Coming Clean By Deb Anna

Well, I’ve already confessed about my weekly massages (and managed to convince you, not to mention myself, that they’re necessary for work) so I guess I have no choice but to come clean about my other main indulgence (barring chocolate, because I somehow feel certain that’s going to come up in Mia‘s entry this week).

Reality TV. I’ve done a decent job of justifying this one — going on TV shows as a “reality show pundit/expert,” writing a blog about the topic, essentially attempting to make this brain cell-deteriorating activity of mine seem like an absolutely necessary part of my work life.

I’m in good company. Jennifer Weiner, acclaimed novelist and hilarious writer, is honest about her reality television obsession.

Nevertheless, it’s difficult to explain, even to myself, this uncontrollable need I have to watch the dregs of the dregs. You see, I don’t crave the home improvement shows, with the tears and the not-polished-and-shiny people and the socially conscious message.

No, what gets me sucked in are the ones with the prettiest people who have the worst values and the most vacuous lives: The Real World, The Hills and anything else remotely in that genre, the more annoying and horrific the cast members, the better. Somehow watching perfectly-bodied twenty-somethings avoid carbs and drink too much and do things they regret and claim they’ll never do those things again only to do them again by the next episode (thanks to the wonders of editing) seems to thrill me in a way that I can’t quite describe. The shows make me feel superior and envious and judgmental all at once in a way that other brain candy activities (perusing Us Weeklyj, say) can’t.

Watching them is free and not fattening — how many secret indulgences can claim both of those?

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9 thoughts on “Coming Clean By Deb Anna

  1. Perhaps watching “the prettiest people who have the worst values and the most vacuous lives” is similar to watching an accident replayed over and over again. And, while we may hope for a change of course, the outcome remains the same for both because that is their reality.

  2. I am a huge reality TV buff, too. I’m a little ashamed to admit it, but I kinda miss Elimidate (does anyone know if it’s still on anymore?). And even though most people are so over Donald Trump, I continue watching The Apprentice religiously!

  3. Reality show-wise, I only watch American Idol. Oh, wait, Animal Cops counts, too, doesn’t it? Actually, I watch very little TV overall — only a couple shows a week, though I just started watching Robin Hood on BBC America and loved it, so may be adding that one to my “must see TV”.

    Um… Eileen… what’s “ANTM”? I sat her for I don’t know how long trying to figure it out.

  4. ANTM is America’s Next Top Model =) I don’t watch it – but my friends do.

    The only reality TV show I watch is Survivor! Gotta love it!

  5. ^^ Added to my above comment…

    I mean, who doesn’t want to prance around on an exotic beach, work on your tan, run through fun obstacle courses, all while losing weight due to not eating anything. If you’re lucky, you’ll even win a million $$!

  6. I have no problems disclosing the fact that I watch Survivor. And if I wasn’t so ridiculously behind in my life, I’d also watch The Amazing Race. Hell, I MIGHT even watch I Love New York! I’m not ashamed at all. This is popular culture, and we’re writers! Is it not my DUTY to observe current society, my calling?

    That’s right, I consider watching reality television downright NOBLE.

  7. We share in our rationalization, Kristy, as I also watch Survivor, The Amazing Race and the cultural phenomenon of American Idol — though the latter is, um, a bit skewed. Still, how many millions not only watch and vote?

  8. Ooh, no chocolate post this week, I’m afraid (thought I cannot WAIT for the holiday lull so I can get away from all this holiday chocolate – yes, I have already plundered the Easter stash).

    I am a LOST freak, but I can only get it on DVD about two seasons after the fact. Still, I do love it. I also like THE OFFICE. My husband is a big reality TV fan (though he’d never admit it) – when we first moved to Hawaii, the very first day, the finale for the first season of SURVIVOR was airing. We literally left the airport, drove straight to Costco, bought a TV, and then made it to our new place (which I had never seen) with 10 minutes to spare. He forgot to get us a post office box before we arrived, but somehow remembered to order cable. Interesting …

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