I generally dislike the term “guilty pleasure”, especially when it comes to pop culture. We “all” (#notallTVaddicts) enjoy trashy books (after all “Fifty Shades of Grey” is a success, inexplicably), cheesy scripts, telenovelas and reality shows. It’s okay. The life of the TV addict doesn’t have to be reduced to good things. If we didn’t watch bad things to compare them to, we wouldn’t know what is really good.
This post is all about those shows I don’t tell people I spend a ridiculous amount of time watching. They are the shows that fill in the time between binge watches, the shows that cover the nights when I have no shows to watch or simply the shows that I unashamedly enjoy.
1. Property Brothers
Do I want a picture of the Property Brothers to pop up when people look up my blog? Why yes, thank you. Watching these two make house magic is one of the most entertaining things on television. Not to mention the amount of satisfaction you feel when you know you’d totally be less annoying than all those couples that appear on the show. I would trust Jonathan Silver Scott with my life (okay, I might have gotten carried away, but I would definitely trust him with my house). If he wants to give me granite counter-tops, I’ll let him give them to me good. And yes, Drew sometimes kind of forces people into buying complete disasters and then leaves and lets Jonathan do all the dirty work thus making them spend all their savings, but he is also cool, like we see in those total 10 minutes he appears on the show.
Admittedly, Drew gets to shine more in other shows, and that is okay, because I watch them all. Don’t you love it when people in “Buying & Selling” find a new house that is kind of okay for what they want and then Jonathan has completely renovated theirs in a way that you can tell they are feeling physical pain knowing they have to leave? I do.
And of course, that closing, totally non-scripted witty banter the bros share at the end of every show is what I live for. Oh, these two!
2. Love It or List It
“Love It or List It” is like the less satisfactory version of “Buying & Selling” because in the end, if they like their house renovation, they get to keep it. The cheesy banter between Hilary and David as they fight for the couple to keep the house or get a new one is entertaining, and I absolutely love Hilary’s murderous looks when she’s halfway through a renovation and a couple wants to change something. The show isn’t really as good as Property Brothers, but the main reason I continue to watch is because I’m waiting for the episode where she actually punches someone.
3. MasterChef (and variations)
I love watching people cook. Maybe because I can’t (even though little of what I do know I have learned from watching cooking shows), or maybe because I live thoroughly through them, but to watch people cook against the clock while Gordon Ramsay yells at them? That is so much better.
Sure, I also enjoy watching people challenge themselves and raising against adversity, but what I truly, really enjoy is Ramsay yelling at the really terrible ones and the talking heads where the contestants insult each other.
That in the adult version, because what truly makes “MasterChef Junior” are the kids. It is truly fascinating to see them cook complicated dishes that I would never dare to attempt and to watch them be nicer, more compassionate and better team members than the adults. Gordon also brings out his soft side, which balances the yelling. Quite honestly, this is the superior MasterChef.
“MasterChef Junior” Spain has proved to be quite great too, not only because the kids are smart and ridiculously well-behaved, but because this is one of the judges:
4. Great British Bake Off
I can’t cook but I can for sure bake (more or less successfully, just don’t ask me to decorate) and the Bake Off is fantastic to satisfy your baking needs when you are not able to get yourself to the oven. I live thoroughly through the bakers and I feel for them when things go bad. It’s like the emphatic-friendly version of every other cooking show mentioned before. Somehow people who bake are more relatable, what can you do. Mary Berry and Paul Hollywood are the right kind of sincere without being mean and Mel Giedroyc (the hilarious contestant cheerleader) and Sue Perkins are perfect presenters. Britain is obsessed with GBBO and you can tell why the moment you watch an episode.
5. Don’t Tell the Bride
Here’s how “Don’t Tell the Bride” works: the BBC gives a couple £12,000 to organize a wedding in 3 weeks with only one condition: the bride cannot be involved AT ALL in the wedding preparation. She cannot choose her dress, the location, the food, the cake. Not even the guests. She is completely in the dark about when it is until she gets an invitation (some grooms have even forgotten to let them know when the wedding was, so you can already tell this is good) and she doesn’t see the dress until the day before the wedding.
There have been wonderful, beautiful weddings organized by the grooms in this show, and many times they have chosen dresses and locations for the brides that they have loved more than the ones they wanted (at the same time we see the groom organize the wedding, we see everything the bride would do instead) but there have also been disasters and those are the best ones: ugly dresses, bridezillas who are driven to madness by the lack of control, public weddings for brides that absolutely hate attention, a bride parachuting to her wedding, horrible themes, grooms that think they have it all figured out and spend their money on bachelor parties and then realize they have no money left, Vegas weddings that happened but ended in divorce and so much more.
It is a truly entertaining TV show, and every single year I come back for more.
6. Dancing With the Stars
I must admit, I am not as big of a fan of “Strictly Come Dancing” as I am of “Dancing With the Stars”, unless there is a celebrity I like in it. Last season for example, I truly loved Sasha and Caroline, but not so much everyone else. “Dancing With the Stars”, however, completely grabs me every year, regardless of the “stars” in it. I have a favorite and a least favorite pro: Val and Derek, respectively, (seriously Derek? We thought you were gonna give us a break this year and here you are again, like a parasite) and a favorite judge (Len) and every time I shake my head at home and judge a rumba for being “too much like Contemporary” and Len or Carrie Ann say exactly the same, I grin in satisfaction and feel ready to judge worldwide dancing championships.
7. Antiques Roadshow/Antiques Roadtrip
I love antiques shows, okay? I am not a history nerd (unfortunately) but I do love finding out the history behind an object and people in these two shows know a hell of a lot of history. When someone brings some tea set to “Antiques Roadshow” and they find out it is made in the finest china and worth thousands of pounds, my heart pounds. I want to raid my entire grandma’s house and tell them to tell me the history behind everything, how much it costs and then never sell it, because I would never do that to my grandma’s stuff, you monsters.
“Antiques Roadtrip” is full of old people banter, my favorite kind of banter. It is delightful to see two old people fight over a plate at an auction. I cannot understand the science behind it, but it fascinates me.
8. Gordon Ramsay’s Kitchen Nightmares & Hotel Hell
There is a lot of Gordon Ramsay in this post, but the truth is, the man knows what he is doing. Am I disgusted by some of the people and things I see in these? Yes. Quite honestly, for someone like me who is already fussy about eating and sleeping outside, these two shows are the worst kind of trigger, to the point that I need to read every single review in a hotel or restaurant before I book.
And yet, I continue to watch, because watching Gordon Ramsay yell at people brings me such joy that I am, somehow, able to put aside my utter disgust by people’s lack of hygiene in order to see him take them down.
What makes this better, is that behind all that yelling there is actual good advice, which is the entire reason why Gordon Ramsay works. He is like a screaming, overbearing mother, but one you actually listen to.
9, 10. Storage Wars / Auction Hunters
American storage hunters are a weird concept to me, and to see people fighting about storage boxes? Even more.
I love it when Allen and Clinton from “Auction Hunters” have a dispute about whether or not a foosball table is worth paying over $700 (but they make up right after because they’re best buds!). I love when they dumbly buy something they think is worth money and then take it to an expert and turns out is worth nothing. I live for that time those two rival hunters bought an entire storage full of Twinkies and then Twinkies came back. What did they do with them? I feel like I should know.
The same thing happens with “Storage Wars”. I’d go into detail, but I just like seeing the weird stuff they find. And Brandi is a mess. I kind of love her.
This is probably the most deeply personal post you will see in this blog. I am publicly trusting you readers with some of my darkest TV secrets. So what are yours? Do you also get all tingly when a new storage door is open? Do you want Jonathan to break down your walls? Do you have a secret crush on Sue Perkins? And most importantly, do you think it’s fair that Julianne Hough is judging in Dancing With the Stars? Like, what the hell? Make your way to the comments and let me know.