my laptop. Flipping my web browser to Netflix, I fully intended to finally start watching Gilmore Girls. (I’ve heard great things for a long time and feel like I need to get on the bandwagon.) What I ended up clicking on was nothing of the sort.
The show I ended up watching was a low-budget, highly Christian period drama set on the Western Canadian frontier. I pegged the protagonist’s romantic lead within five minutes of starting the show and could see a long, slow trail of attraction, confusion, courtship, separation, more confusion, etc. etc. etc. The show oozed sentimentality. When the first episode ended, I spent a moment basking in the mediocrity.
Then I watched the next episode.
Long story short, I managed to watch two seasons (approximately 20 hours) of the show in five days… on top of working 50+ hours that week. At first, I couldn’t look away because of how cringe-worthy it was. But then something shifted.
I made the mistake of watching the show’s final episode (up to date) late at night. It was a cliff-hanger. The romantic lead was about to finally ask the protagonist to marry him… only to walk in on the leading lady being proposed to BY ANOTHER MAN. To which I respond, “What does she say? She can’t marry him! She’s in love with the other guy! No! NOOO. This is not happening. PLEASE TELL ME THIS IS NOT HAPPENING. I CAN’T HANDLE THIS!!!” It took forever to fall asleep simply because I couldn’t stop thinking about what happened to the characters.
The next morning, I realized something. Somewhere along the line, I stopped watching the show because it was bad. Instead, I watched the show because I was obsessed. And I thought:
How does this happen? How do we get sucked in so easily to things we know are poor quality? How do they worm their way into our hearts?
I don’t know the answers to these questions. But I now have a guilty pleasure show and am counting down the days until the next season premiers around Christmastime.
What are your guilty pleasure shows? What bad TV do you enjoy? Let me know in the comments!