As we head back into in-person classes, my weeknights have slipped into their old routines. I take a pilates class, make dinner, finish my homework, and clean myself before migrating over to “my spot” in the left most corner of the couch I share with my two roommates. Now you would hope, as educated, inquisitive college women we spend the final hours of our day discussing the latest New York Times blast or comparing notes from what we learned in class that morning. While I wish that was the case, a day full of learning is exhausting and in those last few hours, I crave an escape.
I grew up in a household that valued TV as art. Instead of watching Nickelodeon, my dad would turn on the 1964 sitcom Bewitched or an episode of the original Star Trek. Although I felt left out when my second grade friends would discuss the latest Hannah Montana episode on the monkey bars, my early exposure to the greatest pieces of TV and film allowed me to develop a critical eye.
Flash forward 21 years and with all my high-brow knowledge of classic cinema, I find myself as a Love Island expert and a loyal Keeping up with the Kardashian watcher. I even plan on dressing up as the Jersey Shore cast with my friends this Halloween. While many compare these shows to trash, I think of them as treasures. Some make the argument that the cast members of these shows would most likely fail a seventh grade spelling test, I think the way these individuals are able to be completely vulnerable for the world to watch in high definition is admirable and something I could never do in my life. Watching real people work through real emotions allows the viewer to form a deeper connection with them compared to fictional characters. It feels as though I have friendships with the Love Island Islanders after watching them 24/7 for over the course of fifty episodes. There is comfort in knowing these people so well while also not knowing them at all-a liberating friendship free of any obligations. Turning on the TV and entering their real-world serves as an escape from my world. So when it’s time to reach for the remote, I have no shame in flipping to the latest episode of Real Housewives to be transported out of my reality into someone else’s, and neither should you!