Hannah Barger: Train wreck television: Good, bad or ugly?

Trash TV is wonderful. Anyone who claims otherwise is not to be trusted. Sure, it’s easy to turn up one’s nose at television’s low-brow programs and declare that you would never watch such filth, but everyone has a guilty pleasure.
Apr 22, 2014
Hannah Barger

Trash TV is wonderful. Anyone who claims otherwise is not to be trusted. Sure, it’s easy to turn up one’s nose at television’s low-brow programs and declare that you would never watch such filth, but everyone has a guilty pleasure. 

Be it tabloid magazines, cheesy music or TV, there is not a person alive who doesn’t need an occasional dose of entertainment “junk food.” I, myself, am I sucker for B-movies and reality television. 

While most of these programs are goldmines of cringe-worthy moments, some shine brighter than others. Here are a few I recommend indulging in. 

Wife Swap

This show, as well as its shorter-lived but equally beautiful counterpart Trading Spouses, has been my go-to source for afterschool entertainment for the past six years or so. The premise of both shows is simple, two women (or, in the case of a few specials, men) switch families for two weeks in order to live each other’s lives, taking on duties such as housekeeping and child-rearing, following the style of the new family for the first week before imposing their own rules in the second. 

That doesn’t sound too interesting, does it? 

It probably wouldn’t be, except that in almost every case both families are absolutely insane. The point is to foster a clash between two extremes, an obsessive neat freak and a slob, or a strict disciplinarian and a free spirit. 

These people tend to represent the absolute worst of their respective cultures, and episodes are edited in order to achieve maximum lunacy. 

Therefore, every episode should be taken with a grain of salt. That does not, however, make viewing anything less than thoroughly enjoyable. After one episode, you can take comfort in the fact that your family may be crazy, but at least they’re not Wife Swap crazy.

America’s Next Top Model 

This show isn’t quite as much of a train wreck as the previous entry, but every season contains one episode that shines as a beacon of insanity, serving as a grim reminder to humanity, the makeover episode. 

There are few absolutes in life, but these episodes are a perfect example. Two things will happen, someone will get a terrible hairstyle and someone --– be it the recipient of the aforementioned terrible style or someone else – will lose her mind. These episodes almost always end in tears for everyone aside from host Tyra Banks, who merely looks down upon her work and smiles slightly. 

While it is said by some that television rots the mind, I’m of the opinion that, much like junk food, reality television supplements your entertainment diet in a way that nothing else can. 

As they say, everything in moderation. So go ahead, watch an episode…or five. 

Hannah Barger is a senior at Wilson Central High School and plans to attend Tennessee Tech University and major in journalism in the fall. 

 

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