Why You Should Be Watching Your Girlfriend’s Awful TV Shows
You and your girlfriend probably have a few shows that you watch together- Breaking Bad, Homeland, Parks and Recreation- but outside of that, her TV habits are probably a mystifying, terrifying spectacle of slutty women screaming at each other, and lots of crying while sewing. However, take heed gentlemen: there are a few reasons why watching your girlfriend's guilty pleasure shows can be a smart move -- I mean, are you seeing the image above? Let's chat.
Reason to watch: Understanding her better
You know your girlfriend pretty well, but knowing her trashy TV habits helps you get to know her even better. Does your girlfriend watch a lot of those "I barely survived" shows on Discovery? She might be a hypochondriac. A lot of Project Runway and Fashion Star? She may have a secret yen to do something more creative with her time -- give her some jewelry-making classes, and you'll be a hero. Biggest Loser or Real Housewives of Toronto (above)? She has an untapped desire for more drama in her life. Gigolos? Uh oh. Dude, be careful.
Knowing your girlfriend's Id-like desires will help you become more in tune with her needs in general. My shame-filled alone time is spent with Toddlers & Tiaras and America's Next Top Model, despite spending my childhood and teen years trying desperately to convince people I was "too cool" to be girlie. Oh how wrong I was.
Beyond whatever she's already watching, if your'e looking to understand women a bit better, check out HBO's Girls, The Mindy Project, or RuPaul's Drag Race. Whether your girl is neurotic, self-absorbed, and trying to pretend like she's not; neurotic, self absorbed, and trying to hide those qualities; or trying to figure out how to balance her personhood with her femininity, these three shows give a peek inside the minds of some real-world ladies.
Reason to watch: Fun
Let's not kid ourselves, there's a reason these shows are all on the air: they're entertaining. Watching men transform themselves into glamorous ladies and then watching them gleefully insult each other? People with sob stories and amazing voices compete against each other week after week? Seeing bras get fitted on ladies with enormous boobs that were previously incorrectly bra-ed? Learning about an Amish Mafia? Seeing the (obviously gay) Dad of a 3 year old beauty pageant contestant dancing alongside of his daughter? The people who make reality shows have entertainment down to a science. No matter who you are, the tension and can't-look-awayness will suck you in. Not to mention the actual talent it takes to create a full dress in 12 hours; just give it a try.
Double Divas (above), RuPaul's Drag Race, Gigolos, and Too Cute!, to name a few. All of these shows are well aware of how silly they are, and present themselves with tongues planted firmly inside of their cheeks. Well, except for Too Cute! -- that's just quality kitten and puppy entertainment. (You should see how many episodes I have saved on my DVR.)
Reason to watch: Nudity
Alright alright, I'll state the obvious: In a lot of these shows, especially the fashion/beauty ones, models are routinely stripped down to almost nothing while designers fret over seams. On America's Next Top Model you are basically guaranteed to witness at least one nude photo shoot per season. If nothing else, you can look at naked women and sometimes watch them make out without feeling weird about it, because you're actually just being a good boyfriend. High fives all around, right dudes?
There is incidental nudity in America's Next Top Model and Project Runway, intentional nudity in Girls and Gigolos*, and drunk nudity in shows like Bad Girls Club and Snooki & JWOWW. Your welcome.
Reason to watch: Scoring points
Not that anyone is keeping score, but the times that boyfriends have expressed interest in the guilty pleasure shows I like have meant a lot to me. I happily explain characters' backstories, advised whether or not a judge would like a particular contestant's work, and beamed with pride at his effort. The next time he turned on one of his guilty pleasures like a Jason Statham movie or wrestling, I was more inclined to join in and enjoy myself, too. It's fun to share in guilty pleasures together- it builds a new level in your relationship.
One important note though: regardless of gender, when you're indulging your significant other by watching their guilty pleasure show, don't spend your time complaining about it or asking constant questions -- it kind of ruins it. If you're gonna commit to it, then commit and have fun or get out.
A show like Love It Or List It is chock full of pretty intense reality show stuff, as is American Idol/The Voice/X Factor or any show that has story lines that continue from week to week -- lots of points to be had there. When my husband sidles up to ask how things are going in Project Runway AllStars, and then listens as I explain everyone's aesthetic and attitude, it makes me love him a little more.
Let's do our best to help break the stereotype that there are "man shows" and "woman shows" by attempting to give in a little and at least try to watch the shows our significant others love. It can do wonders for your relationship, for society in general, and for your knowledge of high-end designers. And if all else fails, you can watch Killer Karaoke, which is a combination of American Idol and Jackass. Let's all broaden our TV horizons -- It's 2013, after all.
*My, how I wish the shows of 'Girls and Gigolos' would do just one crossover episode.
Emily V. Gordon is a couples and family therapist turned freelance writer, comedy producer, and video game talker-abouter. You can find her at Huffington Post, xoJane, and Nerdist! You can find her on Twitter and her own blog too.