Pop Culture

Why Do I Watch Such Stupid Shows?

Some mornings, I don’t want the television on. I don’t want anyone to talk to me, I don’t want to have to return phone calls or e-mails, and I wish that instead of choosing the career path I’m on, I’d joined one of those nunneries where you take a vow of silence and everyone just leaves you alone in your convent in the middle of the woods. 

Other mornings, I can’t get enough of the wacky hijinks on the fourth hour of the Today show, and the travesty that is Access Hollywood Live, which, at least in the Los Angeles market, airs at 11 a.m. It used to be, I couldn’t turn the channel fast enough when Kathie Lee and Hoda were finished, but one day, too busy with a story I was working on (yes, sometimes I write my fluffier articles in front of the television), I was unable to change it to something else. Instead, I watched with horror and fascination as Billy Bush and Kit Hoover (who was on the original Road Rules) loudly discussed the latest in Hollywood news and interviewed a random assortment of C-list actors and pop culture figures. It basically boiled down to them saying what they thought was right and that was that. No room for debate; if Billy Bush said it, it was gospel.

Now, I find myself leaving it on Channel 4, even when Hoda and Kathie Lee are long gone. Maybe it’s because Access Hollywood Live isn’t as train-wrecky as so many of these entertainment news programs are – you know, the one’s with exclusives like “Meet the kitten strung out on meth who rescued his blind owner from drowning!” But still, there really is no reason why I should watch it. I don’t care for shows like Extra or Entertainment Tonight, and I think Billy Bush is an oh-so-repulsive mix of equal parts smug and judgmental. They don’t make any startling revelations on the show, or add anything to the entertainment discourse, and they act as though we should care what happens to Michael Lohan and the Real Housewives of Wherever. Although I really do like Kit, that is not enough to support me watching this dumb show.

There are only 24 hours in a day, and I try to spend seven or eight of those hours sleeping. I don’t like the idea of wasting those precious few hours I have where I am not working on shows like Access Hollywood Live and the other idiotic programs I sometimes find myself watching. If I added up all the hours I spent zoned out in front of them, I would probably cry. So why do I do it?

It’s an escape, yes, but there are certainly hundreds of other television shows that are considered escapist, and when I’m done watching them I have learned something more than what practical joke George Clooney is getting ready to play on Brad Pitt. I truly wonder if it’s just that by 11 a.m., I am just too lazy to turn the channel. I have already been awake and working for hours, and my brain just refuses to keep chugging along. As a coping mechanism, perhaps my subconscious is telling me, “It’s OK, you don’t have to find the remote. Give in and allow yourself to relax to the sights and sounds of Richard Simmons in a tutu offering dance instructions.” Or, maybe Billy Bush has some sort of bizarre hold over viewers, and I can’t fight it. It wouldn’t be the first time a member of that family had a terrible grip over the country.

Help me feel better about my decisions and choices. What is the stupidest show you watch? Do you feel ashamed, or do you own it?

By Catherine

Catherine is a Southern California based freelance writer, whose work has appeared in everything from the New York Times to Entertainment Weekly. The highlight of her life (so far) was being featured on MSNBC for a story she wrote on Hello Kitty wines...she knew one day her love of all things HK would come in handy.

78 replies on “Why Do I Watch Such Stupid Shows?”

Jersey Shore is probably the stupidest show I watch regularly. My former roommate got me addicted to it, after I caught her watching it one morning. I stealthily caught up on the first season, then we watched the second and third seasons together, often with wine. The only rational explanation is that their stupid antics make me feel better about myself, like if I’m watching a scene and someone is being an ass I’m like “Oh, I’m glad I’m not him/her!”. My former roommate had an addiction to these crappy reality shows, and we’d often watch them together, but my stupid-television-show-watching has plummeted since we moved out and I ditched my cable. I can’t seem to quit Jersey Shore though. It’s like a gross, gross addiction and I kind of hate myself for it but it is also one of the few things I have in common with my coworker, though we watch it for very, very different reasons (they want to emulate them, I only wish to mock).

They have this bizarre fashion with guido culture for some reason. A lot of the people I work with are big partiers and really into house music and clubbing and whatnot, and when Jersey Shore was really big suddenly everyone was all about GTL. Someone actually made fun of me for not going tanning. Most of those people have either quit or been fired, but there are still a few guido emulators hanging around. Luckily one of my older coworkers also watches Jersey Shore, so she and I talk about how gross they can be and how ridiculous the whole thing is.

…I have READ all the Pretty Little Liar books…

I will probably start watching the show when it hits Netflix Instant. It was hard to keep up on the ABC family website because it took so long to load but I imagine it being FAR MORE teen angsty and thus awesome. :)

I have a huge soft spot for old shows.  I watch at least an episode of Bonanza a day, and record Murder, She Wrote.  It’s a toss-up between M*A*S*H and I Love Lucy as to which is my favorite show.

If I get caught in one episode of any reincarnation of Law and Order I will watch it until it’s done.  You don’t stop watching L&O, it stops watching you.

My boyfriend and I watch “Jersey Shore.” We’ve seen every episode, but I’m starting to be less amused.

Back in the day when I had cable, I could watch “Toddlers and Tiaras” until I died. Oh, and I watch “Glee” sometimes, on Hulu, because I love singing and dancing.

Are you all judging me now? I’m so ashamed!

I started not to be excited about new episodes when they were in Italy, and I feel the same way you do now. But that doesn’t stop me from watching. Boyfriend and I used to park ourselves in front of the tv with wine and just watch the antics. Now, it’s like, “Oh, there’s still the new Jersey Shore to watch. Should we watch it, now that we’ve watched everything else?”

We did the same thing, though. Got sucked in during the marathon, watched a couple, and decided we needed to see it from the beginning. He bought the season pass on itunes and we got caught up and have been watching it faithfully ever since. But I’m kind of over it. It’s more of a tradition now, more than anything else.

My former roommate and I had a Thursday night ritual in which we’d eat pizza, drink a bottle of wine, and watch Jersey Shore. I went into a little more detail in my comment above. I can’t quit it. It sometimes makes me feel bad about myself, but not really because it’s so bad and hilarious.

I’m going to admit something here that probably makes me a Bad Feminist and a Bad Person all around:

I’ve seen every episode of 16 and Pregnant and Teen Mom.

Sometimes, I watch it because I really do want to the girls (and babies) to have everything work out for them. And sometimes (this is the bad part!) I watch it because it gives me a positive boost because as much as things might suck in my life, at least I wasn’t a teen parent having all of my mistakes broadcast to the world. It makes me feel good about myself.

You’re not alone! I watched the first season of 16 and Pregnant, and still watch the original Teen Mom (I can’t handle Teen Mom 2). I wouldn’t feel too bad about getting a positive boost of out of watching…it’s not like you’re wishing any of them ill will!

I used to watch these with my former roommate! We both gave them up after watching them too often, and being too infuriated by everything happening onscreen. It’s also popular with a lot of people I went to high school with, but I think they actually identify with the teen moms because most of them are teen moms themselves.

When I was an intern at a magazine, I had to review one of the SyFy movies…I think it was called Dinoshark? It was quite possibly the most poorly written movie of all time, with acting and special effects to match. That being said, I enjoyed every minute of it! It was spectacularly horrible and entertaining, all at once.

Ha, I love his quote! I would like to know how he came upon that cinematic gem; I recoiled after I clicked the link! Dinoshark was most likely made more enjoyable by the fact that I was getting paid to watch it…something tells me no one would pay me to watch Monsturd!

I watch New Girl. I don’t tell friends this. It’s my escape. Someday, I too will get to live with Deputy Leo and have well behaved bangs.

But, Friend and I need help. We just finished watching Voyager together (we netflixed it and just stayed on track with each other so we could watch the series finale together) and now we need a new show. Something with a few seasons, on Netflix or some sort of free streaming. Maybe a bit of ridiculous and smart? Does that exist? I’ve already seen almost all of Eureka already…

Oh man. My dad loved the show. He had OPINIONS about it. Like, how fandoms have opinions. :) It was fun to call them the next day and discuss. Now he just watches Modern Family. And I’m horrible at keeping up so… :(

Ugh, I’m ADDICTED to trashy tv. When I go home for lunch breaks? Maury and Jerry. Home from work? Judge Judy time. Bored at night? Love and Hip Hop or Basketball Wives marathon! I am also anticipating the start of the new real world challenge. At this point I’ve chosen to accept it, and not judge myself for it. I still read the news, go to grad school and can debate on political issues and current affairs. Why not allow  some nonsense into my life?

I am so excited for the new Real World/Road Rules Challenge!! I recorded the preview on MTV last night, but I haven’t had a chance to watch it yet. I love that a bunch of old school people like Mark from Road Rules Season 1 will be on! And I like your attitude…I have my master’s degree, I know what’s going on with the world, it’s OK for me to watch idiotic stuff from time to time!

Toddlers & Tiaras, Life in the Fab Lane (if I am lucky enough to find it), all of the America’s Next Top Model. Luckily, all of these are usually shown with a bunch of episodes back-to-back so they can just take massive chunks out of my life at once instead of just a little bit here and there.

The only thing scarier is Tyra Banks. It’s so strange watching the later cycles where Tyra has become a dictator gone mad with power. You can tell how new a cycle is by the amount of times Tyra’s stupid face shows up in the opening credits. There’s a science to it.

I love this ridiculous series so much.

I don’t watch dumb shows, although I suppose that might be in the eye of the beholder.

The TV shows I watch are the morning news, Bones, Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones, Grimm and Justified.   I’ve never seen Glee, never watched Housewives anything or anything to do with the Karwhatsits.  Yes, I’m bragging.

I tried my best to get into Hell on Wheels because it’s set in my favorite period of American History but the sloppy story lines just lost me.

Of the shows above, Grimm is a little iffy and I’ve heard people lump Justified into the Dukes of Hazzard category – but only once because I will cut a bitch if you disrespect my Justified. I would volunteer to do an episodic write-up here on Justified, if I thought people would read it.  Hell, I may even have to start writing fanfic about it.

What was I talking about again?  I got distracted by thoughts of  Raylan Givens.



it’s a show on AMC about a guy named Cullen Bohannan, an Rebel soldier in the US Civil War whose wife and son are killed by Union soldiers near the end of the war.   He goes off to seek justice (i.e., kill all of the sonsabitches) and finds work on the crew building the transcontinental railroad.  Anson Mount is Cullen, Common is an ex-slave on the crew.

It has (had) great promise. But it started including all these other story lines and somehow, it just got all kinds of confusing.

And I really really wanted to love it.  I hung on till the end but it just lost me.


Yea, worth a shot.  I mean, you might have a different opinion.  Different strokes/folks and egg yolks and all that.

It’s been picked up for a second season so I may give it another shot when it airs again.  Sometimes it takes a bit to get the kinks out.  And there were episodes that showed glimpses of what it could be (what I hoped it would be).

The scenes between Cullen and Elam (Anson Mount and Common) were particularly powerful.  That’s where the real show is, that’s where the magic is.  They had great chemistry and played really well off each other.

The Civil War is my favorite period of American History (I’ve been known to wander battlefields in widow’s weeds, just because).  We don’t get new shows that deal with that period very often.  My disappointment is in direct proportion to how much I looked forward to it.


Also, 2 Broke Girls. Terrible and yet I like it. I blame Kat Dennings.

I know there’s not much love for Big Bang Theory, but it’s one of my faves. It got me through a terrible weekend where I couldn’t sleep I was so upset about something from work. I just needed something that was fluffy and would keep my mind off stuff. I watched it straight through for hours and by the time Monday came around, I was back in fighting shape and everything turned out better than okay. It is in my debt for that.

When I was home, I was the best at being able to fill up my entire day with Law and Order reruns and episodes of Montel. It was a gift of deft programming.

Wednesdays are ‘white wine and twizzler Wednesdays’. At 10, I get a glass a white wine, Twizzler pull-n-peels and I watch Revenge and then my DVR’d episode of American Horror Story (when it was on). Its the best. Everyone should do it.

Leave a Reply