Veranda Talk columnist  for The Lismore Echo Dr Airdre Grant.
Veranda Talk columnist for The Lismore Echo Dr Airdre Grant.

Airdre comes clean on her guilty pleasure

MY FRIEND came down the corridor. She looked nervous. I opened the door. We looked around. No one was looking. She quickly sidled in.

Did you watch it? She said.

Sure did. I replied.

We began an excited dissection of the events on our recent round of telly watching. There was lot to go over. There was betrayal, lust, lies, jealousy and heartbreak.

Yes, I have to confess. My name is Airdre and I love watching reality television. There's the food shows, the dating shows and renovation shows, and that's just for starters.

There are those who look down on this genre of programs calling them cheap, tasteless, and trashy. Good for you, I say, as I make myself comfortable on the couch. You go and do something worthwhile and contribute meaningfully to society while I take some time off from my daily cares and watch the dramas unfold. The flopped cake, the terrible paint colour, the copying of ideas, the stealing of partners - oh it's great stuff.

When you think about it, these shows have all the ingredients of a good Shakespearean drama, stopping just short of murder. There's triumph and tragedy. There's the unexpected elements (weather/new contestants/intruders), the shifting loyalties. There might be a glass of wine thrown on someone, people make promises they can't keep, they change their minds, they flaunt their skills, they complain about people behind their backs, they lie and they cheat.

Those who look down on the shows, also look down on the people who watch them. Hence the need for secrecy. They refer to the shows as rubbish. Admittedly, sometimes things do get a tad on the tacky side and a great deal of human behaviour is less than admirable. But it's the weaknesses and humanity of the participants that makes it engaging.

The moral dilemmas (should I steal her boyfriend?) the glamour (how fake tan is too much?) the drama (the cake that doesn't rise). It's all good stuff. And yes I do know that some of it is scripted and things can be a tad contrived (let's isolate people from the daily grind, combine alcohol on a tropical island with scanty swimwear) but who cares? It keeps me entertained when I cannot stand to hear another word about the election and the parlous state of the world and environment.

I do keep my viewing habits to myself though, having been roundly mocked for my so-called trashy taste. All I can say is: will you accept this rose?