A short list of TV shows I will watch, frequently
At the end of last week, I made a list of 5 shows I will never watch. Over the weekend, I had a few comments, ranging from shared disbelief that Ashley Banjo is meant to be a real name to discussion of other shows that I almost certainly will never watch (including things like Emmerdale, which I left off due to the strong chance that it’ll be put on while I’m in the room at a family member’s house).
Anyway, I’ve decided to do a short list of shows that I will watch, sort of the flip side of last week’s list.
1. Take Me Out (ITV 1)
I resisted this for about one episode. Then I caught it on what must have been a weekend rerun, on one of those days where due to a previous night’s alcohol consumption, I want to do nothing but watch things on channels like E! (A similar situation lead to my discovery of Dating in the Dark, which narrowly misses out on this list.) Take Me Out is one of those great bad shows. It makes no attempt to be clever or not utter trash, which is what makes it amazing. It’s a bunch of fame- and cock-hungry girls making snap judgements about fame- and vagina-hungry boys. It’s even better if you take part in the Twitter discussion, which is just an hour-long group joke about the people. It’s one of the times when Twitter becomes like a really good episode of MST3K.
As with the shows I won’t watch, I’m letting this stand in for a variety of shows that are all basically mocking the same people. I don’t want to have to give another slot here to Geordie Shore, or one to The Only Way Is Essex, but they could easily be here, too.
2. Timeshift (BBC 4)
There is something that’s always cool about old documentary footage. It’s also what made things like the British Pathe series so interesting. It’s something that shows how far visual footage has come over what’s really a very short amount of time. It also does a lot to show the ways such footage has influenced and does influence, as well as reflect, the attitudes of society. And as a foreigner it always leads to discussions about how Adam’s experiences here are so different from my experiences in California.
3. America’s Next Top Model (Sky Living)
This one is another that covers a few shows. All the Next Top Model franchise is cool with me. I don’t really care about the reality portions of it. Yeah, the bitchiness can be amusing, but I can find that better elsewhere. What I watch it for is the photography. I know that sounds like when a guy says he gets Playboy for the articles (which are often superb journalism and writing, by the by), but it is true. It’s always cool to see the photographers and art directors at work, and to see how they get the models to work, and how the whole preparation turns into the final photo. It’s image geekery at the highest level.
4. Come Dine With Me (Channel 4)
I love this show. I think if I had to take only one show ever from the UK, it would be this. I don’t know how I could get by without watching this. Four or five normal people host dinner parties for each other. They inevitably hate each other, and each other’s food, and are happy enough to talk about it to the camera. They try to maintain some level of dignity and fail. Rarely, they do something with the food that is interesting. Mostly, though, they fuck things up and talk shit about each other.
5. I can’t think of a fifth show to put here. I either have to go up to about 35 shows or just stop here. There is a big list of shows that I watch each day — the TV is on most of the day as my standard background noise.
On a daily basis, my schedules of viewing is usually a bit of Sky News, followed by the sitcom line-up on Comedy Central, followed by Come Dine With Me and Coach Trip, then more sitcoms on E4, then the prime time viewing for the night.
I don’t understand the people who complain that there’s never anything on TV. There’s nothing on if you are too scared to find something new. There’s plenty of channels offering every type of brow, high or low. There are news shows and documentaries, and reality shows of all sorts.
Maybe I watch too much TV. I love it, though. I think it’s something that anyone who works in any sort of politics or cultural field has to embrace. You can’t analyse, document, report, or change a world that you don’t fully understand. And as much as snobs will want to be snobby, most people are getting their entertainment and information on television. If you don’t embrace that fact, you’re screwed from the start.