Trash TV gets a bad rap. I know that sounds like a contradiction in terms – it’s called trash TV for a reason. But hear me out on this one.
It’s a widely held opinion that the likes of Made In Chelsea, I’m A Celeb and Teen Mom are nothing but superficial drivel starring a bunch of nobodies, specifically aimed at the unintelligent viewer. Apparently by watching trash TV, people are dulling their mind and making annoying, talentless people famous in the process, or giving limelight to has-beens. Can it be true? Is trash TV for stupid people?
But I’m going out on a big old limb by saying that isn’t really true. I’d bet a fair bit of money that trash TV naysayers have never let themselves watch an episode of The Real Housewives – because they might just discover that trash TV is actually pretty good.
It’s a cliché, but life is so manic for most people these days. There are a million things to think about and TV is a good distraction. Which is why in the UK we watch almost four hours of it a day (Ofcom, 2014). But as much as I love watching the critically-acclaimed programmes that fill my Sky Planner and Netlflix list, they don’t really let me switch off and relax. Have you seen the latest series of Orange Is The New Black? I was utterly traumatised. Fleabag is great, but boy does it have an undertone of sadness. And as brilliant as it is, Stranger Things had me jumping out of my skin more times than my heart needed.
Trash TV really is mindless, and that is why it’s so perfect. It’s entertaining. It’s a bit of fun. It doesn’t take itself too seriously, it’s not pretentious and it does what it says on the tin. It’s ideal for a bit of light relief in this very weird and crazy world we occupy. Properly disconnecting is not to be scorned at. And if you love people-watching like me, and have a tendency to be on the nosey side – this stuff is as fascinating and funny as it is entertaining. Some of the best TV I’ve seen in recent years have been moments from Celebrity Big Brother. I know, I really just said that.
Disintegrating brain cells
I don’t love all trash TV. I can’t do Ex On The Beach, Geordie Shore or Love Island. But I certainly don’t turn my nose up at people that do. I’m an America’s Next Top Model, Keeping Up With The Kardashians and Celebrity Big Brother kinda girl – and back in the day it was The Newlyweds and The Hills (remember them?). As far as I’m concerned, as with everything, getting a balance of what you view, read and hear is what it’s about and one or two hours of this stuff a week isn’t going to disintegrate any brain cells.
Which brings me nicely onto the misconception of trash TV viewers. I’m no high flying academic but I think I’m fairly intelligent (besides when it comes to maths – I am thick at maths). I’ve got a decent education, I have informed opinions, I read a range of news to keep up to date, I have a job where I use my brain every day. I like to discuss and I like to discover and I like to learn new things. And I love all sorts of TV, including trash. I’ve got a sneaking suspicion there are plenty of smart people out there who do too, but they might be reluctant to admit it. In short – I don’t think you have to be stupid to enjoy TOWIE.
Plenty of famous to go round
And as far as trash TV’s effect on our popular culture? You always hear the complaint that trash TV makes nobodies and has-beens famous for doing absolutely nothing. But who really cares? Reality stars might not have buckets of talent but they’re not stealing the limelight from more deserving celebrities. There’s plenty of famous to go round, and their fame won’t last forever. We all know that world is a big circus anyway. My advice? Avoid the Daily Mail right hand column. Which is probably the answer to a lot of problems.
So is trash TV for stupid people? If you’re a trash TV snob, maybe you should try it. You might like. And if you’re in the trash TV club, what’s your all-time favourite show? Let us know in the comments below!
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