As has become de rigueur in recent years, there’s been no shortage of shitty reality television being used as decompression material for our overworked brains in the last few weeks. After the thinking-too-hard workday, I’ve developed an almost-need for a certain level of schlock to marinate in before sleep, before returning to the grind the next day. All of which is to say, I’ve very much been appreciating the current Golden Age of Camp Reality I think television has entered in the last couple of years.
The joy of streaming means that, currently, Chloe and I can enjoy episodes of Love Island Australia, RuPaul’s Drag Race All-Stars, Legendary, or Below Deck shows — that’s shows plural, not episodes, I point out, because as I write, both Below Deck: Down Under and Below Deck: Sailing Yacht are running new episodes simultaneously, which is crazy to me — in addition to any new discovery that we might make. It’s a joy, and a necessary mental balm, to have these pieces of trash to marinate in while trying to slow our brains down from that day’s work. It’s the most restorative viewing I could imagine at this point.
This sounds like sarcasm, but it’s not, I promise; there really is something impossibly relaxing about enjoying the histrionics and cliches that you can almost guarantee from any one of these shows, not to mention the schadenfreude of being able to look at almost any single one of the people onscreen and go, well, at least I’m not as bad as all that.
(If there is one thing in reality shows that I genuinely love more than anything else, it’s reality shows where everyone is over the top and overly emotional with the exception of one person, who gets to basically watch everything unfold and then make snarky commentary to the camera after the fact; it’s the ultimate audience stand-in, and when done well, it’s irresistible.)
Occasionally, I stop and think to myself that I should, perhaps, be reading more books, watching more highbrow cinema, and spending my decompressing time in more productive ways. And then I hear the low energy techno throb of the Love Island theme and such thoughts get pushed to the back of my head as I wonder whether Mitch and Tina will get it together tonight after all.