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Why Bad TV Shows Are Important To My Life

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Kenyon chapter.

Upon entering my freshman year of college, I expected to be working a lot, reading good books, and watching some of those cult classic movies like Pulp Fiction and Fight Club that I never had time for in high school. I was not, however, expecting to spend most of my free time watching bad TV shows, and I was certainly never planning on becoming this involved in those shows.


I don’t just mean shows that you watch occasionally and laugh about with your friends. I mean TV shows that are so bad, they’re good. The ones that you’re almost embarrassed to tell people you wholeheartedly enjoy. Yeah, you know what I mean.

Whether it’s reality TV shows like “Fixer Upper” or “Chopped”, terrible teen dramas like “The Vampire Diaries” or “Pretty Little Liars”, soap operas disguised as dramas like “Grey’s Anatomy”, or some complex amalgamation of all of the above, like whatever category “The Bachelor” fits into, most people have at least one of those guilty pleasure shows.


And I’m here to tell you: dude, same. Most of the people I know willingly watch terrible TV (my friends gave me at least half of the shows on that list), and I’m the first to admit that I watch more than a few of what I would confidently describe as laughably ridiculous shows.


But, these shows are on for a reason. “Grey’s Anatomy” has been on for 13 (!!!) years, for a very good reason. “Pretty Little Liars” lasted for 7 confusingly long and painful seasons. And those shows have lasted this long because sometimes, you just need to sit down for 30 or 45 minutes or even 2 hours (those Bachelor episodes are a real killer) and take your mind off of the stress of school and work and life in general. I’m not necessarily advocating for low-quality television as a form of stress-relief and self-care, but mindless drama and comedy is a pretty good way to clear your head after a long day or week.


Sure, it can be argued that “The Bachelor” is a sexist, misogynistic production that promotes a capitalistic and heteronormative obligation for marriage and pits women against each other to create unnecessary drama. But with that said, it is so entertaining.

And, I’d be the first to admit that shows like “Riverdale” and “Gossip Girl” promote toxic relationship models and unhealthy beauty standards. But honestly, I’d be hard-pressed to name a show or book or movie that isn’t problematic in some way. No form of media is without its flaws, and not everything should be held to the same ideal.


So if you want to enjoy some reality TV or a high school soap opera, while keeping in mind that problematic television standards should not echo real life and we should continue to have quality conversations about harmful representations of social issues, who’s stopping you? I’m starting the sixth season of “Grey’s Anatomy” as we speak.

Image Credit: Feature, Molly Smith


Jenna is a writer and Campus Correspondent for Her Campus Kenyon. She is currently a senior chemistry major at Kenyon College, and she can often be found geeking out in the lab while working on her polymer research. Jenna is an avid sharer of cute animal videos, and she never turns down an opportunity to pet a furry friend. She enjoys doing service work, and her second home is in the mountains of Appalachia.