Why We Hate to Love These Shows, Movies & Books

I’m a complete Sex and the City, FRIENDS, The Notebook, and Fifty Shades of Grey (the book, obviously) junkie. They are my guiltiest of all guilty pleasures. Yet every single one of them promotes ideals, values, and standards that I loathe. Which brings me to the question I find myself stumbling upon once I’ve hit my eighth episode of Sex and the City, or third re-read of the Fifty Shades series: why are we so attached (usually in secrecy) to movies, television shows, characters, and books that epitomize the things we hate?

When the big day came (not my wedding day, but the day that I moved to Manhattan), I couldn’t help but have Carrie Bradshaw on my brain. Especially being an aspiring journalist living in Chelsea, I had planned to be an epic Samantha/Carrie love child. However, that fantasy ended when I realized how quickly those $2.75 metro card swipes added up. Carrie lived her life as a freelance writer running around the Upper East Side in Manolos while I lose money just walking past the Barneys at the end of my block. The same goes for Rachel’s character on Friends… I know the real-estate market has changed since the late '90s, but who knew a coffee shop waitress could afford anything larger than your typical Manhattan shoebox studio apartment. I’m a waitress… where’s my two bedroom, spacious, purple apartment that gets TONS of sunlight?

Now, don’t even get me started on The Notebook or Fifty Shades of Grey. First of all, I’m going to ‘fess up' right now and admit to crying four times in one day after watching The Notebook for the 47th time (it hits hard EVERY FREAKING TIME). I have one word for this beloved movie: tacky. As for Fifty Shades of Grey, if I met a guy who was half as controlling or possessive as Christian, despite his good intentions, I wouldn’t “grab tea” with him no matter how much his eyes or Audi R8 sparkled. I like to believe that love conquers all, and you can call me cold-hearted, but I have the patience of a mother of six and I would not be able to put up with him. Then again, Fifty Shades isn't real life, it's merely a book that I shamefully can't get enough of. So, with that, enjoy this much more accurate depiction of love.

That being said, why do I find myself regretfully awake until 3 a.m. binge-watching these shows and movies or reading these books that I know are undeniably inaccurate, unrealistic, or against everything I stand for? Hope, ladies and gents. Hope is a powerful drug and as much as I hate to admit it, we all have that little sliver of hope that tells us, “Hey, if Rachel can live luxuriously in the most expensive city in the word while working as a coffee shop waitress, so can I” or “If Allie and Noah ended up together after all those years of being lost and confused, my ex-boyfriend, who now has a new girlfriend, and I will totally rekindle the fire!”

We eat, sleep, and breathe these guilty pleasures because we secretly live vicariously through them. We know it most likely won’t happen, but when we’re curled up in bed completely immersed in these utopian worlds, our hope is kept alive after a long day of Manhattan trying to extinguish it.