It is a Sunday night. I know, you have to go back to work tomorrow. You haven’t made your lunch yet. The baby’s just done an explosive poo and it’s reached the hairline this time.
Fortunately, we are just 48 hours away from the third installment of the Real Housewives of Auckland. An opportunity to see how the other half live, and simultaneously realize the other half are batshit crazy, and you don’t want to live that way anyway.
Unfortunately, and this is a real tragedy, the crippling onslaught of bad think pieces about reality TV are surely just a few virtuous tippity-taps away.
They will all be painfully identical, self-righteous, and quite frankly, exhausting.
Here are my tips for dealing, before you get sucked in by Sally from the opposite pod, who will tell you that watching RHOAKL makes you a bad feminist, a bad human, and that you should be at home reading Proust for the good of womankind.
1.) Compare and contrast
Think about which series’ get the most criticism. How many takedowns of the Bachelor, or the Real Housewives have you seen as opposed to, say, Pawn Stars, Duck Dynasty, or Outback Truckers? I’ve seen my fair share of each show, and I can categorically say there is nothing and I mean NOTHING more mind-numbing than watching some Hawaiian shirt-wearing dudes going through storage lockers to see what they can find.
That is the whole show. That is what they do.
For extra thrill factor, watch 42 minutes of truck drivers getting stuck in places.
Why then, does everyone start sipping on the Haterade when it comes to shows more likely to interest women? Well, that’s because things that interest women are stupid, silly! Crafts? Fashion? Romance? HOW RIDICULOUS. HOW VAIN. HOW VERY BAD.
Trucks? Hunting? Hawaiian shirts? YAY WOW VERY GOOD.
Never forget, to quote Selina Meyer (see point 3), “fundamentally, people hate women,” even women. There are people likely to spend their entire lives theorising about what women should and should not do/watch/be/wear, thinking they are being helpful. They are not.
2.) Don’t apologise.
Do you ever hear guys frantically explaining away their series link of Road Cops, Gold Coast Cops, Highway Cops, Robo Cops, Undercover Cops, Cops with Dogs, Cops Gone Wild, Keeping up the the Kops, Cops Take Miami and every other incarnation of reality cop TV? Do you ever hear them, forehead veins pulsing, shrieking “I’M JUST WATCHING IT IRONICALLY” “I DON’T ACTUALLY LIKE IT” “LOOK HOW PATHETIC THEY ARE HAHAHAHA” “I AM A GODDAMN INTELLECTUAL!!!”
No. That’s because men are, on the whole, completely unapologetic about the things they like, and you should be too.
Look, we get it, you are a smart lady, you have a good job, you (to quote Bachelor US season 20 quasi-villain Olivia) “do smart people things”. You just want to watch some people who are more good-looking than you go on dates, or talk about a cake but not eat it, or say the word pussy 100,000 times. Like what you like, stop feeling so bloody guilty about it.
3.) Be realistic about ‘role models’
My favourite shows of all time are Parks and Rec, and Veep. Shows about sassy, independent and funny women who run the Pawnee Parks and Recreation department, and the free world respectively.
Sometimes I read books. Sometimes I read the newspaper.
I can enjoy these things, AND reality TV, because I am a multi-faceted human being, capable of enjoying more than one type of thing. Shocking, I know.
Why can’t we look up to the real female role models on TV? Well, sadly, that’s because the Popes, the Knopes and most of the other fabulous ladies in between ARE NOT REAL.
How many of us would be flawlessly impressive we had cameras following our every move? Would you be UN material if you had sunk half a case of good old Lindy-Loo (or whatever Anne Batley-Burton has hiding in her cavernous champagne cellar) and weren’t allowed to go and get a cheesy kebab to soak it all up? No, no you would not.
Most people are pricks at least some of the time, including you and me, pretending otherwise is completely pointless.
4.) You are allowed to escape
“But think of all the problems in the world!” bellows Sally, who’s not eating this week because of child poverty.
I’m not sure about you, but I think about the world’s problems a lot.
I think about homelessness and whether I should devote more of my time to others. I think about racists. I think about whether it’s fair to have children who will live in a world where they can’t buy houses or breathe the air or watch a TV show without Sally’s kids telling them they should be thinking about Malala Yousafzai. I think about Malala Yousafzai. I think about cancer.
It’s depressing as hell. Sometimes I need a break, and that’s ok.
5.) Elitism Is For Eggs
Is that person telling you they are too good for reality TV super-rich? Did they go to a private school? Do they have the money to pay for nannies so they can go to an independent play about global warming instead of watching whatever will distract them from their kid’s latest yoghurt mural? Free to air TV is accessible, Narcos is available if you have the money for Netflix, and a computer, and the internet.
When a Sally wannabe opens their big mouths, ask yourself if they are the type of person who would storm into a party and loudly declare they’d rather be dissecting the lyrics of Radiohead’s ‘Nude’ than grinding to 2003 club classic ‘Get Busy’ by Sean Paul. If they are that person, ignore them.
5.) BUT THE FEMINSIMS
Think women are disrespected because of reality shows?
Women are disrespected because of assholes.
Under almost every online article about women on reality shows, there’s some backwards-hat-wearing Kevin saying “Can’t beleve any1 cares about dese whores”, “This is why females get a bad name”, or even worse, claiming that, I dunno, years of athletic training and dedication by one group of women is a non-achievement because another group of women went on a TV show.
Are you going to be an asshole? No. That’s what Kevin wants, AND Sally. Kevin and Sally are married.
I hope these handy tips will help you live your best life, and ignore the purveyors of bullshite´ that would have you have less fun for the sake of their own righteousness.