Tasteful Exploitation

11 Sep

Or the post where I struggle to justify the mindless drivel that fills my DVR memory.

I don’t have bad taste in television. I have impeccable taste in atrocious television.  But what does this mean, exactly?

Primarily it means that I utilize television the way some people utilize a glass of wine at the end of the day or a vigorous fitness class. It’s me time. When I can turn off my brain and forget the stress of the day. I’m not trying to engage my higher functions or analyze recurring themes or character arcs within a series. (There certainly are shows I enjoy on this level and I can talk for hours about the social commentary presented in Battlestar Galactica’s portrayal of the Hobbesian state of nature. But it’s the difference between a beach read and a literary classic.)

Today I will talk about one of the distinctions between bad taste and good taste in bad things: knowing where to draw the line.

I will watch my housewives tear out each other’s weaves ALL DAY, but these are adults who, regardless of whether or not they do, are able to make responsible life decisions. Yes, I find pleasure in watching their friendships, marriages, and families slip through their acrylic-manicured, Tiffany covered hands. I make no attempt to deny that watching Patti Stanger bring an entire room of gold diggers to tears in her Millionaire Matchmaker casting calls makes me feel more secure about my own life.

But programs that exploit children are to be avoided. Honey Boo Boo and Dance Moms are off limits. Likewise, none of the toddlers on Teen Mom have a say in whether or not they want the world to know that their parents are finally out of juvy for the third time. And as someone firmly planted in the pro-responsibility camp, I morally oppose shows that only exist to financially support outrageously large families. I can hardly come to terms with the embarrassing moments of my own childhood, and its documentation only exists in home movies and my long forgotten livejournal. How could I possibly take pleasure from the drama these kids endure when they cannot understand the ramifications of having their lives broadcast on national cable?

So, qualification #1 for having impeccable taste in atrocious television: Only take pleasure in the misfortune of people who should know better.

7 Responses to “Tasteful Exploitation”

  1. Molpadia (Molly) September 11, 2012 at 1:10 pm #


    • Hippolyta (Polly) September 11, 2012 at 1:41 pm #

      Oooh grey area for future meditation! While the show primarily revolves around the polygamous adults, the children of an irresponsibly large family are also dragged in. INTERESTING!

      • Molpadia (Molly) September 11, 2012 at 2:30 pm #

        These are the important questions.

  2. Can I Get ur Number?? September 11, 2012 at 6:59 pm #

    ok so this could not be anymore well written. bachelor pad? yes please. flavor of love 1 AND 2? yup. I love new york 1 AND 2. mhm :) i’m the queen of the best/worst shows :)

    the new one i’m trying to figure out is “world’s worst tenants” …. It. is. terrifying. I recently moved into a new 1 bdr apartment by myself in a new city and i haven’t slept for two nights because of it!!! but i can’t stopppppppppp watching!!!!!!!!!!!! dvr it and i’d be curious to get your thoughts :) great blog!!!

    • Hippolyta (Polly) September 12, 2012 at 10:39 am #

      So glad you enjoyed it! Bridalplasty is my latest vice. Brides compete against each other for plastic surgery procedures. It’s disgusting/beautiful.

      I’ve seen some commercials for World’s Worst Tenants! I’d be afraid of getting on their side because I’ve had some of the World’s Worst Landlords. It looks amazing, I’ll have to check it out!

      • Sotorya (Tory) September 12, 2012 at 11:10 am #


  3. Sotorya (Tory) September 11, 2012 at 11:51 pm #

    I love you but I can’t help it. I can’t stop watching Dance Moms. And occasionally Toddlers and Tiaras.

    I will admit that I go a lot of times “Where!!? WHERE IS MY NOTEBOOK?! I NEED TO ADD THESE THINGS TO MY LIST”

    What list you may ask?

    The list of things that if I am ever a parent I am NOT ALLOWED TO DO EVER OH GOD.

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