Show by show, a TV junkie examines why she watches the garbage she watches
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Because whether you’re single or married, this show makes you feel proud for not being an unstable, needy person who cries on couches while searching for a soul mate on a reality program. It doesn’t matter how shitty your life is. When you compare yourself to The Bachelor’s contestants – people who have given up both privacy and dignity in hopes of finding everlasting love on national TV – you feel like a huge winner. Drama-wise, this show packs a punch; the frail psychological states of the contestants make for great TV. You also get to stay current on what the latest woman-on-woman insults are, and have oodles of time to mull over odd production details like “why do they drink so much white wine and so little red? Where does the host appear from and disappear to? Why so many helicopter rides?…”
Because it’s nice to see that when adults act like children, their kids pick up the slack and rise to the occasion. These moms are so catty yet their daughters seem lovely, and this small miracle is one reason we can be hopeful about the future of the human race. Lovers of dance are treated to a couple of good performances each episode, and though it’s disconcerting to see these young girls dolled up like JonBenét, the costumes are pretty rad. If you’re a parent, this show lets you feel superior for refraining from putting glitter eye shadow on your daughter.
The Sing Off
Because any show that can thrive despite host Nick Lachey’s off-the-charts lack of pizzazz has to be given props. A cappella people – a subset of musical theatre people – are a unique and fascinating breed to observe. They’re ebullient, sunny and good-natured people who are simply passionate about harmonizing with others while gently rocking their hips and making instrument sounds with their mouths and bodies like Bobby McFerrin. What’s not to like? There are no dud performers on this show (only the good groups make it on air) and the contest aspect is pretty straightforward and gimmick-free. The result: a minimum of backstage shenanigans, very few crying jags, and hardly a single video package showing a contestant back home making a snack with his mom in the kitchen. Plus, now that Nicole Scherzinger has left for The X Factor, the comments from the judging table are coherent across the board.
Keeping up with the Kardashians
Because this show has a certain lulling, mesmerizing quality to it that can be pleasantly calming, like hypnotherapy. Perhaps the girls’ slow, vaguely nasal voices have something to do with it, or the always plush, neutral-tone surroundings. Perhaps it’s just all the layers of gloss: lip gloss, glossy hair, glossy nails, glossy handbags. Who knows, exactly? But the overall effect is that you can watch this show in a suspended state of Awake Sleeping, which is quite rejuvenating, like a nap. And Scott Disick, one of the more entertaining d-bags ever to exist on TV, or in life, is something to behold.
Dancing With The Stars
Because the stars who come on this show really, really want the airtime and who are you not to support their enthusiastic endeavor? The pageantry here is slow and drawn out, so you can be very productive during any given telecast without missing too much. Have you been meaning to clean out your iTunes library? Flashdance a sweatshirt? DWTS provides the perfect backdrop. Plus, between the show’s plodding pace and its abundance of ballroom shoes and bedazzled gowns, it has an old fashioned, Lawrence Welk Show vibe which is actually rather comforting.
It doesn’t matter how shitty your life is. When you compare yourself to The Bachelor’s contestants you feel like a huge winner. Meredith Hoffa
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