OldVenue, TV

Guilty Pleasures

[su_spoiler title=”Chloe Cox” style=”simple” icon=”chevron-circle” anchor=”Comment”]I first watched Awkward as a last resort; a result of browsing through Lovefilm when all the good programmes were gone. Lovefilm you say? What’s that? Well, exactly. So sceptically, I began my first episode, and rightly so. Cringey lines, cringey outfits… and there were four more seasons of this? But trust me, stick with it. OK, it’s your typical American high-school and teenage drama but the characters are so unbelievably wacky you feel obliged to see what crazy thing they do next. I found myself binge-watching just so that I could hear that sassy cheerleader Sadie say “You’re WEL-come,” one more time. What impressed me most about Awkward was the fact that the protagonist’s first love was a fuckboy. I mean, finally some realistic characters! Drawn in, was I by the familiar tension between boy and girl when boy would rather keep girl’s sexual pull on him a secret. How does this end? Is there really hope for the rest of us? And yes, there are some satisfying endings; why not? Sometimes you just need a good, old teenage romance. But there are also some surprising ones that’ll keep you pressing the “next episode” button again and again. And despite the cheesy lines and the awkward “let-me-look-like-I’m-thinking-while-my- voice-says-what-I’m-thinking” look, the show really is worth a watch; especially if you’re looking for something easy to enjoy over your dinner or while you’re getting ready for a night out. Besides, they’re only 20 minutes each. So if you’re having a bad day, pull out your laptops, grab a pack of your favourite cookies, pair them with two huge scoops of Ben and Jerry’s on top and get watching.[/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title=”Chloe Cox” style=”simple” icon=”chevron-circle” anchor=”Comment”]Whether you’re having a lazy day or recovering from a night out, there’s something rather cathartic about entering the television production nostalgia that is Flog It. It is similar to Antiques Roadshow except the tension increases tenfold when the public decide to take their items to auction. The people who take part in this show walk the plank between heart-warming and cringe-worthy. The items are never exceptionally valuable, but there’s something pleasurable about people either winning or losing money on their possessions – depending on how you get your kicks. It can be relaxing and entertaining to learn about the history of these possessions, and the difference between sentimental and financial value. Ultimately, even if people aren’t running to the bank, or even after some items are running away from it, it’s always refreshing to hear that a simple purchase ended up being such a big part of somebody’s life. Flog It is not brain rotting, but it’s certainly not stimulating. What is great about it is its comforting nature, as you can relax without thinking too much. There’s plenty of things that are worse to watch than this charming slice of television.[/su_spoiler]

[su_spoiler title=”Callum Browne” style=”simple” icon=”chevron-circle” anchor=”Comment”]Everyone has guilty pleasures. Some of us enjoy Doritos and jam. Some of us have old S Club 7 tracks, skulking in the dark recesses of our iPods, buried somewhere between Kanye and Vivaldi. Some of us have suspiciously well-used looking shovels in the boots of our cars, a regularly visited “thinking spot” in the woods, and a rapidly shortening list of enemies. My crime, is far greater. I like Don’t Tell the Bride.

For those not familiar with the programme, I’ll explain its basic premise. BBC One selects couples from across the nation and gives them £12,000 to spend on their ideal wedding, with one condition: the groom must make all decisions regarding the wedding alone, with minimal contact with their partner. Inevitably, things go wrong, hilarity ensues, and the audience is left feeling comfortably smug in their own superiority, wondering faintly whether the BBC grows these people in a vat specifically for our entertainment. Textbook reality television.

It’s a simple idea, at times not far from watching the human equivalent of those videos where the cat won’t stop bumping its head off a glass windowpane, but brilliant, in its way. It is human drama at its finest, filled with the pathos of crushing responsibility in an uncaring world, at times almost Shakespearean. Who didn’t weep for the tragic soul who bought his fiance’s wedding dress in a charity shop? Hamlet got off lighter. And the bride who had to show up to her wedding on an airstrip? In a tank? (apparently in honour of the groom’s grandfather, which I think we can all agree is what weddings are really about). Such tragedy. Such comedy. Truly, it is a glorious age to be alive.

While flawed, just as all shows are, Don’t Tell the Bride is endearing in its refusal to ever pretend to be more than it is. It’s not high art, it’s not a profound examination of the human spirit in times of social and ecological expiry (even if it does sometimes seem to stumble into that by accident), it’s not even particularly about love. What it is, however, is exceedingly entertaining, inarguably so, and really, isn’t that all it needs to be? I like Don’t Tell the Bride. Will you share my shame?[/su_spoiler]


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tometheridge Tom is allegedly doing a chemistry degree, and for the last year has been responsible for many of the tenuous puns printed in Concrete. This year he’s finally going to be putting the countless wasted hours he spends on social media to good use as Online Co-Editor and will also be turning his pedantic hand to being the Chief Copy Editor.