Wednesday, 28 April 2010

What's this rubbish?

This question has now become a joke in our house after years of being a real one posed to the children and later teenagers lounging in front of the TV. Often it'd get no response and often the person asking the question (Husband) would not even have glanced at the screen. It was an assumption that whatever the kids were watching must be rubbish.

Now the children have left it seems I've become the person who enjoys watching rubbish. I find that in common with other women I absolutely love programmes like Sex in The City, Desperate Housewives, America's Next Top Model, Ramsay's Kitchen Nightmares USA, Wife Swap or Super Nanny, not to mention Come Dine With Me.  I can't wait for Sex and the City 2 to come out and I'd watch The Way We Were, Casablanca, or Pretty Woman whenever, whereas the rest of the family would rather die (or fall asleep). I know these films are not rubbish, and script-writing gurus such as Robert McKee agree that for instance Casablanca is one of the best films ever made, but this is not really my point.

Nor is it my point that women and men like different things on TV. Of course. If I leave TV and Husband alone at any point of the day he will have found the most ridiculous sports programme on Sky Sports Plus Five (does it exist?) showing Extreme Ironing from Dubai. Besides, we'd not want men and women to be the same. Perish the thought, that for instance Husband would spend as long getting ready to go shopping as I did this morning.

But why is it that we women have such desire to watch the human experience displayed in such a false and ridiculous manner as these programmes do? I know that a friendship between four women in NYC would be impossible to manage. Not only would the SATC girls not have time to meet as often as they seem to, they'd also not be friends. I'm sorry, but I know they would not be so loyal to each other. A plane would not hit a suburb in California and conveniently kill all members of cast who were beginning to bore the viewers. And Gordon Ramsey's programmes are heavily edited and Tyra Banks is a self-promoting, cruel B.

It's not as if I don't watch other programmes too. I love Mad Men, and I felt utterly devastated when The Sopranos and The Wire came to an end. I think the period dramas on the BBC are the best TV ever, and I can't have a day without seeing the real news on Channel 4 at seven o'clock. I'm something of a news and politics junkie. (My past life as a journalist must have something to do with this).

But I love these stupid, empty-headed programmes too. Why? Is it because watching them allows my brain to switch off? Is it because I love seeing the SATC girls' outfits, or observing how hopeless some restaurateurs/parents/aspiring models/ordinary cooks are? I really don't know. All I can say is that when Husband goes away for a few days, I relish the opportunity to watch all the rubbish I've saved up for myself. Or watch The Way We Were for the umpteenth time and cry my eyes out. And I try hard not to feel guilty about it.

12 comments:

ThatGirl39 said...

Ah you're a girl after my own heart! I'm so with you on this one - OH marvels at how many times I can watch the same thing again and again - particularly SATC movie or box set series. I in turn marvel at his geeky How That Huge Bridge Was Built or The Hunting Habits Of A Mackerel programs! As you say it takes all sorts and Carrie's outfits/shoes/hair do's are much prettier to look at than fish! x

Rose said...

it's just harmless escapism- like how you might read a Jilly Cooper and then some Dickens- bad telly is tremendously restorative. There is no better cure for a hangover or Sunday blues than the Come Dine with Me marathon on More 4.

I actually think satc was extremely well made and stands the test of time- it goes a lot deeper than i think some of the fashioned obsessed (including me!) notice the first time round- that scene when Burger leaves Carrie and she throws the carnations- the pain SJP conveys really made me shake the last time I watched it. Likewise when Charlotte suffers the miscarriage and pulls herself together- very well done. They are very skilled actresses.

Talli Roland said...

I wish I knew the answer! I love reality telly so much I based my whole novel on it! My husband is always telling me to put something else on, constantly asking my why on earth I'm watching rubbish. I have no answer other than: I like it!

Wildernesschic said...

Yes I am female too I also like real rubbish like True blood and Heroes .. and throw in some Vampire diaries, the latter as it means I spend time with teenage sons watching what they enjoy.. I love the old Audrey Hepburn movies and West side story.. escapism is the key... Chanel 4 news is the only show I have actually featured on.. we are still on youtube.. I cringe when I see my very red with stress face sat on the sofa in the studio being interviewed, like a couple from a creature comforts advert... You have no idea how close that camera is and I hadn't been prepared so was not wearing sufficient makeup ....Great show though best news programme xxx

North West London Girl said...

I'm right with you here. I love to watch TV, and it can be a weird selection, I no longer do the soaps, though I hear Nigel Havers is doing a wonderful part as an Escort, so I might take a peek, but I love Spooks, and get so excited when I know it's a new series, and have to watch it on my own as I get annoyed at HH, or any of my chaps telling me it's rubbish. They are always watching any old sport, middle chap a few months ago was watching DARTS, for goodness sake how dull is that, no plot, no sub-plot, no murder, no affairs. I don't know why I love watching, it's something I have done really since having kids, I guess before them, I went out more, partying, playing and then things change and I can watch other people having an exciting time...xx

JulieB said...

Hubby and I share a similar taste in TV, which is quite unusual I think - he'll happily sit through Desperate Housewives and SATC, and the only sport he really watches is rugby (which I also have a fondness for). I think basically we are just TV addicts - I suppose as we don't get out much any more it's a bit of escapism.

whitney-anne said...

Hi Helena - thanks for visiting my blog and for your comment. Don't share your viewing tastes but Extreme Ironing from Dubai really made me laugh, my husband is just the same - does yours watch the Movies4men channel?

Kirsten Lesko said...

I used to be so above the rubbish & now I'm hooked! I simply can't get enough of The Bachelor. Even Dancing with the Stars sucked me in this season because of Kate Gosselin.

Christina Lindsay said...

Oh Helena! I'm with you on all of those. I must have seen every single Come Dine with Me. The Actor will watch that as he likes Dave Lamb's commentary, he will watch Corrie at a push as the scriptwriting's so good (I'm loving Nigel Havers in it at the moment). He loathes the other soaps. He will also watch SATC although he says he's seen them all. I can watch them over and over. I still haven't watched the last series of Soprano's which I adored.. I think I'm clinging onto it in some way as I don't want it to end xx

Helena Halme said...

I knew we are all the same - almost - except whitney-anne, which sort of proves the theory?

I think you're right, Rose and Wilderness, 'it's just harmless escapism', but still it seems weird that we all do it even if we KNOW it's rubbish.

To all those asking about Husband - he'd watch any sport except perhaps darts (I worry about your family NW London Girl ;)). I think watching grown men battle over a ball, throw spears or give each other punches gives him the same escape from reality as watching Katie adoringly gaze at the sleeping (and gorgeous!!!) Hubble does for me. Besides, I never could resist a man in uniform...

Helena xx

Jeanne said...

Helena...I love this post! I too was devastated when The Wire ended. Love period movies...watch some of the TV shows you mentioned. I am a sucker for chick flicks of any sort. I have watched 'Something's Gotta Give' I don't know how many times and in fact watched it again the other night. I just placed an order on Amazon for lots more period pieces too.
Now, I haven't watched The Way We Were in years and now that you mention it....I must watch it. I used to be a big Streisand fan. I really should re-visit all those old films.

I went in to see the Grace Kelly exhibit at the V&A today and am definitely in the mood for Rear Window and High Society.

So, there you have it! A long winded version but I do want to thank you for stopping by and following. I can see I am going to really enjoy your site too!

Jeanne :)

Helena Halme said...

Hi Jeanne, I love your blog too so the adoration is mutual.xx