You're a Guilty Pleasure
Welcome to my first ever Guilty Pleasures Week. After spending a weekend alone with an madra craiceáilte, watching him chase his tail, it got me thinking about the things I really enjoy, but don't talk about because they're naff or embarrassing. I'm going to devote the bulk of this week to cataloging a few of my guilty pleasures.
One of the culture shocks of moving to the Middle of Nowhere has been the shrinking of my television dial. From satellite, with its hundreds of channels, to three channels – RTE1, RTE2, and TG4. It's weird, because this limiting of choices makes it both easier and more difficult to watch television. Boiling down the choices to three makes for a more straight-forward decision, but then if all three choices are crap, there's no point in watching.
This shrinking of possibilities has gotten me to watch shows that I wouldn't have glanced at in the past. (Sort of like when we were traveling in Italy and Slovenia and we'd find English-language programming and wouldn't care that it was a seven-year old episode of the Rikki Lake show.) But it's one thing to watch something because you've no other options and quite another thing to find that you're inexplicably drawn to it, that you start to plan to watch it.
Sadly, that has happened to me with You're a Star. It's sort of like American Idol, only with lower production values. I cannot explain why I enjoy watching this at all – the presenter is a plonker, the songs are very often crap, and the judges' opinions seem highly questionable to me. Sometimes, I wonder if we were even listening to the same song.
But still, I keep watching. I'd like to say it's like a car accident – you can't help but look, but some days it's not even that interesting. I guess the competition aspect of it, the picking a favourite and hoping for them, is a big part of it. I do have a favourite and a second favourite. I even watch both bits – the performances and then the results.
The results show is 20 minutes of fodder followed by 5 minutes of results and 5 minutes of pure agony. Up until this past episode, the loser of the week has had to sing the going-out song. They've just had their dearest dream dashed on national television, often their eyes are full of tears, and then they have to suck it up and sing a damn song. Fair dues to them – I think I'd have to give into the overwhelming temptation to crawl under the nearest duvet and refuse to come out.
Last night, though, they tinkered with the formula in an attempt to add more tension and suspense to the proceedings. The two acts who got the fewest number of votes had to re-perform their songs and then have the judges rule who would be sent home. It was awful. Instead of disappointment and putting a brave face on things, the feeling of the performance was abject desperation.
Reading back over this entry, I am wondering why I classify You're a Star as a guilty pleasure, since I've complained about most of it. But that's exactly the point, I guess. What makes it my guilty pleasure is that I do enjoy it (and am a bit embarrassed by that fact).