Have you ever followed someone on Twitter or befriended them on Facebook just for the horribly guilty glee of HATING THEM WITH 100 PERCENT OF YOUR SOUL?! Maybe their politics don't agree with yours, maybe they are just stupid and attention-seeking, maybe it's an ex—yet regardless of the reason, their internet presence is like a car crash you can't look away from.
What? No? Oh, well, I haven't either.
Now, I love and respect TV, and I worship at the altar of the small screen on a nightly basis. But I've recently come to realize that some of the shows I watch, I watch because they make me cringe and shout and roll my eyes. Sometimes, I hate-watch television.
It's a terrible thing to do, because when people complain about a particular television show, the inevitable response is (and often should be), "Why don't you just stop watching it?" But just like people sometimes keep dating jerks when they know they shouldn't, we sometimes can't stop ourselves from hate-watching.
Are you guilty of such a practice? The following seven shows are the ones I'm currently hate-watching. List your own, if you have any, in the comments!
Note: Hate-watching a show does not automatically mean the show is low in quality, it merely implies that it makes you crazy and yet, here you are watching it.
Entourage was the ultimate in hate-watching for me. The show was always proud of being patently opulent and ridiculous, from its (lack of) plotlines to its sex to its bro-ing out, and I was never able to tune in with any sense of taking it seriously. But with that said, it was still incredibly watchable, the grown-up equivalent to The Muppet Babies in that I'd watch it to see where your filthy, money-obsessed imagination can take you. I hung on to every word while wanting to punch every single person on the screen. Well done, sirs. R.I.P.
This guy. Listen, I've had a grudge for a while—I wanted Letterman to get The Tonight Show way back in the day, and I certainly didn't want Conan to get The Tonight Show, only to have to abdicate the throne a few months later. But let's forget about all that: I simply don't love the way the guy hosts the show. He strikes me as smug and dismissive and bored by himself, which is not what I want in a TV host. However, whenever I happen across his big chin on my TV screen, I can't stop myself from watching. He makes a weak joke and cackles, and I reflexively shout, "You don't even know who the Avengers are!" The show is like nails on a chalkboard to me, and the fun is getting confirmation of why I don't like him.
I know, I know, it's an amazing show. I know. But I'd never checked it before Season 3 or so, and any crazily serialized show that you sample several seasons in is going to look completely ridiculous to the uninitiated. So when I tune in to True Blood, I see a cheesy, overly Southern-accented (I'm Southern, I can say that) soap opera with magic and blood spatters. I watch it and go "What? WHAT ARE YOU TALKING ABOUT?!" and I admire how hot everyone looks. Then I usually call my Dad and ask him what's happening, since he's a big fan.
Toddlers and Tiaras
I thought for sure this show wouldn't get me. So sure was I that, Icarus-like, I decided to watch it just to see what all the fuss was about. Four episodes later and I was shouting, "THEY SHOULD CALL COPS ON YOU, YOU MONSTER!" to a pageant mom. The show angers and saddens me, but it's also very, very entertaining, and I look for the moments when the editors make fun of their subjects ever so subtly with cutaways. But at a party, when asked to defend why I watch it, I can't. I just shrug and slink away. (And don't even get me started on Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.)
I have an incredibly visceral reaction to this show. It's not Ray Romano, who is a funny dude, and it's not the broad, everyman humor that Everybody Loves Raymond employs. I was a family therapist for seven years, and I absolutely cannot stand how this family interacts with each other. It's so dysfunctional it makes me scream, and I treated so many families with similar dynamics that watching this show puts me right back in my office, facing an overbearing mom, a son who can't cut the apron strings, and a wife who martyrs herself constantly. When I miss being a therapist, I watch an episode of Raymond and remember why I stopped practicing.
I have a complicated relationship with America's Next Top Model. I've been watching it since the beginning, when Tyra and the gang filmed their judgings in the corner of a Holiday Inn conference room. I've watched it change, tonally, from season to season, and I've watched contestants come and go. One thing hasn't changed: Tyra Banks. I try to defend Tyra to other people sometimes, explaining that she's just a modern business woman, and that we're uncomfortable with women being as egotistic and successful as she is (because no one talks about how much they hate Sean Combs, but he's basically male Tyra). But often, she's undefendable: She's simply self-obsessed as all get out. I know this. And yet, I love watching the modeling challenges, I love how the panel critiques the final photos, and I love love love how unabashedly into herself Tyra is. I'm on board for life... and I'll definitely be watching when Cycle 19 (ANTM: College Edition) starts up on August 24.
I've been known to call The Newsroom the new Entourage, but that's not exactly true, other than the fact that I sometimes roll my eyes while watching it, even as I'm crying at the episode about Gabrielle Giffords' shooting. To me, The Newsroom is a classic Aaron Sorkin show, full of ideals and rousing speeches and snappy dialogue. It's also incredibly smug, and sometimes chooses those ideals over character consistency. It's corny, but it's also incredibly compelling to watch, which is why I will stick with it, eye rolls and all.
Alright, those are my confessions, now I wanna hear yours! What shows do you watch despite the fact that they raise your blood pressure and/or make you doubt humanity?