When I wake up I need coffee to help prepare me for the day ahead, but it’s junky TV that helps me unwind from the day. Appropriately enough, sometimes I feel like a junkie for junky TV. I joss for it, get a craving for it after a long day. It doesn’t have to be a bad day, just a long day that was maybe filled with work, meetings, classes, homework, drama, a breakup, a fight, whatever. Junky TV is there, and it’s not going anywhere.
To naysayers who lament shows on television that don’t make you think, that turn our brains to mush, I say, “Fuck off.” If you’re so smart and you want to think when you watch your television, then you can find deep and interesting things to say about even junky TV. It’s true. I wrote a whole paper on crime reality television like Unsolved Mysteries, America’s Most Wanted, and Cops and how they reveal and exacerbate social anxieties about justice, safety, and crime in general.
Right now my junky show of choice is Private Practice. I will be the first person to sing the praises of Grey’s Anatomy, the show which Private Practice is spun off of. Though Grey’s, like most dramas or shows in general, has its disappointing or silly or stupid moments, I think it also has some fantastic and brilliant dialogue, storytelling, grasp of emotion, surprises, love, hilarity, etc. Private Practice has some of this but is overwhelmingly stupid at times. But I’m so happy netflix in the UK has it on instant watch. Because I’ve been real tired lately after most days and this show is my equivalent of morning coffee–comforting, easy, necessary. All the characters piss me off–often. But damn if I don’t want to keep hitting next after each episode to see how each story will unfold. Damn if I don’t get caught up in the ethical dilemmas a lot of the time.
Not to mention television is full of people you can gossip about guilt free. You can freely discuss motivations, mistakes, choices, triumphs, fears, sorrows and joy. And no one gets hurt. Unless you’re arguing about Dawson/Joey vs. Pacey/Joey, which is kind of the original Edward vs. Jacob minus vampires/werewolves when you think about it. Maybe. Every time I watch an episode of Grey’s I have to discuss everything. I could talk about these characters like they’re real people for a long time, and I do. They take on a life of their own, and I don’t have to censor what I say because, despite this life of their own, they’re not actually, you know, alive. No hurt feelings, no drama. I can openly be fascinated by their lives without coming across as nosy, caring, or judgy. Because most of the time I’m none of those things, just curious and fascinated by the things humans do. It’s a writer thing I guess, but maybe everyone can relate to that a little bit.
So if you love your junky television, if you need your fix sometimes, don’t let anyone make you feel bad about it. Never call it a guilty pleasure. Just a pleasure, no guilt necessary. Off to watch more Private Practice.