I watch a shit load of television. I watch television at home, and I watch television for my job. I don’t think I’ve said this yet, but I work as a Caption Producer part-time. This has resulted me in being exposed to a multitude of shows I wouldn’t normally watch, but, you know, I still enjoy. (And some I don’t. Fuck fishing shows.)
Recently I started embarking on the wild journey that is Riverdale, a CW show based loosely (very loosely) on the Archie Comics. I started talking about it with my colleague and after we both established that we were watching it, melted into nervous laughter, because well. It’s not Great, by most objective standards. It’s campy, but self-aware about it, and tries too hard to be contemporary while still being set in a dreamy, Twin Peaks-like small town. But it made me think – am I rotting my brain by watching this shit, and how is it any worse than saying you’re watching Breaking Bad?
No one would delve into nervous laughter after talking about Breaking Bad, Mad Men or The Sopranos, all considered God-tier television about white people (and predominantly white men) with “amazing writing” and “complex characters”. But let me tell you – I was way more entertained by Cheryl fucking Blossom’s slow-mo into her dead twin brother’s funeral in a white dress than Don Draper fucking another woman who is Not His Wife.
Why do I try to frame my consumption of shows which may not hold technical critical acclaim in a way that dismisses the value of the show? Why do I always pre-empt conversations about these shows as “yeah, I know it’s trash but it’s entertaining,” or “yeah, it’s not good, but there’s just something about it.” Um, Jean, is that something the fact that it is good? And why do so many of these shows end up being on The CW channel, with the target audience young women?
Admittedly some of these shows have gotten general acclaim – Jane The Virgin, for one, My Crazy Ex-Girlfriend the other. However, those fanboys that salivate over Walter White and The Wire are not watching these shows. They’re not going on about how ‘complex’ Jane Villanueva is. Is the criteria of a show that is considered ‘good’ in most circles that boys jerk off to how good the writing is? Why aren’t any of these ‘complex characters’ women? (And why did you hate Skyler White so much? Oh wait, I know. Misogyny.)
Like, fuck The Wire, True Detective and especially fuck Breaking Bad. I’d watch something like Fleabag (which you should and must watch) over those any day. And now that I’m finally admitting to myself that I don’t have to prove that I only watch Quality Television to some douchebags in film school, I can finally stop calling the shows I watch bad.
Now excuse me while I go watch The Mindy Project. Did you guys know Mindy Kaling was the only woman on The Office US initial writing crew?