BY SHANNON WILEY
The top item on the list of things my dear father loves to make fun of me for is my taste in television, which he describes as some of the worst he has ever heard of.
Now I watch the classics- “Gilmore Girls,” “The Following,” “Law and Order: SVU,” and others; then my taste leaks into the more “make-fun-of-me-able” with “Pretty Little Liars” and “Vampire Diaries.”
At this edge, my taste in television takes the plunge off the edge into my most common watches, many of which are found on TLC.
Some of best include “19 Kids and Counting” (despite their questionable political movements, I couldn’t really give less of a damn about their religious beliefs), “My Five Wives” (good for them on their political movements), “Say Yes to the Dress” and “Gypsy Sisters.” Hit the channel a couple times and one can find another of my favorites, the infamous “Keeping up with the Kardashians.”
Liking these shows and many others similar is highly controversial, though, to many, and as a result I’ve been asked insulting and ridiculous questions about mine and others’ viewing habits.
Do people watch them before the viewer is stupid and cannot comprehend any real television?
Do people who watch that believe in the same stuff?
Do people who watch these shows look up to the stars?
If viewers don’t agree with what the people on the show do or believe, are viewers just watching to make fun of them?
The answer to all of these questions is a hard no.
In response to the first: I, just like many other viewers, are by no means stupid. Many viewers do not only watch these reality shows and spend a good amount of time following more “high-quality” television when they are not in the mood for something a little less-than.
Likewise, just because someone watches a show that does not require much thought does not mean that their lives do not require much thought and that the rest of their day is not spent doing something far out of reach for many viewers of other, more difficult-to-follow shows.
To the second question, one of the most drawing things to these reality shows is to see some whose life is drastically different from my own, especially in their beliefs. It is entertaining. It is educational. It is enthralling.
Along the same lines, viewers do not necessarily look up to the people that we are watching on television, and only want to take a peek into the way other people live. Or, viewers may look up to those people seen in some ways but not others.
Michelle Dugger, the mother on “19 Kids and Counting,” is incredibly admirable in her love for her children—at least as we can see on screen—but I absolutely do not look up to how she encourages a narrow view in her children.
Kendall and Kylie Jenner, the youngest daughters in the Kardashian family, are easy to look up for as they are paving their own path much differently than their older sisters did, but I do not look up to how much emphasis they continue to put on physical beauty.
Finally, although some viewers will make fun of the ridiculousness in the lives of those on television, this is not the case with many viewers. Yes, seeing the outrageous happenings and decisions in “Gypsy Sisters” is entertaining, but being entertained is different than making judgements.
All of these people grew up differently than I did so I, just like many of the other viewers, have absolutely no room to place judgement on reality stars’ actions or decisions. Despite this, it is still entertaining to see.
Watching “trash” television does not make one a worse person, nor does it make them comparable to the people they are watching necessarily.
Try a show or two, you may find your favorite new one.