I don’t do drama. I don’t like arguments and gossip, and I’ve never been one for the “he said, she said” sort of business. I’m not confrontational, and I shy away from any conflict at all.
Yet there is nothing I love more than sitting down and watching a good episode of “trash TV.” The more drama, the better. I get into Real Housewives of New Jersey, and I sit there and “oh no, she didn’t” at shows like Shahs of Sunset (like I am as I’m writing this. How could you, Reza?).
I read a blog post recently about the game Cards Against Humanity. Many people are upset by the game’s advertised offensiveness, and worried that it’s a sign of moral devolution. The author, however, argues that playing Cards Against Humanity is akin to a moral “safety valve” of sorts. It creates a safe space for self-aware immoral behavior.
In the same way, I think this is why I and others like watching trash television and absurd reality shows. It allows me to escape my real life and vicariously be someone I’m not, someone who cares about who talked behind whose back and whose boyfriend is actually dating her best friend and who got in a bar fight over so-and-so’s cocktail dress. Watching silly television shows like Shahs of Sunset allows me to temporarily forget my practical reasoning and get wrapped up in the drama, if only just for a half an hour. I laugh, sass, and sympathize with these outrageous characters as they live their ridiculously overdramatic lives.
Like Cards Against Humanity allows people to exercise their impulses to be offensive and immoral in a self-aware way, watching silly trash TV lets me be dramatic and petty in a self-aware space. I know that in real life I wouldn’t side with any of the people in these shows. I’m not actually “like, so offended” that she said that to him or that they broke up. I know that the feelings and opinions I have when I’m watching these shows are not anything I’d carry past the end of the episode.
For those of you who have your a secret (or not-so-secret) place in your heart for trashy reality TV, I think it’s a good thing. I think that allowing ourselves to enjoy our weekly hour or two of trash television helps us to be more calm, cool, and collected the rest of the time. If you’re a Polar Vortex 2.0 victim out East, enjoy your snow day. And watch some trash TV. It just might be good for your brain.