Monday, March 15, 2010

The Lure of the Telly

After exercising my brain all day, I like nothing more than to flop on the sofa, click on the telly and drift away to the sounds of the umpteenth-watched episode of Friends quickly followed by whatever other documentaries/ reality shows are on that evening.

For me, Friends is like a children's story-book: familiar, cosy and predictable. Reality shows, though, stir up a different set of emotions. As I watched one particularly smarmy contestant on The Apprentice last year badmouth another, I wondered what on earth attracted me to these types of shows. Is it the Coliseum mentality -- getting pleasure from watching humans duke it out in the ring? Is it voyeurism, a sneak peak into someone else's life? Or is it the thrill of watching someone achieve their dreams, a la American Idol?

Probably, it's a combination of the three. I love watching raw human emotion on screen, seeing people react to the twists and turns producers throw at them. I'm a shameless crier when the winner is crowned in any talent competition. And I love listening to contestants run each other down (not an admirable trait, I admit).

Most of all, I can't help but wonder why people are so eager to go on these sorts of shows. It's this curiosity that led me to write my current novel, The Hating Game, where the main character goes on a reality show in order to win some prize money to save her business. I knew my telly watching would come in handy: I hardly had to do any research!

What about you? Do you switch on the television at night? And if so, what do you watch?


  1. Lately, TV has sent me away. I really don't watch too much of it. I am usually reading or writing. That seems to be on my mind constantly.

  2. I agree too much telly is never a good thing. I wish I could be like you, Christine, and focus a bit more on reading. But I fall asleep trying to read in the evening... could it be because of the wine? Hm.

  3. I generally have the tv on, but I rarely just watch anything. Drives my family batty, but I either read or I'm on the laptop (blogging, writing, working...) at the same time.

    I don't watch a lot of reality TV - alhtough I love American & Canadian Idol & the 2 versions of So You Think You Can Dance. Haven't thought to use them in my writing yet though!

  4. We grew up without tv, so when I was an adult, I watched constantly. When I realized that 147 channels all had the same thing on, I stopped watching it again.

    Now with the Small One, tv is limited to HER shows. Every once in awhile if I need some vegetable time, I'll turn it on but to BBC shows. I find British accents relax me.

  5. i don't watch much tv at all. It's on in the background, but I really ignore it.

  6. I have a handful of shows I'm loyal to but all the commercials make TV-watching really annoying for me. I'm seriously considering giving up TV altogether... well, after "Lost" ends, of course.

  7. Hello, just wandering over from Theresa Milstein's blog.
    Sometimes I watch way too much TV! Not so much reality TV, although I do find The Biggest Loser strangely addictive.
    I like the idea for your novel.

  8. In an ideal world I'd have one brilliant programme/film to watch each night. Alas, at the moment, the only must-sees I have are Lost and House.

    I love the escapism from a long day or a very chewy writerly problem and I think it helps to send the mind off into something unwriterly for a couple of hours.

    I'm still feeling bad about the cupcake thing.

  9. Jemi - I love having the TV on in the background! It drives my husband crazy.

    Piedmont Writer - Yes, British accents can be relaxing... depending on where they're from!

    E Elle - I used to love Lost! Here in the UK, though, it switched to a pay per view channel and we only have Freeview, so I lost track of what was happening.

    SF - I've only seen the Biggest Loser once, but it seemed quite motivational.

    Kit - You *should* feel bad! :)

    Thanks all for chiming in!


Coffee and wine for all!