Why We’re All Allowed to Have a Guilty Pleasure Show

My friends back home used to always make fun of how much I watched TV. They’re my weakness. I get hooked easily, and each week, I’m itching for the next episode. You know what? That’s OK! I’m proud that I can hum the tune of the “Game of Thrones” opening theme song, that I can anticipate what types of questions Jeff Probst is going to ask every Wednesday at tribal council on “Survivor”, that I can predict who is going to die next on “Grey’s Anatomy” (spoiler: everyone you love)and that I know that Olivia Pope will almost definitely be eating popcorn and drinking a class of red wine at some point during every episode of “Scandal”.

Who cares if spend my Thursday nights curled up, eating some popcorn, remote in hand for two hours of uninterrupted bliss? I like to think that I’m so productive during the day that I’m allowed to watch some TV later one to compensate for all the hard work I put into the day.

TV shows give you an escape from anything you need to put on hold in your life. Nothing is more satisfying than momentarily forgetting about a poor test grade or problems with friends with a good TV show. Not only does it provide a great distraction, but it also helps put your problems into perspective. Whenever I have a bad day, the best remedy is knowing that something worse could be happening.

Last week, I took my first Italian test. It was hard, long, and frustrating. Luckily, it was a Thursday, (TGIT, aka the greatest thing to happen to ABC since “Lost”) and I had not one, but two quality television shows to put my mind elsewhere. For two hours, (yes two whole hours) I sat in my bed watching a 6-foot tall woman get brain surgery due to an unidentifiable cyst in her brain on “Grey’s Anatomy” and I witnessed Olivia Pope admit that she was having an affair with the President of the United States on “Scandal.” And you know what? All of a sudden, my test didn’t really seem so bad anymore.

It’s strange to think about how we sometimes use other people’s emotions and problems to justify our own problems and actions, but I’ll be the first to admit that it works. You just get so invested with these characters and their fictional lives that suddenly your problems don’t seem all that bad anymore.

As long as the TV watching doesn’t interfere with your actual life, I think it’s pretty safe to keep watching. If, however, you begin to mix up your own daily life events and interactions with one’s from a TV show, that may be the sign to cut back a little.

It’s all about finding that perfect balance where you’re right on the verge of obsession, but you can still (kind of) function when the power goes out. To me, that ideal balance has been achieved, and I couldn’t be happier. So, indulge in all your shows, guilty pleasures included. We deserve it.


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