Last night I got an email, from US Weekly of all places, alerting me to the fact that MTV’s The Challenge, the show that pits alumni from Real World and Road Rules against each other against the backdrop of drinking and debauchery, was returning on July 10, 2013 for “Rivals II.” It’s a pretty trashy show. But the news that it was returning next month got me very, very excited.
Behold the power of a guilty pleasure.
Now, one man’s guilty pleasure can provide another man totally shame-free joy. I don’t watch The Bachelor, any of the Kardashian shows or the various Real Housewives incarnations, but I know folks who enjoy them totally unapologetically. And good for them! Meanwhile, if someone tried to tell me that American Idol or Glee or Survivor, shows that I have watched for years and still enjoy despite some slips in quality, should be classified as guilty pleasures, I’d laugh in their face. I love those shows, and make no bones about it. I define my own television guilty pleasures as shows that don’t have a ton of redemptive qualities to them, but that I can’t stop watching nonetheless.
So what else would I qualify as a guilty pleasure? Ok…here we go…I’m going to come out as a lover of…Big Brother.
Yep, I said it.
Starting in Season 5 of the show, when there wasn’t anything else on television that summer, I started with one episode and never looked back. I don’t always feel good about it. It’s not the first show I bring up when talking about television in public. But I just can’t stop watching it. And a few years back I decided to embrace the guilty pleasure-ness of it all and stop judging myself, and just give in to the fact that I was semi-addicted to a show where nothing much happens. Sure, there are competitions and strategy sessions and interpersonal dynamics at play, and I could try hard to make a case for how these things elevate it to a higher level of quality, but the truth is it’s just fun. The fighting is fun. The showmances are fun. The endless game-talk is fun. Hell, even the Chenbot is fun. Do I learn anything? No. Does it enrich my life in any way? No. And I couldn’t care less.
June 26, 2013, when the new season premieres, can’t come soon enough.
What would you put on your guilty pleasure list? I’d love to know!
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