I must confess that I have an addiction. An addiction to trashy television and it’s associated click-bait gossip. In fact I started writing this blog post about 4 years ago, but got buried in a Google rabbit hole of trying to map all of the relationships between the cast of ‘Geordie Shore’, ‘Made in Chelsea’ and ‘The Only Way is Essex’. Anyway I’ve managed to draw myself out of the depths of ‘The Daily Mail’ and their giant titles [which ironically ended when I found myself clicking on an article entitled ‘Home and Away star George Mason’s mates help him and girlfriend move house’ and suddenly a pang of “what the actually fuck are you doing Arani!? No one in Australia has watched ‘Home and Away’ in at least 8 years (mostly because they can’t find those fancy “7 Mate” channels) and secondly this George Mason guy and his residential movements have absolutely no impact on your life….except of course if they become your….NEEEEIGHBOURS…hahahaha I couldn’t help myself].
And as you can probably see, I’ve also got a particular sub-addiction to British faux-reality, semi-scripted, warped English accent television. In case you haven’t seen any of these shows, or their related kissing-cousins, ‘Are You The One?’, ‘Jersey Shore’ and ‘Ex On The Beach’, the premise is essentially to put ten 20-somethings in a house together, provide them with alcohol and insist that they act out producer-driven story lines of fights and romance. [It’s how I’d imagine what the back-story is of all wait-staff of hipster cafes and stores. They look so cool with their tattoos and refusal to do their job and actually help you, and behind the scenes there’s just so much drama]. And almost, the more over-the-top and cringey the drama is, I just can’t stop watching [much like that time I saw my rather large, Year 5 Drama teacher’s pants split as she was doing ‘shadow dancing’ and I knew that looking away was the right thing to do, but if I didn’t look I wouldn’t have this story to tell for years to come…urgh why did I even bring up that repressed memory?].
Definitely my favourite part of ALL trashy television would have to be the Running Commentary Interludes, where the cast speak direct to camera about whatever is going on at that exact moment [like at that exact very moment, without using the past tense. So they’ll say something like “we’re having SUCH an awesome time” direct to camera, except that they’re not. They’re talking to the camera not having an awesome time. Argh! The refusal to use past tense when describing an event that clearly happened in the PAST is incredibly frustrating…I should write to the producers of ‘Ex on the Beach’ and point out their grammatical flaws]. Often the ‘star’s’ name will be written at the bottom so you can remember which make-up caked, over muscled ‘real person’ you’re listening to.
Then of course you have the sub-set of the Running Commentary Interludes: The Experts. This is where I’ll be enjoying my nice trashy television and out of nowhere some dickhead who’s apparently an “expert” in commenting on the activities of drunk 20-somethings, chimes in an offers their two cents. Who the fuck asked you mate? These Experts are like the grazing yard for celebrity has-beens who have been put out to pasture – except rather than respectfully bowing out of their public life, you have Kevin Rudd giving his thoughts on whether Janet Jackson’s nip-slip at the Superbowl was intentional or not. They’re always stating the most obvious thing – “marriage is a real emotional rollercoaster”…guess what? No shit Sherlock! Especially when you’ve fucking forced two randoms to marry based on your “science” of coupling people to maximize drama for your television show. [OK, my rant about ‘Married at First Sight’ is over….clearly it just brings out so much passion in me and each episode is just such an emotional rollercoaster]
Anyway my love of trashy television has been a bit of dirty secret of mine for well over 15 years. It’s gone on for so long, that the amount of knowledge I have about the relationships of Gaz and Charlotte from ‘Geordie Shore’ alone, would be enough to fill the British Museum [that would be interesting to test…like assuming that one day I somehow manage to purchase the British Museum and decide to repurpose it: “meh who needs the Rosetta Stone, no one can even read it right? Let’s create an Exhibition of Ill-Fitting and Non-Natural Looking Hair Extensions and then that can lead into the Fake Eyelashes Collection”].
I’ve felt like I’ve had to hide my secret love of trashy television. And whenever anyone finds out, I’m almost always met with cries of “WHAT? That show is such rubbish. I never understand people who watch that”. Really? Do you not understand me so-called friend? It’s that shame, that ‘you should know better’ especially as an employed young professional. Rather than wasting your time on garbage ‘Geordie Shore’ you should be expanding your horizons with books and podcasts [quick aside, I legit cannot get into podcasts….I hate listening. I have zero attention span when it comes to using my ears to entertain myself. As soon as I put on a podcast, my whole body shuts down and I got to sleep. I think podcasts just take me back to university where you’d miss the 1st week of lectures then tell yourself “well that’s it, I might as well miss the rest of the semester but I’ll definitely keep up on audio lectures” but of course you never do and you’re left furiously listening tax lectures at 12x the speed whilst simultaneously swearing you’ll never do this again….then you do it again the next semester. I also assume it’s just because all podcasts are boring and has nothing to do with the fact that the only podcasts I’ve listened to thus far have been meditations with calming waterfall sounds in the background.]
The conversation always ends with the person saying “Why don’t you watch [insert award-winning series]? You’ll love that”. But I don’t love it. I don’t want to watch that. When I turn on my TV, I don’t want to have to think about characters and themes, and have my own thinking broadened…I want to watch people who I don’t know and can barely understand, interact with each other and do boring things. That’s all I want. It helps me find my peaceful place….watching other people skull bottle of Vodka just really helps me maintain my zen. So if you ever happen to be flicking through channels, wondering what you should watch, I urge you to please stop and pause on your own life and troubles, reflect on what an Expert Running Commentary Interlude and allow yourself to get drawn into the emotional rollercoasters of ‘real people’…you never know, they could end up being your neighbours.