An Introduction to Denise’s Addiction to Bad TV
Sometimes when people tell me, “I don’t really watch TV” I have to hold back a choked gasp of confusion. Television has always been a huge part of my life. Not in any cool sort of way, like I grew up with producer/actor/director parents, but in that I can’t remember not watching TV. Coming together to watch television shows was never an anti-social act growing up; my parents watched just as much Rugrats and The Amanda Show as I watched of Knot’s Landing and Kung Fu: The Legend Continues.
Even later in life when I was an obnoxious teenager and had a wild fascination with pro wrestling, guess who was seated right next to me and my brother? My grandmother, that’s who. Back then she was a lot more lucid and a lot less anciently magical looking and she loved herself some Chris Jericho. Having a former opera singer sit next to you chanting “Y2J” along with the live Smackdown audience only a few hours after watching All My Children and One Life to Live together pretty much sums up every summer of my adolescence.
I feel like another reason TV is such an easy source of entertainment is because there’s so much of it. I realize how lucky I’ve been to have cable my whole life, that’s a luxury my mom was always more than happy to splurge on. There are hundreds of channels, hundreds of chances to find a nugget of distraction. I sort of relate it to that one of my favorite Zelda Fitzgerald quotes, “She refused to be bored chiefly because she wasn’t boring.” Just because I love comic books doesn’t mean that’s the only thing I’ll watch on TV. I only have a passing knowledge of cars but I have probably seen every episode of Top Gear ever. There’s no rule about what you have to limit yourself to.
It is embarrassingly easy for me to get obsessed with something. As someone who has made it no secret how boy crazy they are sometimes all it takes is a pretty face and I’m sold. But, really, there are times it doesn’t have to be a pretty guy; if I like your face, I like your face regardless what genitals you’re packing. I do not shy away from girl crushes. I also love a good drama. But, again, there are times when it doesn’t need to be “critically acclaimed good”. Sometimes I like watching the television show equivalent of a catfight on Black Friday over the last pair of 70% off yoga pants. There are shows about everything you can think of: cops, firemen, spies, juvenile delinquents, high society elitists, chefs, ghost whisperers, dog whisperers, fairy tales, mob bosses, hell TLC is becoming a whole channel dedicated to shows about little people.
I know some believe that people who love television must not be cultured or educated but I don’t think that’s the case at all. It is entirely likely that I have read close to a thousand books in my lifetime, I could spend months going to the Met every day and still fall in love with it, and the act of learning is something I almost get off on. That doesn’t mean that I can’t sit down and be engrossed in reruns of Real World/Road Rules Challenge. I don’t watch reality television because it makes me feel better about myself or my life choices, I watch for the same reason I watch people at Disneyland. To observe. The same goes for dramas and sitcoms and competition shows.
To me, people are infinitely interesting. Real people, fictional characters, and the cast of The Hills who seem to be a little of both make decisions and I get to follow all of it. I watch a lot of television and I’m not exaggerating when I say that. Pilot season every fall is a very stressful time for me, each channel is pimping out new shows or teasers to last season’s cliffhangers and it’s almost too much for me to handle. If it weren’t for DVR, On Demand, Netflix, and Hulu I would probably collapse from the stress of picking which shows I get to watch. BUT NOW I CAN WATCH THEM ALL.
There are always write-ups and reviews for shows like Walking Dead or Game of Thrones which is awesome but those are not the shows I want to talk about. I want to talk about guilty pleasure shows, shows that fly under the radar. I want to talk about shows that have a bad reputation and why people are so turned off by them. I want to talk about why Law & Order: SVU has been on for 15 years. I watch so much shitty television and that’s the stuff that never gets enough attention. For the first Saturday of every month that is what I will be doing from now on. Welcome, and I apologize ahead of time for all the wacky shit you’re going to read.