Guilty Pleasures: The Top Three TV Shows I Hate to Love

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’m a huge television addict.  You may recall my having mentioned in past blogs that I watch an “inexcusable” amount of it.  I’m not proud, but it’s just part of who I am. I like to justify it with the fact that I went to school for communication arts and thus am merely making use of my otherwise wasted degree.

Not every show I watch is embarrassing (although my level of obsession with a few of them might not be too cool). However, in the spirit of making others feel better about their own viewing choices, I’ve decided to disclose a few of my bigger boob-tube indulgences.  That way, you won’t feel the need to justify your own love affair with Teen Mom or Dr. Phil (two shows I haven’t listed below but of which I’ve seen my fair share of episodes).

Me, according to Big M.

Me, according to Big M.

Here is my list of the top three shows I hate to love, and why I love them so damn much:

American Idol – As talent shows go, this truly is the mother of them all.  And although I’m not even a big fan of them, I can’t help but be sucked into the Idol vortex whenever January rolls around.  I think it’s just kind of a pastime for me.  I’ve been hooked ever since Kelly Clarkson defeated that curly-haired douchelord in the show’s very first season, then beautifully belted out her single, “A Moment like This,” a song I am admittedly ashamed to say I’ve always kinda liked.  Sure, the show is a looooong way off from its former days of glory, when Simon would publicly berate contestants in his hilariously condescending British accent, and Randy made the whole world never want to hear the word “dog” ever again, and Paula practically jumped onstage every week to dry-hump some young male contestant, sipping liquid crack from her giant you-aren’t-fooling-anyone “Coca-Cola” cup and then rambling incoherently for the rest of the episode.  Those original hot mess judges and their antics are all long gone, so why do I still watch it today, you ask?  I honestly don’t even know.  Maybe because it’s fun to say the word “pitchy”?  Or because Keith Urban reminds me of a grown-up, Australian version of Jordan Catalano from My-So-Called-Life? Or maybe I’m just hoping for an update on the Pants On The Ground guy?  Whatever it is, I’m still faithfully watching.  Unfortunately, my DVR is pretty loaded up on Wednesdays and Thursdays, so someday I may have to bid adieu to Ryan Seacrest and the gang (whoever the hell it is by then).  But I’m really just hoping for a new Carrie Underwood or Philip Phillips to come along and save the show from their flailing ratings- and my own decision to call it quits.

The Bachelor – The dumbest thing about my obsession with The Bachelor is that I have only recently begun watching it a few seasons ago.  Despite my affinity for trashy reality TV (The Bad Girls Club was my favorite show for a really long time), I actually managed to avoid this one for like a zillion seasons.  Then one Monday night I just had nothing else to watch and I finally tuned in to see what the hype was all about.  I think I was sucked in immediately out of sheer wonder– just how delusional ARE these women and do they honestly believe they will find some jacked-up form of “true love” by duking it out with 25 other equally delusional skanky nutbags for the affections of some brainless asshat with the personality of a toaster?? This season’s selected Bachelor, Juan Pablo, is already in some majorly hot water for recently spewing out some controversial (read: assinine) opinions on homosexuality.  This angers me sooo much, because Juan Pablo is fucking HOT AS HELL (what he lacks in charisma he seems to make up for as eye candy).  Although I knew he was an idiot before, I now know he is an ignorant idiot, which totally sucks. I did not want to know that.  I don’t personally care how stupid he is, as I’ll never meet him in person or care even if I did.  But now I just feel dirty for thinking he’s so hot and giving a shit who he selects for his future ex-fiance.  It’s like when you love fast food, and then you land a job at McDonalds and you get an ugly behind-the-scenes peek at just how nasty the shit is– and it ruins fast food for you forever.  You were perfectly happy NOT knowing what those burgers looked like in their frozen, precooked, clearly 150% processed state. And now you can’t un-know what you now know.  Same goes for myself and Juan Pablo. But it doesn’t even matter.  Because I’ll still watch every week, wondering who’s getting a rose, who’s getting the boot, and who’s getting the crazy bitch of the season award. I’m not proud of it, but it is what it is.  Now let’s move on.
Days of Our Lives – Soap operas may be a dying breed, but this one isn’t going anywhere.  And there’s a reason for that: because it’s GREAT.  Daytime entertainment at its very best.   I’ve literally been watching this show my entire life (thanks mom!), and if they ever cancel it, I think I may contemplate suicide.  I mean, these are much more than characters on a TV show to me; these people are my friends.  For just one hour every day, I live in Salem and I’m an honorary Brady or Horton or Kiriakis or even Dimera, and it’s a freaking blast.  I know this makes me sound a little nuts (okay, a lot nuts)  but when you spend most of your time with people barely old enough to wipe their own asses, you start craving the company of adults. Any kind of company, even the kind that is not even remotely real.  But I just love this show so much, and I’ve grown up with its cast, and every day, for that one, amazing hour, I get to escape to another world with them– a special place where nobody stays dead forever and everyone is a gorgeous, millionaire, murderer and/or adulterer, with at least one illegitimate child they’ve never met and another child of uncertain paternity on the way.  SO embarrassingly awesome.
Now it’s your turn: what are some of your favorite guilty pleasure TV shows?

Nothing to Fear But Fear Itself? Bullsh*t!!

I have some “minor” anxiety issues, which may be apparent from my writing.  Some of you might have even noticed my affinity for Xanax, which I mention from time to time because it’s kind of awesome.  Someday I’ll write all about the time my anxiety caused me to have a real life nervous breakdown, and I’ll attempt to describe, as humorously as possible, what a living hell it sort of was. But it’s been about three years and I still haven’t found a single funny thing about the whole debacle (aside from the very fact that I had an actual nervous breakdown), so it may be a while before I tackle that one.

Today I’m talking about my more innocent fears.

Some of my fears are your typical, run-of-the-mill, boring things like death, rapists, and tsunamis.  But some of the other ones skew a bit irrational.  To be fair, some are rational but the severity of the phobia is so bad that it enters into irrational territory.  So I’ve listed a few of these anxieties here and divided them into two categories for your reading pleasure: Idiotically Irrational and Rational but Ridiculous.

I’m obviously way too amused by alliteration.

Idiotically Irrational Fears

Being bitten in the ass (or worse, somewhere else) by a giant toilet-dwelling snake.  I can’t even tell you how many times I’ve forgotten to put the bathroom light on in the middle of the night before sitting down and then waited, trembling, for a pair of fangs, dripping with poison, to clamp down (up?) and not let go.  I’m pretty sure it’s happened to someone, somewhere, at some point.  Talk about scaring the shit out of a person.

A tiger gets into my house and eats my dog.  Generally, the thought of any wild animal finding its way into one’s home would be horrifying.  But for some reason, I’ve actually had a nightmare about a tiger eating my dog in my living room. Twice.  I can’t say it’s likely that there are any dangerous safari animals roaming around Staten Island, but if there are I really hope they don’t have a thing for British Bulldogs.  Or people.

Undercooked chicken.  For some inexplicable reason, raw chicken meat gives me the heebie-jeebies.  Unfortunately, I really enjoy poultry.  Cooked poultry, that is.  So I still have to be around the raw stuff.  Whenever I make chicken, I tend to wash my hands until they bleed.  I also tend to cook the stupid chicken to like 200 degrees or so.  I don’t mean to overcook it, but the paranoia always sets in and I start freaking out that we’re all going to die from salmonella poisoning and before I know it we’re having rubber cutlet parmesan for dinner. And I’m all “bon appetit!” and Big M is all “where’s the can opener for the tuna fish?”

Forgetting to pull up my pants after using the bathroom.  Technically, this is impossible because even if I really didn’t bother to pull them up I’d surely notice that I was pantless at some point while washing my hands, right? Or, more likely, I’d actually FEEL like my pants were not fully on, right? Still, I can’t help but occasionally envision a rather unsettling situation wherein I hurriedly sprint off the bowl and out the door without ever thinking to pause and make sure that my ass isn’t exposed.  I once forgot to shut the door to pee while entertaining a house full of guests, so I suppose anything’s possible with the likes of me.  (And don’t you dare judge me for that until you have very young children and grow accustomed to leaving the bathroom door open in case someone notices mommy is missing for a minute and decides it’s a good time to feed the dog a chocolate bar or leap like Superman off of a very tall dresser.)

Rational But Ridiculous Fears 

My car breaks down and causes a major traffic jam.  The thought of my car breaking down, especially with young kids in the backseat, is scary enough as it is.  But the thought of being THAT CAR, the dreaded, infamous “stalled vehicle in the left lane” from the traffic report, is just too much to bear.  You know, my brother once broke down on a one-lane bridge. A ONE-LANE BRIDGE.  I don’t think I’d ever get behind the wheel again.

Fainting in public.  Here’s how nuts I am about this one: I will NEVER leave my house on an empty stomach.  EVER.  Today I shoved a peanut butter sandwich down my throat just to go pick up my son from school, and I wasn’t even hungry.   It’s not exactly a figure-friendly habit.  I am PETRIFIED of having some low-blood-sugar incident where throngs of people nearby start freaking out and thinking they just witnessed someone drop dead in front of their faces.  You can imagine what a blast this was to deal with after being diagnosed with gestational diabetes while I was pregnant with my daughter.  Blood sugar levels are such jerks.

Blackouts.  Just now, I asked Big M to help me name some of my bigger fears (yes, there are so many I needed help recalling everything I’m afraid of).  The first thing he said was “not being able to watch TV.” Oh, and then he said “you shouldn’t do this topic, hun, people are definitely going to think you are insane” Oh well!  My point is that I had just jotted down “blackouts- NO TV!!”  Television is just such a big addiction for me.  I know that’s terrible and not healthy and all that crap, but it’s a fact.  I can’t help it that television soothes my anxiety, even when it’s just functioning as background noise.  Plus, TV is awesome (have you SEEN Walking Dead?).  I need television.  It keeps me sane.  Well, it keeps me the kind of sane that allows me to merely imagine I might run out of a bathroom with my pants around my ankles—as opposed to actually doing it.

My children will someday be old enough to supervise themselves.  Although spending every waking moment of my life making sure my kids stay alive from one minute to the next sometimes feels like living inside my very own invisible, padlocked prison hell, there’s something even more disturbing about the fact that someday I won’t get knots in my stomach from not hearing a peep out of them for three whole minutes.  Because that means these kids will finally have the ability to go three minutes without accidentally killing themselves or each other, and then someday they will be old enough to go hours and hours without any supervision at all.  And while that sounds like a little slice of heaven at first, it’s actually a very, very scary thing.  While they might be old enough to understand that crossing the street always requires first looking both ways, I won’t be there all the time to ensure that they don’t wander directly into oncoming traffic– literally and figuratively speaking.  It freaks me out that someday my son might have a drink and then get behind the wheel of a car because I wasn’t there to grab his car keys and drag him home by his ear before he even thought about drinking and driving.  And what if one day my daughter gets pressured into having sex with some dickhead just because I wasn’t there to remind her that she is so much better than that, and then take a baseball bat to the douchbag’s precious little gonads?  Someday my kids will have to make smart decisions all on their own, and I know they aren’t going to get it right every single time.  I can’t stand that thought.  Perhaps, out of everything, that is the one thing that scares me most.

Well, that and getting bit in the ass by a toilet snake.