Throw out the trash

Do you feel like you waste most of your time watching random rubbish on TV? It seems like, as university students, we should be able to focus our intelligence on interesting programmes, things with intellect and/or genuine insight. Instead, though, it seems the majority of students are focussed on the lives of Lauren and Whitney and their shallow, glamorous and drama filled lives. But the question is, why do we find ourselves so addicted to trash TV?

Recently, I’ve found myself devoting more and more time to absolutely awful programmes, things like The Hills and America’s Next Top Model. I know they have no substance to them, but I find myself addicted to seeing the next episode, whilst knowing that in watching them I’m wasting my time.

I know quite often I’m attracted to these shows because I feel I am watching a slightly extreme version of myself, albeit more wealthy, glamorous and shallow; but why is it that these awful reality shows hold such power over the average British university student? Speaking for myself, and several of my equally addicted friends, it seems like we let ourselves believe that we simply enjoy the mindless occupation of watching someone else’s life.

It is complete escapism, while dealing with the entirely minor issues of affairs and fashion we use to distract ourselves from our own lives. We lead completely different lives to most of the characters in these shows. Their breezy days are full of glamour, fashion and gorgeous men, while our lives contain bad hair, embarrassing moments, not-so-gorgeous men and looming essay deadlines. These can be pushed to the sidelines while we focus on the supposedly more interesting lives of our favourite stars, but I’m sure every time I tune in to the ever increasing amount of trash TV available to me, I am losing brain cells – to the extent that I don’t even understand why I would want to watch.

From the current TV programme schedule it seems that reality shows are more popular than ever. Most channels seem to be offering some new version of mindless rubbish for the British population to watch, but is it a product of our trashy booze-and-glamour ridden culture? With Britain one of the biggest producers of reality television in the world, I am beginning to seriously doubt the seriousness of our culture, but almost all of these programmes are aimed at young people.

Is it then OUR fault? How is it, as intellectual students, so many of us take the time to watch episode after mind numbing episode of Z-list celebrities doing nothing on Celebrity Big Brother? I think we secretly enjoy feeling superior for having more meaningful lives. Perhaps we even unconsciously enjoy seeing the suffering and faux “traumas” of these Hollywood stars and their outwardly “idyllic” lifestyles.

It seems it is time for us to make a change and break away from the escapism of watching this trash television, with its ever increasing number of programmes to distract us – the new The City, a spin-off of The Hills, 90210, Laguna Beach, Make Me a Supermodel, The Janice Dickinson Modelling Agency and so on. We need to break away from the mode and watch something of real substance. Watch this space for far better recommendations on things to watch when you want to procrastinate the day away!

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