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TV Shows: What’s Your Guilty Pleasure?

TV Shows: What's Your Guilty Pleasure

I am not what you’d call a “TV person.” In my twenties, I had a screen so tiny that anyone who entered my apartment immediately made fun of it, followed by years of owning no TV at all. Even so, one of my very favorite things — and conversation topics — is “bad” TV…

You know the kind I mean. While some shows are educational or gripping or brilliantly written, others are simply entertaining. Dating shows. Morally depraved reality shows where you wonder what the producers were thinking. Game shows where you have no hope of learning anything. Holey Moley.

Sometimes, shows are good because they are bad. Which, in the end, just makes them good.

A not-so-guilty pleasure show can take many forms. Maybe it’s a show that seems out of character. Maybe it’s a little embarrassing. While it isn’t something you’d advertise on a dating profile or bring up at a dinner party, it is always fun to talk about. (I love to ask it of candidates during job interviews, because it has a way of instantly breaking the ice.) And if you discover that someone’s favorite bad show is the same as yours, well, you’re pretty much bonded for life.

I have waxed poetic about my love for RHONY (the affectionate abbreviation for Bravo’s The Real Housewives of New York City), a show that is rife with things that, on paper, I do not enjoy. There are toxic screaming matches, grotesque displays of wealth, and a cast that barely resembles itself due the amount of cosmetic interventions that have gone down since earlier seasons. Though it takes place in the city I call home, I hardly relate to any of it. And oh, how it brings me joy.

It was fate that gifted me American Ninja Warrior. My boyfriend and I were staying in a hotel for a friend’s out-of-town wedding, and the local cable channels left little to be desired. Somehow, we stumbled across American Ninja Warrior, and somehow, we continued watching it. Athletes ran across giant spinning tires, flung themselves across moats, scaled walls like superheroes. Every obstacle had names like “rolling thunder” and “the jumping spider.” I could not look away.

This brings me to my next point, which is that sometimes when enjoying your favorite unexpected show, your behavior becomes uncharacteristic, as well. Do I clench my fists as the ninjas attempt the trickiest feats? Do I sometimes scream at the TV? Do I shed a tear or two or five when they declare the next American Ninja Warrior? You know the answer, in all cases, is yes.

One night, my friend texted me about a show she had recently discovered. “I’m going to be up all night!” she said. “I have an early meeting, but I can’t. Stop. Watching.”

The show was Marrying Millions, a Lifetime reality program that is exactly what it sounds like. The docu-series chronicles six couples with dramatically different incomes. The characters are all a bit out there for various reasons (dramatic age differences, controversial meeting stories, families and friends that vehemently disapprove), which only adds to the entertainment. It’s a bit like Millionaire Matchmaker meets Tiger King, without tigers.

Though I trusted her endorsement, I didn’t check it out. After all, the new season of RHONY is upon us, and I had plenty of work to do. That it, until day 467358 into quarantine, when I found myself browsing the endless stream of content. There is was — a thumbnail photo of a bride carrying a bouquet made of money. It did not disappoint. (To that end, if anyone would like to discuss the validity of Gentille and Brian’s relationship, or what really went down with that bracelet, you know where to find me.) I cannot wait for season two.

While bad TV shows will always have a place in my heart, this is their time to shine. They are distracting. They are escapist. They are a window into a world that is so unlike our own. And right now, that feels more therapeutic — and necessary — than ever.

What’s your favorite unexpected TV show? I’d love to hear.

P.S. The best TV shows for couples to watch together and infidelity, Netflix style.

  1. Jacqueline says...

    I am so surprised to not see any HGTV and home renovation recommendations here. It is the only thing I can stomach to watch these days. It’s so soothing to my frayed nerves. From the demolition to the perfect ending it’s just like ahhh they lived happily ever after, yay! Especially love Fixer Upper and Hometown which have charming hosts that bypass the “naggy wife, obnoxious husband” tropes of a lot of these shows. Give me all the breaking things down and making them better shows, please!

    • Susan says...

      I love Home Town!

  2. MariaE. says...

    I have a love-hate relationship with reruns of ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ and ‘Four Weddings’. Some entourage people at ‘Say Yes to the Dress’ are just not nice people. Their lack of empathy is just too negative that I have to change channels sometimes (I can’t watch a bride-to-be being bullied and suffering so much). And also, I can’t really process the fact that a wedding dress can be so expensive, but I do respect their choices and budgets and secretly want every bride-to-be to choose the dress they really want, not the dress others want!! ‘Four Weddings’ is just so funny because the comments of the participant brides attending the other brides are simply hilarious and so shallow sometimes, that they make me have a good laugh.

    • tina crisas says...

      Yes, to this!!! I love “Say yes to the dress”!! I just can’t look away!

  3. Stephanie says...

    I had no TV from 1977-2009 so I missed Psych. Found it on Prime and am binging through the pandemic. Light and laugh out loud funny. Spot the pineapple game.

  4. nadine says...

    I’m usually the high brow one in the couple but I have my list of tv shows I don’t want to share with my boyfriend.. Some nights I announce I want to watch my guilty shows and head over in a corner with headphones on. One is Grace and Frankie, but the writing and the cast is so good that it can’t be considered as bad tv after all!

    • Gaby says...

      As I read Caroline’s article I wondered if I had any guilty pleasure tv shows… the only one I could think that comes close is Grace and Frankie! I do not think it is a true guilty pleasure because it’s a great show, but I’ve been made fun of by friends who consider it a “show for old people,” hah!

  5. Nanaka says...

    I admit I was watching the German version of “Come dine with me” for years and years and years. It’s such an old format but still being produced! Kinda dropped out of it once streaming happened… (I just don’t watch TV anymore!)

    Also, there’s a show called “shopping queen” here, which is basically about 5 participants, one per weekday given 250€ and being sent on a shopping trip (with a friend as sidekick) to find an outfit for a given motto, which will be rated in the end. Pure trash! I love it! :-)

    • Konstantina Hrysanthakopoulou says...

      Oh we have shopping queen in Greece, too and it is a fantastic train wreck!!

  6. On one hand I completely understand.
    We all want and need a balm for the soul. On the other hand- this post directly reminds me of the point of Edward R. Murrow’s cautionary speech in 1958:

    “television in the main is being used to distract, delude, amuse and insulate us”

    Maybe it comes down to all things in moderation. But it’s certainly something to think about.

    • Lainey says...

      I have had these thoughts a lot, esp. at times like now when we’re watching more tv than usual…. but I LOVE movies & tv is somewhat a similar thing….. I don’t judge others & their choices, tastes, etc. (well, I try very hard not to) but I try to do moderation along with having certain limitations: 1) I don’t watch commercials. There are some clever, artsy ones, but not so much in the US. 2) If it’s reality tv, it has to showcase a specific skill that someone has 3) It has to be of high quality, i.e. something I’d recommend to family & friends, something that would win an award 4) I don’t get my news from tv sources, I get too overwhelmed & I feel there’s too much bias.

    • isabelle says...

      A global pandemic that I have no control over is something I absolutely want to be distracted and insulated from.

  7. Arianne says...

    I love really predictable, pointless crime / detective / spy shows. Two years ago during an intense breakup & life transition I watched all seven season of Burn Notice. Last year, while laid up with the flu I started Quantico and then couldn’t stop. I’m not usually hooked by reality tv (except love is blind!) but something about the manufactured high stakes, promised happy ending, and predictable pattern of each episode is the perfect combo of soothing and engrossing.

    Separately, all these hotel TV convos reminded me of my teen years, when I’d often join my mom on her work conference trips. After her meetings ended, we’d order room service club sandwiches and watch something we’d never watch at home – usually the Duggars or a special on TLC that goes on for HOURS! Couldn’t get enough!

    • Bex Miller says...

      Yes absolutely agree! Gripping and yet also nicely wrapped up in an hour or so.

  8. jenny says...

    I just finished watching The Great. Squirreled away by myself for an hour each day and it was delightful!

  9. Kai says...

    The masked singer! It’s the TV equivalent of snorting pixy stix–a shot of pure sugar, unadulterated with distractions like culture, or thoughtfulness, or sometimes even talent. It is fun and dumb and I can zone out while I watch it–hard for me to do these days! Also the hosts seem to have such a robust understanding of popular culture going back like 30 years (which I think is what you do if you’re involved in generating pop culture) and it’s always fascinating to watch them comb their memories for B-list celebrities of yore.

    • Anne Elliot says...

      Another vote for the Masked SInger — mindless but good natured fun. TAKE IT OFF! TAKE IT OFF!!

  10. Susannah says...

    This is so weird but we love “Family Feud” with Steve Harvey! We don’t have cable and whenever we travel anywhere we’re always like YES WE CAN WATCH FAMILY FEUD…and it’s ALWAYS on, like 30 times a day, anywhere. We were visiting my husband’s wonderful family in Rockaway last year and they are decidedly NOT Family Feud people (or so they thought!). The two of us put it on after the kiddoes went to bed and sloooowly, like moths to a flame, everyone in the house came in one by one and we ended up all piled on the couch and by the end we were literally all crying with laughter. My sister-in-law reads this blog too… I wonder if she’ll see this. Hi, Rach! <3

    • Lauren says...

      Same! We had to travel a lot a couple years ago and it’s true, that show was always on! It was so fun but also somehow cozy to watch at night–just thinking about it makes me sleepy lol.

  11. laura says...

    ‘guilty’ tv has been my favorite quarantine tv.

    I came across this post on famous reality tv moments once, and it was amazing. So many of the clips were shows I hadn’t seen, but was familiar of the clips. Like the housewives arguing at a restaurant which ends up with a removed prosthetic leg, or tyra banks’s “WE WERE ALL ROOTING FOR YOU” speech. But I think my faves are the Kardashians’ “Kim, there’s people that are dying” moment, or when Kim is taking selfies in the car while her sister is going to jail. Prime American TV.

  12. M says...

    As the mother of a son with Autism I would have to say Atypical. My son does not act like Sam but I can relate to the family dynamics.

  13. Elise says...

    Love Island (UK) on Hulu. It’s so awful, but I can’t stop watching. And the narrator is fantastic.

  14. Kim says...

    Oh, this is embarrassing, but I have recently become addicted to The Baker and the Beauty. It is terrible. And wonderful. I watch intelligent television…generally! And yet! And yet…. Even my husband said during the third episode: “This is horrible…and yet I can’t stop smiling.”

    • Jane says...

      Make sure to watch the Israeli version on Amazon prime!

  15. Emily says...

    I love watching The Graham Norton Show! It’s light, funny, and entertaining. It’s more off the cuff than American talk shows, so you get to see a more authentic version of the celebrity guests (in my opinion). Plus, it’s fun too see the guests interact with each other. Whenever I’ve had a draining day, I watch a few clips on YouTube to lift my spirits.

    • Louise says...

      I do the same. American talk shows are so stiff and unappealing after watching Graham.

    • Zan’s fan says...

      I agree! Graham’s guests always look like they’re genuinely enjoying themselves, even when he’s poking gentle fun at them. Like the episode when he had the stars of Will & Grace on with Saiorse Ronan and one British comic whose name I can’t recall. Somehow he’d gotten them to agree to have their (really) embarrassing high school yearbook pics dug up for public display and the comments from all of them were super hilarious! He tends to fangirl over certain stars a bit too much (*cough*Tom Hiddleston*cough*) but overall it’s always a good time. Jessica Chastain is always a hoot and a half anytime she’s on the show, and people like Michael Fassbender, James MacAvoy, Kevin Hart, Dwayne The Rock Johnson, Jason Momoa and Will Smith are always game for anything crazy Graham comes up with and even stars like Mark Wahlberg always has awesome stories to tell on the show.

      There’s something ingenious about his couch setup that really breaks the ice and gets people on an equal footing with each other, as opposed to American talk shows where there’s like a clear hierarchy — whoever sits closest to the host is the biggest star of the moment — and guests have to do an uncomfortable musical chairs shuffle to get close to the host when it’s their turn to speak. Jimmy Fallon in particular is guilty of this and over time he’s gotten into the distasteful delusion that he’s just as big a star as the guests he’s interviewing and acts like he’s doing these actors a huge favour by talking to them, instead of realizing he’s the one who needs them for his show’s success. He needs to put his planet-sized ego aside and get down to the business of actually interviewing others instead of just constantly blathering on about himself and expecting his guests to politely smile and massage his ego while he’s giggling at his own lame jokes.

      Another reality TV show I’ve been watching is The Voice, which just crowned a winner. (I won’t mention who to keep this spoiler free!) I thought they did a really commendable job with the remote live shows but let’s be honest, the best part of the show is and always will be the blind auditions, when the coaches bicker with each other and fight dirty for the best contestants, lol. If anyone else watched it, did you agree with who they crowned winner and the new 5-finalists format?

    • Katie says...

      YES! Discovered Graham Norton when I lived in NZ. I miss it so much now that we are back in the US. The setup having multiple guests is so much fun. Thank you so much for the reminder about it had some good laughs watching old clips today.

  16. Rebecca says...

    My 70 year old parents are really into Naked and Afraid. It’s hilarious when they are scrolling through for something to watch and my mom excitedly yells ‘oooo naked and afraid is on!!’ It is the strangest concept that I just can’t get into.
    I on the other hand have only been watching RuPaul’s Drag Race. That is not a guilty pleasure. That is just good tv!

  17. Andrea says...

    I can’t believe I’m admitting this but The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills. OMG, they are so petty, catty, ridiculously dramatic, over the top stupid and I absolutely love it. It’s just silly entertainment and a great distraction from everything. It’s my dirty little secret!

    • Marisa V. says...

      Same same, Andrea! I always come back to it when I want something fluffy to watch! My husband is sometimes an innocent bystander and now knows the storylines loosely!

  18. Jeanette says...

    I could not agree with your sentiments more. I have always loved the Real Housewives series when I have stumbled upon it randomly. I have never dared intentionally watching the show (heaven forbid) until quarantine. I can now proudly say I’ve made my way through 2 seasons of NY and BH. They have brought me so much joy!

  19. Zoë says...

    Now is the time to get into Survivor! I have been watching since I was 7 years old, and I have seen every episode. I can’t imagine a world without it! It just wrapped up its 40th season (40 seasons!!!) so you won’t run out of viewing material. It’s the best show on earth – trust!!

  20. Megan says...

    The Great British Baking Show. . .I am SO JEALOUS of those who haven’t discovered it yet! I watched all seven seasons before quarantine and wishing I hadn’t. . .it is just SO soothing. . .I am not even into baking/cooking and I can’t recommend it enough.

    • Ali says...

      Yes! I so wish I hadn’t watched them all before this started, it is the most soothing show.

    • Anna Maria says...

      Agree – this show is amazing! Sometimes I still check to see if by some miracle I missed a season or episode but, alas, I’ve watched them all.

    • Maggie says...

      Fun fact: there have been 10 seasons!! There you go, more Mel & Sue for you.

    • Tara says...

      Have you seen Nadiya’s cooking show on Netflix?! While it doesn’t have the competition factor (or the fanciful bakes), it has that calming vibe. Highly recommend!

    • CB says...

      Love Bake Off and for soothing and British, I also enjoyed The Great British Design Challenge, Doc Martin (not a reality show) The Great British Sewing Bee and new to Netflix The Big Flower Fight.

  21. k says...

    Gogglebox…. it is weirdly satisfying to watch other people watch and react to the current episodes of cable tv shows.

  22. Tshego B says...

    SECRET EATERS (UK). Oh my gosh I cannot stop watching. I even hunt down episodes on youtube, they are always dodgy quality but I still watch them.

  23. Lauren says...

    I am ALSO a housewives fanatic. And thank you for the recommendation. This is the exact content I needed in my life right now. xo

  24. alli says...

    Say Yes to the Dress. I am not a girly girl, I would never spend that much money on a dress, and I think wedding are overrated- mine included, but I love that show.

    • Fernanda says...

      Me too!
      I have never been that girl who dreams about weddings but I could watch it for hours!

  25. Claire says...

    Riverdale, a show that left reason and sense behind a long time ago to embrace increasingly implausible and hilarious plot twists.

  26. Chris says...

    hands down, “Naked and Afraid”. i will watch it til my eyes bleed. lol

  27. I love watching trashy tv like The bachelor etc. there’s just something great about tv I don’t need to think about!

  28. Ll says...

    I absolutely hate reality shows. Just can’t stand it. I watch sci-fi instead, I mean it’s not even pretending to be real, which I love. And I love cooking shows too, it’s just something so comforting to watch someone talk about crust and whisking. There is enough action and drama in my real life so I like shows that are not real, or free of drama.

    • Kathy G says...

      Me too! New favorite is Kingdom on Netflix. So beautiful and compelling. We binged the two seasons available.
      Not to be confused with The Kingdom.

  29. Kat says...

    I don’t have anything to say about TV but I need to say LOOK AT THAT GOOD BOY!! What a beautiful weenie dog!

  30. shelley says...

    I love all the trash reality shows! Love island, temptation island, love is blind, and of course the entire bachelor franchise. Perfect way to escape and have a laugh and see some wild drama.

  31. Alice says...

    Love is Blind was FANTASTIC for this! And the last few summers (I’m in the UK), I have got HOPELESSLY addicted to Love Island. It is SO BAD, but SUCH compelling TV!!!! It’s all just completely ridiculous and I love it so much. I’m living with my boyfriend during lockdown and his TV tastes are much higher brow than mine, but you bet your butt that I’m sneaking off to the bedroom to watch Grey’s Anatomy s15!

    • Alice says...

      A new addition following the weekend: WHITE LINES!!! Oh my god it’s so good but also not good. It’s basically a whodunnit set in Ibiza. Gorgeous scenery, brilliantly bizarre plot line, and several very hot men…

  32. I have been religiously (and secretly) watching Survivor for 20 years. I love the strategy, the window into human interaction, and even the deceit. My husband (who is not American and isn’t really aware of the sordid reputation of reality TV in American culture) will sometimes casually make a Survivor reference in conversation with friends, and I try to telepathically send him the hand-slicing-across-the-throat cut scene sign. He’s totally unaware of how embarrassed I am about our guilty pleasure!

    • Jane says...

      Watch Australian Survivor if you can , it’s great too

  33. Lisa says...

    My husband has a guilty tv pleasure, and it cracks me up. He’s someone who is very serious – only brilliant, intelligent films, thought provoking TV shows and the highest of high brow literature. He got this from his parents – he’s French, and every year my father in law attends Cannes and they were very strict about what tv and movies he could watch. He wasn’t allowed to watch blockbusters and his favourite film when he was a child was The Graduate. However, whenever we go back to France to visit his family he gets hooked on “Les Anges” which is a reality show about people from his home town (Marseille) with permatans, big nails and limited intelligence travelling all over the world. Like in one episode they were in LA learning to fulfill their dreams – one guy wanted to have his own food truck in LA. He couldn’t speak English or cook.

    For me, it’s Yummy Mummies. For those not in the know, it’s a “reality” show set in Australia, about super wealthy “yummy mummies”. It starts when they’re pregnant, with things like them picking out which Dior outfit their baby is going to wear home from the hospital. It’s compelling because you just know a baby doesn’t care about that, or the mothers regular manicure schedule. It’s amazing

    • Abby says...

      I’m DYING LAUGHING at “have his own food truck in LA. He couldn’t speak English or cook.”

  34. Kay says...

    It has to be Say Yes to the Dress. Actually we have several versions over here in England and my absolute favourite is Say Yes to the Dress Lancashire because the host is Gok Wan, the fashion consultant, and he is fabulous at choosing just the right dress. Also another British favourite along similar lines is Curvy Brides, a wedding show for larger ladies at a fabulous shop who can make everyone look good. My daughter and I used to binge watch these together until she left home.

  35. Hoiho says...

    I don’t know whether they are guilty pleasures, but I find myself watching the same shows again and again. I have New Girl, Offspring (an amazing Australian family-centred drama), Gavin and Stacey and Love Sick (the British comedy/drama) on heavy rotation. I feel like Normal People is likely to join the list. I echo the comments about The Terrace and have watched every episode of Queer Eye multiple times.

    • Tara says...

      Yes! New Girl! I’ve watched it so many times (started while recovering from a c-section and haven’t stopped) but see/hear something new with every re-watch.

    • Jane says...

      Love Offspring

  36. Joss says...

    I believe there’s a typo in the second last paragraph: ‘that it’, is possibly meant to be ‘that is’?

  37. Hilary says...

    Good girls on NBC! So good!

  38. i have recently been binging RHONY it is the best distraction!! Sounds like I should do marrying millions next!

  39. Sara says...

    The Challenge on MTV. SO GOOD

  40. Katy says...

    Oh my gosh. The entire 90 Day Fiance franchise is a real gem of a dumpster fire that I cannot look away from. Love After Lockup is another good one.

    • I LOVE love after lockup!!

    • Liz says...

      omg YES! 90 DAY! hahaha i especially love “The Other Way” and like to torture my husband (he’s Indian and I’m American and we’re currently living in Delhi) by yelling “is this US?!?!?!” at all the worst scenes. and I wonder why he won’t watch with me anymore…hahahahaha. alas we’re not nearly dramatic enough to make the show

    • This current season of Before the 90 Days is RIVETING. It’s my Monday morning treat – I pour my coffee and rage at Ash.

  41. Katherine says...

    Dance Academy. Imagine a show that is basically three seasons of Center Stage, but more dramatic and set in Australia. That is dance academy. There is also a movie, which I have watched more times than is acceptable for a 36 year old.

    • Hannah says...

      Yes!! I can’t believe someone else out there has seen this. And why did I not know there is a movie??

    • olivia says...

      omg I need to watch this. where do you stream it!

    • Katherine says...

      The movie and season 1 are on Netflix and seasons 2 and 3 are on YouTube. You need to watch the movie! It was everything I expected and more from a dance academy movie!

  42. Kay says...

    Desus and Mero on Showtime. They’re Bronx boys who do comedic commentary on politics, sports, entertainment etc. They are so vulgar and raw in the most hilarious way. I oove everything about them!

  43. Leslie says...

    I love Terrace House! My husband and I have been steadily working through all the seasons (currently on Boys & Girls in the City!). We drool through all their food shots and are completely enamored with each cast. Also, the commentators are hilarious.

    • OMG I’m a huge Terrace House fan as well!! I’ve watched enough that I find myself using Japanese expressions (ehhhhhh?) so I think that makes it educational TV? :)

  44. Katharine says...

    In terms of pleasures, I’ve swapped “guilty” for “secret” and it’s done me a world of good. Not every person in the world will get us, and privacy in enjoyment is okay. But let’s all revisit the perceived necessity for guilt to justify what we like (even and especially if we can’t explain why we like it!) And instead, revel in the secret society of the inevitabe dinner party compatriats who are like, “Ohmygod I’ve just finished watching that what are your THOUGHTS.”

    • Natalie says...

      Seconded, Katharine!

    • isabelle says...

      Agreed. Also important to note that it’s almost always women who have “guilty” pleasures, whether they are deemed that by the woman herself or by others.

  45. K says...

    hmm my guilty pleasures are those lifestyle fashion youtube skincare videos, which i love watching because they’re superficial and concrete. even though i won’t buy the clothes or products they’re selling, it’s soothing to hear someone wax poetic about it.

  46. Deana says...

    I also like Botched, even though I can’t watch the nose surgeries, and Catfish, even though the people being catfished should know better.

  47. Jessie says...

    Nailed it, Below deck and Southern charm.

    • Andrea says...

      Below Deck! Totally hooked! Maybe b/c we are sailors? The sailing yacht version MUCH preferred over the motor yacht in our house!

  48. Deana says...

    I love watching the Psych reruns.

  49. Lane says...

    Holey Moley is fantastic. My two boys LOVE it and we always crack up at the announcers.

  50. Meggles says...

    About to watch my current fave on Hulu, Married at First Sight.

    • Lynne says...

      I was so addicted! Binged a whole season!

  51. Sarz says...

    It wasn’t an *unexpected* pleasure, but I’ve got to recommend the intentionally-trashy joy that is Strangers With Candy. I’ve only tried to introduce it to a couple people, both of which pronounced it “too much”. But, hear me out, this was the pre-Covid era! As you suggest, Caroline, we need this wacky distractions now more than ever!

    To my knowledge, it’s not easy to track down, but if anyone manages to do so, I assure you that any Stephen Colbert/Amy Sedaris vehicle is always worth a watch.

    • CB says...

      Strangers With Candy is the best, whacky joy !

  52. D says...

    Mrs. America is awesome; Britain’s Best Home Cook is great and features the wonderful Mary Berry; really bad TV that’s like watching a car crash is Married At First Sight

  53. Amanda G says...

    True Crime Documentaries or Docuseries! Officially hooked from the middle of March and indulging during my sons naptime as much as possible. It’s such an out of character side of me that I realized(toddler mom and elementary school teacher) but I find it all fascinating! I’m even channeling my inner Kathleen Zellner(lawyer). My boss emailed me recently some absurd expectation for the end of the school year and I had this super emotionally driven response prepared to send back and then I stopped and said what would Kathleen do/say in this situation?? Lol

  54. It’s anything Disney Channel related, I LOVE Disney Channel Original Movies and I’ve been working my way through them on Disney Plus. Also Disney Channel shows in general love Good Luck Charlie, Jessie and Austin and Ally but also the older shows like Lizzie McGuire which I grew up watching and Suite Life of Zack and Cody etc.

    I also really enjoy watching the Canadian show The Next Step (it’s a mockumentary type show) and while the acting can be cringey in places the dancing is SO GOOD. I’ve actually seen them in concert twice with my younger sister who has Down Syndrome and is obsessed by them as well.

    • kath says...

      we’re on the same boat hahah. i recently watched a season of hannah montana, high school musical, and starstruck (it was bad). i don’t know why other than that i just like mindlessly watching them, i guess. also recently watched the barbie diaries.

  55. Ari says...

    Younger. Team Josh.

    • Elise says...

      Yes! I got into Younger as I was going through a divorce, and maybe that’s why it will always hold a special place in my heart. Team Josh 100%!

    • Sr says...

      TEAM JOSHHHHHH!

  56. Val says...

    Death in Paradise! Mainly because they’ve been shooting on my home island ( Guadeloupe) and I’m in my current home , like many, under ‘stay at home’ orders, thousands of miles away 😭. Daydreaming…

    • Emma says...

      Death in Paradise is the best! I love how it goes from a murder into the upbeat theme song. Even though there is sadness and death, there’s still a really optimistic thread throughout. And the gorgeous location doesn’t hurt, either.

  57. Tara says...

    Never will I Ever in Netflix. Written by Mindy Kaling about a HS girl of Indian descent and her funny struggles to find her way in life. Light, silly, and thoughtful. Such a nice escape for these times!

    • Jennie says...

      I was blown away! That show was perfect for these times and I loved the diverse cast of characters. Also, it was laugh-out-loud funny.

    • Katie says...

      Loved it! Such a breathe of fresh air!

  58. Laura says...

    Pretty Little Liars when it was on the air and Friends

  59. OFFSPRING 7 glorious seasons. Love the Proudman’s!

    • Jill says...

      Me too!!!

  60. Anna says...

    I’ve just finished all six seasons of Sex and the City. It was a wonderful dose of fun during this sometimes dreary time. I’m relieved to have finally finished so that I can resume life again, but it was so worth it!

  61. Alexa Raab says...

    Love is Blind was amazing. And my husband and I have started a Friday Night Covid-19 ritual that I think we both hope will spill over into the New Normal: we put the kids to bed, then convene on the couch and watch RHONY. Initially, I was a bit upset that he was watching “my show,” but now we really both look forward to it. Also, Total Bellas is a guilty pleasure.

    • Lynne says...

      Agree about Love is Blind!

  62. Jennie says...

    I have always been in the camp of “no reality tv shows” (save for the occasional home improvement or baking) and something happened recently. My baby sister, 11 years my junior, made me watch Love Island UK with her. And, wow. I am embarrassingly hooked. Like think-about-it-all-the-time, steal-away-any-free-moment-to-watch, HOOKED. It’s funny, clever, steamy, romantic, and doesn’t take itself too seriously! I am a convert. And it’s been so fun for my baby sister and me to have another show to bond over. If anything, watch it for the dearly departed Caroline Flack. She is spectacular.

  63. Emily says...

    I am usually into dark/sci-fi TV but with a young baby and a global pandemic, I cannot handle my usual faves the past few months. So instead my husband and I have watched Love is Blind, Too Hot to Handle and Married at First Sight. I am not normally a reality TV person at all, but it is just what I need right now and I am looking for our next show!

    • Amber says...

      Check out The Circle and Selling Sunset on Netflix!

  64. Sophia says...

    Caroline!! You thought Gentille and Brian’s relationship had validity???? No, no, no, no. Bill and Bri had the best relationship on that show imho. Lol. I’d love to have a discussion.

  65. Obsessed with Ozark….but I have a hard time getting to sleep after I watch it

    • Danielle says...

      Same. My strategy is one Ozark episode followed by a British gardening show. Then you just dream of Monty Don ;)

    • Katie says...

      Agree, always have to have a palette cleanser after Ozark.

  66. Sally says...

    For most of my life I’ve been staunchly anti-reality show, but 2016 was a shit show of a year and for whatever reason, I started watching Real Housewives of Beverly Hills and I was hooked. Since then I’ve also watched NY, Atlanta, OC, Dallas, and Potomac. I know there’s a lot of judgment around the Housewives, but, to me, not only is it pure escapism, I also genuinely enjoy watching the lives of these women. RHONY is consistently one of the funniest shows on television. Books could be written about the fashion in Beverly Hills. And nothing has ever been better than Karen Huger fixing her wig in a public park in Potomac.

    • Denise says...

      Yes, yes, yes!!!

  67. maywyn says...

    “Love Island.” I watched, I think, the 2nd season. The entire time running through my thoughts is why am I watching a show like this when I don’t like shows like this. I think watching the Bachelor set me up.

    • jacquie says...

      Love Island was pretty trashy and cringe in the earlier seasons… the amount of smoking, how quickly they’d have sex with each other, the aggressiveness and arguments… They’ve cleaned up a little bit (no more smoking, no overt mention of sex) and the latest seasons (since season 4, but especially 5 & 6) are much more wholesome, if you can imagine in a show where they all wear thong bikinis. Season 6 especially had a lot of cute friendships and bromances, and many of the couples are still together now!!

      (as you can see, Love Island is my show that I could talk about forever!!)

  68. Anna says...

    Easy: all reality shows! What is wrong with me! I love the Japanese reality show on Netflix called Terrace House, which is oddly soothing, and deeply engrossing. The same description could be said for Great British Baking Show, which I labored to because it is just so very calming. And then my two greatest TV loves: The Bachelor franchise, which I love to hate and hate to love, and then old seasons of Survivor, which is what is getting me through this odd stay at home lifestyle. Every night, after the kids are put to bed and our home is finally quiet, I curl up on the couch with my husband, and listen to Jeff Probst tell another person they’ve been voted out, because the tribe has spoken. It’s the little things, and I love looking forward to this nightly ritual.

  69. M says...

    I’m not sure if I should commit to the latest season of RHONY. Is it worth it without Bethenny? I’m so torn. Thoughts?

    • Hanna says...

      Do it! I love Bethenny but so far this season is great without her. RHONY always delivers.

    • Amanda G says...

      I’m having a hard time focusing on each episode! Idk maybe it’s not built up yet to the juicy episodes but kind of disappointed so far

    • Kim says...

      SO SAD Bethenny is gone, but Sonja will always bring me back.

  70. LISA says...

    LOVE ISLAND!!!!!!!

  71. Abigail says...

    The longer I’m staying at home, the less I’m able to focus on anything substantial. Early last week, I Googled “which seasons of Survivor are the best,” and have since watched two full seasons. I can walk away or zone out for a few minutes and not miss anything. I even look up the winner just as I’m starting a season, so I experience zero angst while watching.

  72. Jennifer Stewart says...

    We LOVE the Amazing Race. It has everything you want and there are teachable moments on how to be resilient during hard challenges and how to treat others. Our favorite team is Team Fun/Floyd and Becca, because they show how to find joy and be good sports even in tough times.

    • K says...

      Love the Amazing Race too. Team Fun is great, but my favorite team was “the Hippies.”

    • KC says...

      This is the only reality show my husband will watch! We love it.

  73. Daniela says...

    My husband and I always watch Impractical Jokers when we are at hotels. It is a disappointment when they don’t have that channel!

    We’ve also gotten into a few reality shows on Netflix from time to time.. We get weirdly into them!

  74. Stephanie says...

    “Workin Moms.” It’s so bad. But also REAL LIFE. I always leave the couch with mixed feelings, but, if I’m honest- regret at the show being over.

    • Agreed! I’m a 25 year old who doesn’t have kids but I can’t stop watching it! I binged the latest season in an afternoon and I’m hoping there’s another season.

    • celeste says...

      There’s just so much sex. And Alice is AWFUL. And I hate Jenny.

  75. Janet says...

    Formula 1: Drive to Survive! It is wildly off-brand for me (I’m into RHONY, The Bachelor, and Hallmark Movies) but Juliet Litman said it was good, and I trust her implicitly. My friend was visiting (back when friends visiting was still a thing, sigh), and we got hooked, binging both seasons in days. It’s an absolutely absurd sport and we’re frankly pretty appalled by the waste of both money and resources, but… the storytelling is good and the men are hot. So that was that!

    • Lia says...

      Omg I second this as an ardent environmentalist and total car racing skeptic. It got my husband obsessed with F1 (he ended up going to Austin for the race last year). We watched it avidly. This year because we had watched the F1 season there were fewer unexpected twists.

      And yeah…the men are hot and charming.

    • Meredith says...

      I started watching after Juliet Litman recommended it too! Incredible eye candy. Her recommendations are awesome but I still haven’t been able to get into the challenge (yet)

    • Anna says...

      Yes, same here! Juliet Litman suggested it on her podcast, and I was hooked immediately! And this is coming from someone with zero interest in race car driving, or F1, or any of that kind of stuff. I got so into the storylines of the race car drivers, and loved the voice of the race announcer!

  76. Vanessa says...

    this is embarrassing, but here goes: mine are 90 Day Fiance (Before the 90 Days), Below Deck, and The Masked Singer. Eeeee! My hair stylist loves the trashiest TV and it’s all we talk about when I get my hair done!!! it’s so much fun to hash it out with her while my color processes, haha

    • jacquie says...

      Love love love 90 Day and all the spin offs!! This season of “Before The 90 Days” is especially deranged and filled with delusional Americans. Can’t look away!!

  77. Emma says...

    Three Words: RuPaul’s Drag Race. I can say without any irony that it’s helping me get through Covid.

    • M says...

      For some reason, my brain was like… RuPaul’s Drag Race is four words, honey! I guess I need to go to bed.

  78. AmyJ says...

    Obsessed with the British show 100% Hotter on Netflix. The makeup artist is a freaking magician. I just love a good makeover shows. Can’t wait for the new season of Queer Eye.

    • Mims says...

      Same. I fast forward through alot of it though…I find the challenges to be an odd mix of pathos, fingers on chalkboard and tug at your heartstrings that is just not endurable. But the reveals are incredible. Disappointing that many do not stick though….

  79. Picto says...

    The only reality show I can watch is Great British Bake Off, but not-so-guilty watching is all the CW shows I have watched avidly. I’m pretty sure I am about 30 years past the target audience but I love monsters and superhereos. Supernatural, iZombie, The 100, Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl – I have binged gazillions of hours of The CW.

    • Hilary says...

      I am obsessed with old CW shows, too! Dawson’s Creek, Gilmore Girls, Hart of Dixie, Jane the Virgin…I LOVE IT ALL. And I have zero shame about it. I will talk about Bluebell, AL or debate Rafael vs. Michael all day long with anyone who will listen.

      And yes, I AM the CEO of a consulting firm. I say that only to normalize. The CW has something for all of us, even if some of us were last in the target audience in 1998.

    • Laura says...

      Same! Love the CW. I have watched Hart of Dixie so many times. It is so happy and hopeful. It’s gotten me through some stressful times!

  80. Erin says...

    “You” (Netflix) is my latest binge watch, it’s so good!

  81. Jenny says...

    I love TV. I watch all of it- and I’ve had the same TV since 2006! I think I’m tired of ‘prestige TV’. They’re all similar anyway – A bit dark, carefully curated music, and a female character that acts “like a man”. My favorite rewatch is Scrubs (so underrated!), favorite reality is Summer House, and favorite competition is Top Chef Junior.

    • Allie says...

      Hey friend! I don’t think sneering at a female character who “acts like a man” vibes with the spirit of the CoJ community. This is problematic on several levels, and not the space we come here for.

  82. celeste says...

    Intrigued by the job interview point. Don’t like getting personal that early! I prefer “what do you do for fun?”

    My son and I are bonding over “Ellen’s Game of Games” and ” The Masked Singer”.

  83. Kim says...

    Terrace House! It’s a Japanese version of Real World, recommended by Dan Levy (also, Schitt’s Creek is THE BEST SHOW EVER…). Listening to lovely young people speaking Japanese and learning about their culture has been so soothing for some reason.

  84. Kayla says...

    impractical jokers! it is SO dumb but my husband & i end up laughing so hard. also, love is blind. what a train wreck.

    • Sarah says...

      Impractical Jokers makes me LOL every single time. I love it!

  85. Bernadette says...

    Shitt$ Creek !!!!!!! My husband and I were searching for a good comedy to lift our spirits… watching Moira Rose scream in terror about her wigs (or anything for that matter.. ) has kept us in stiches! Its light easy and fun. We LOVE it !

    • Lynne says...

      It’s awesome! We love David!

  86. R says...

    You will 110% enjoy Naked and Afraid on Hulu. It is exactly what it sounds like.

  87. Kimmie says...

    I have adored Flirty Dancing, but I have never met anyone who has ever watched it! Every episode, I grin so hard through it that my cheeks hurt. It’s endearingly cheesy, and it feels like everyone really puts their heart on line. I’m amazed by how sincere the chemistry can seem between some couples, love that the producers don’t drum up any drama and like to watch normal people who may or may not have dancing skills, learn a dance! It’s so easy to imagine myself in their shoes, which I have never felt before whilst watching dating/reality tv. Has anyone else watched this show!? I would love to have a pal to discuss the show with!

    • M says...

      Omg that sounds sooo fun. Thanks for putting it on my radar!

    • Sobhan says...

      It’s sooo good. I first watched it on maternity leave and roped my boyfriend in. We love the whole thing – seeing them learn, the nerves, working out if they liked each other. It’s such a weird premise but somehow it’s delightful!

  88. Julie says...

    My guilty pleasure is the Twilight movieeeessss. No regrets.

  89. Alexandra says...

    We have often found on holiday the only channel with programmes we understand is Food Network and end up watching late at night, it’s kind of become a bit of a tradition! We enjoy watching their really trash shows like Mystery Diners, Restaurant Impossible,and Diners, Drive Ins and Dives! There’s also the lady who cooks on the ranch and cooks with the most butter I’ve ever seen. I can’t stand her but still can’t quite seem to switch her off!

    • martini says...

      You’re probably thinking of “Pioneer Woman” and I agree about the butter ….and the salt and the sugar. Rhee Drummond, the Paula Dean of The West.

      Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives
      CNN
      MSNBC
      Brit Box
      Gilmore Girls

  90. Jen says...

    I watch lots of TV that some may consider trashy tv/a guilty pleasure (e.g. RHONY, Below Deck, 90 day fiance ) – but I find a LOT of people watch those.

    So my TRUE guilty pleasure (i.e. I would never recommend to someone to watch bc it’s really NOT even that good / has nothing that should be of interest to me but I can’t help but watch it)….SISTER WIVES. I don’t even like half the people/storyline on the show.

    • Cait says...

      SAME. I can’t quit it. We switched DVRs and I didn’t realize the season was airing this winter/spring until the end… and I watched the whole thing on demand. With commercials.

  91. Meg says...

    Hoarders…. and this new episode on Netflix is NEXT LEVEL….. my boys can tell when I’ve been watching…. probably not the best for these times… I’m running out of things to purge & organize….

  92. Janet says...

    This is so much fun! After reading your post, I don’t feel guilty anymore.
    I have watched every episode of “The Real Housewives of New York City”.
    I am so excited, a new episode is on tonight.
    Thanks for sharing.
    Happy Watching!

  93. Bernadette Renois says...

    My husband and I are giddy every time we get to cuddle on the couch and watch Below Deck Sailing Yacht. I usually can’t stand bad reality TV but this one does it for me.

    • Lenny says...

      Apparently quarantine turned me into a fan of dating shows, well here we go: Love is Blind, Back with the Ex, Too Hot to Handle, Married at First Sight, another great Japanese show: The Love Wagon and an amazing Indian show What the Love!
      Phew. Also, Selling Sunset is a great binge.
      Not embarrassed at all. Not at all.

  94. I am in mourning this week. My favorite, binge worthy, “bad quarantine show” has been Royal Pains, the delightful show about Hank Med, the concierge doctor in the Hamptons. I can’t tell you why, but at the close of each Shelter In Place day, it relaxed me. Hank always made me feel better! I plowed through six seasons and suddenly, on May 18, it was taken off Netflix! The horror! I might have to actually purchase seasons 7 and 8 to find out what happens to Divya and her baby? Do Paige and Evan get pregnant? Why does Boris have a secret room in his castle basement? and will Hank ever find true love?

  95. Michelle says...

    Call The Midwife

    • Es says...

      Call The Midwife is the best ♡
      Does it always make you cry like a baby, too? I have a giant handkerchief that I got especially for the series.

    • Michelle says...

      Yes. I have cried at almost every episode save one or two.

    • silly lily says...

      My husband and I have watched every single episode of “Call the Midwife” as it was shown on PBS. Just this week I started re-watching it on Netflix, starting with season 1, episode 1, and so now NOTHING is getting done in the house.

      Chummy is the absolute BEST person in the world and I want to live next door to her. And (spoiler alert here) I actually mourned when Barbara died. I can drop F-bombs with the best of them, but when I watch CTM I long for the days when the word “ladylike” did not draw snickers. And so it inspires me to aim a little higher.

      I highly recommend!

    • Susan says...

      I just hear the music and I cry. What a beautiful show. I’m afraid every year that they will cancel it.

    • sily lily says...

      Susan, good news, it’s been picked up for at least two more seasons. Cheers!

  96. Ceridwen says...

    I loved be the British Escape to the Countryside. They always seem underwhelmed and hardly ever buy a house. It always seems about 5 years old and I love that each episode takes ages and is the exact same structure. So relaxing.

    We also love to watch Masterchef Australia as a family. My parents watch it too and since being in iso, isolation, we all text commentary to each other while watching. My kids and parents love that connection with each other. Its such a positive show too. My parents are learning about the hilarity of the perfectly timed GIF from my kids. My mum has cancer and not a lot of time left we found this week…this has been the most delightful, normal way to connect. It’s been the best part of my day. I’ll never forget it.

    • Aj says...

      Sorry to hear about your Mum. Any connection, even over GIFs, is a treasure.

    • Yes to Escape To The Countryside, it has it all! Gorgeous homes, breathtaking landscapes, area history… I salivate over one single episode every afternoon.

    • Susannah says...

      I was going to say Escape to the Country too! I never watched before isolation and now the sound of that theme song will be the sound of covid time to me. I love the formulaic pattern, the laid back hosts, the pretty cottages and the ZERO pressure. Hardly anyone actually goes through with a purchase so there’s no tension whatsoever. Glad to bond with you over ETTC :)

    • Cait says...

      I’m so sorry about your mom :(. I love Escape to the Countryside, and a very similar House Hunters-ish New Zealand show, Slice of Paradise on Netflix.

    • I am sorry about your mum. I also love Escape to the Country. As an American, I think it’s funny how polite and unassuming most of the buyers are-everything is “lovely” – even when it needs major work! No yammering on about how there’s no this or that, no manufactured drama, and most times they don’t even pick one of the houses! Now, that’s reality. :) I also love the detours into locals things like morris dancing, bee keeping, meadmaking-it’s like slow TV, very soothing and diverting.

      The other end of the spectrum is Million Dollar Listing LA. I don’t like NYC because I live in the tri-state area and it’s not escapist enough for me. But LA is awesome and funny and feels like an escape into a different world.

      My other cooking show is Chopped, which I can watch for hours. I love Ted so much. He sounds so sincere when he chops people. It would be my dream to on Chopped.

    • India says...

      All the very best to your family

      Love Australian MasterChef, great cooking and so positive. If you like Escape to The Countryside you might also like Escape to The Chateau. A British couple buy and renovate the most amazing chateau in France, they are fun characters and the house is amazing.

  97. Theresa says...

    My sister and I have obsessively watched Sister Wives since it first aired over a decade ago. We always joke we could write a dissertation on their lives and relationships.
    But also a huge fan of RHONY, especially some of the older seasons

  98. katie says...

    I enjoy Say Yes to the Dress and ages ago, America’s Next Top Model, up until Season 9 I think.

    More than guilty pleasure TV, I have a guilty pleasure movie genre, and that’s teen romantic comedies. Think Princess Diaries and Princess Diaries 2, anything Amanda Bynes, Easy A, Clueless, John Tuck Must Die, 10 Things I Hate About You, Step Up 2 the Streets, etc. Many of these, I should be too old to watch but I CANNOT STOP MYSELF.

    • Christina says...

      Step Up 2 The Streets was irrefutably the best movie of 2008!!!! Here for this!
      (I rewatched John Tucker Must Die recently and was saddened that part of her “makeover” was straightening those gorgeous curls.)

    • Amy says...

      I have tried rewatching some of those and couldn’t enjoy them as much the second time, but Easy A holds up!

  99. Leah says...

    Oh. My god. I love American Ninja Warrior. I picked it on Hulu years ago half as a joke, thinking it would be hilarious and hokey like American Gladiators, and instead became totally hooked. I adore its earnestness and the athletes are unbelievable. And yes, I totally cried at the end of last season. <3

  100. Margaret says...

    God I love RHONY right now. Those ladies bring the DRAMA I need to get through these monotonous weeks.

    We just started watching Hyori’s Bed and Breakfast on Netflix and I love it so much. It’s like Terrace House (iykyk) but somehow with even less conflict? And the couple hosting it just seem like they have a really healthy, loving, supportive relationship, which is unfortunately sometimes hard to find in mainstream media. (Also on that note, my fiancee has been binging CW’s The Flash, and the couple episodes I’ve watched with her also depict a really wonderful relationship between the Flash and his love interest. Maybe not what you’d expect from a superhero franchise!)

  101. Danna says...

    The Casketeers on Netflix. It’s about a family of undertakers in New Zealand. The owner is lovely but so so finicky and persnickety, and his long suffering wife and employees either eye roll at him or at turns gently smack him down. But. The care and respect they all show for the deceased and their families in their time of grief is truly heartwarming. I’ve teared up more than once while watching.

    • amy says...

      SAME! I watched it on a whim and fell in love with the quirkiness. I ended up doing a lot of wikipedia-ing the Maori customs. You explained the show beautifully!

    • Katie says...

      Thank you so much for this rec!! Started watching it last night. I always love finding ways to connect to New Zealand after living there for a few years. And I’m learning so much more about the Maori, it’s been comforting to watch during these crazy times.

  102. DeeDee says...

    I have been watching Real Housewives and New York City for years. When people find that out they can’t believe it. I used to watch all of the Real Housewives but that was when I had cable. Now just the NYC. It is so far away from my life, I guess that’s why I love it so much!

  103. Lauren says...

    LOVE ISLAND. Nothing ever happens – each season is a million episodes long where literally NOTHING happens – but it feels like comfort food to watch.

    • Janet says...

      Gahhh, I LOVE Love Island. I am so sad we won’t be getting one this year. I just watched the second Australian season… but the UK series is so much better.

  104. Meghan says...

    I don’t watch the Batchelor– but I love listening to the feminist slanted recap episodes from the HuffPost podcast, “Here to Make Friends”. I don’t think I’ve ever told anyone before because I feel so weird not watching the show but listening to the podcast! Ha!

    Plus, I love Survivor!

    • Margaret says...

      I’m here to validate listening to the podcast without watching the show! I listened to a (now sadly defunct) podcast called Rose Buddies for several seasons before I started actually watching the Bachelor. (And I found the latest season of Bachelor so unbearable that I reverted to only listening to HTMF and not watching the episodes haha.)

    • Meghan says...

      Oh my gosh I had to comment because 1) hi Meghan!! 2) my Bachelor habit was rekindled by HTMF haha.

  105. Jen says...

    The English Game. All the beautiful people more than make up for the occasional cheese.

    • Heather says...

      Yes this was so good! We finished it quickly.

  106. By default now I suffer through Coronation Street.
    Himself loves it. British soap that has been on the telly in like forever and it is the most drepressing show that was ever put breath into, like slit wrist depressing even the intro music makes me depressed. British game shows has been another I have had to suffer through too..
    Whaddya gonna do.

    • Julia says...

      Hahaha Coro! This was on 3 times a week when I was growing up in New Zealand and always about 6 months behind what was happening in the UK… my parents watched it all and would tape it on the VCR and catch up in the weekends if they missed it. They still kind of watch it but as soon as they got Netflix I think they realised there was a lot more better tv to watch. I’ll never forget Sarah-Louise’s teen pregnancy scandal!

    • Agnes says...

      Oh. My. I remember the first time I watched Eastenders with my British then-boyfriend. I laughed so much because I thought they were being sarcastic. Nope. It was THAT depressing for real, and they were being serious. Hahaha

  107. R says...

    90 Day Fiance. Love after Lockup = next level.

  108. Lucia says...

    My husband and I have been watching American Gladiators as “our last thing we watch before we go to bed” show. On Pluto tv they have American Gladiators on 24/7 so you never know what decade you’re going to get. I love the 80’s version the best because it’s so low tech, somehow watching adults shoot each other with tennis balls and hit each other with giant foam q-tips is very soothing.

  109. caitlin says...

    anyone watch normal people? i have a total obsession!

    • Leigh Gratz says...

      yes! watched it all in about 2 days – so good. i need more!

    • Megan says...

      Yes can’t stop watching!

    • YES. Twice. I’m obsessed.

    • Dana says...

      CRIED so hard. I thought it was beautiful.

    • jennie Price says...

      Read the book and watched the show within 3 days. I can’t stop telling people about it. THE most beautiful story and the show was a brilliant representation of the book. We need a part two!

    • GA says...

      Loved it so much! The chemistry between the two leads is intense.

    • Jen says...

      I’m halfway through and I can’t stop thinking about it. All I want to do is watch it!

    • caitlin says...

      thank you, all! i feel so seen! fingers crossed for a second season!!

    • sally says...

      Have watched it an embarrassing 5x through and then gobbled both the book and Conversations with Friends, each read entirely in one day. Normal People the show is a true piece of art. I’m shocked it hasn’t been mentioned on this blog yet since shit is deep.

    • caitlin says...

      sally, i totally agree!! joanna + caroline, I think you would love it!

  110. Agnes says...

    OK, so I don’t have a TV either but I love reality TV so much that I subscribed to Hayu (Canada) to watch on an app (ipad and phone). But Caroline, the new RHONY made me unsubscribe!! I can’t handle Dorinda!!! I am sad because I miss the show but honestly it hurt to watch her bullying Tinsley. I am on the hunt for new stuff and I think I’ll try the Circle next. I watched the WHOLE of Southern Charm, all the seasons. On and off with KUWTK, a little boring this season. And RHOBH, I feel like they are all there for work reasons, not because they’re friends. I feel like with RHONY they are actual friends. OK I’m going back to work now haha I love this topic hahaha

  111. Kathryn says...

    I don’t end up watching a lot of reality TV, but I love reading the bachelor recaps. It is my favorite Tuesday morning pastime! I also love the Amazing Race.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      omg, yes, the New York magazine recaps are hilarious.

    • Sarah says...

      Amazing Race is so fun! Excited that a new season started last night. But all of the old seasons are exciting, too, and on Hulu!

    • Jo says...

      +1 for The Amazing Race, and that shit is BOTTOMLESS. 31 seasons and counting! I love that it adds the teeniest tiniest glimmer of culture in that sometimes you see a location that you’d actually like to visit, but really it’s just a delightful brain vacation that manages to make high drama out of footage of plane tickets being printed.

  112. Ann says...

    Gogglebox UK soooo funny, bold and entertaining..I looove Natty and Giles..dry witted couple….Love the Indian family too. Love em all actually

    Supervet aka Noel Fitzpatrick) = Great tv..he is amazing and my tough ironworker husband blubber up almost every time we watch be it either a good or bad outcome…the outcomes are mostly good I have to say and we love the animals’ Mammies and Daddies and the staff at Noel’s practice in England. Sooo entertaining

  113. Natalie Rose says...

    Love Island! I instantly bond with anyone else who loves this British reality tv show. I was discussing the show with a girlfriend at a bar a few years ago when the stranger next to us turned and instantly joined our deep dive into the show. It was a hilarious way to bond with a stranger and I loved it!

    • Tara says...

      YES. I have spent the quarantine periodically googling what Siannise and Luke T are up to.

    • Lisa says...

      My all time favorite! “Conough” with a G, Connor “OG” !

    • jacquie says...

      JUSTICE 4 CONNOUGH, voted off way too early! Rebecca did him dirty!!

      Also obsessed w/ Siannice and Luke T! They are so sweet. I also love Siannice’s style and even bought a dress from I Saw It First that she wore on the show!

  114. Colleen S says...

    I love true crime shows. I watched all nine seasons of Homicide Hunter, American Monster, and American Nightmare on Investigation Discovery. My other guilty pleasure is World War II documentaries, and I don’t know why I like them so much.

    • Amy says...

      Check out “Cold Justice” – the team is lead by two smart and badass women who live for the truth. They investigate cold cases in small/poor communities that do not have the resources to solve difficult cases.

    • Colleen S says...

      I will check that out.

  115. kristy says...

    90 Day Fiance! Truly one of the best shows. Each season gets better. The current season (4) of 90 Day Fiance: Before the 90 Days with Big Ed has to be my favorite season ever.

  116. Deb in Oklahoma says...

    Big Brother. Every summer, no matter what. I can’t help it. I like the challenges. And some of the crazy.

    • Liz says...

      Yes yes! I’ve been obsessed with Big Brother for almost 15 seasons! I can’t recommend it enough. Its authentically reality tv. They have zero contact with anyone outside the house! Plus it airs 3 times a week, so you can really get into a season.

    • Erin says...

      Big Brother is also my favorite. I got my husband into it about seven years ago – and this is a man who NEVER watches reality TV – and it’s our thing now. We usually have to watch it a day after it airs due to, you know, kids and their bedtimes, but I love nothing more than sitting down with a gin and tonic and tuning into Big Brother.

  117. Grace G. McNicholas says...

    Kids Baking Championship, period.

  118. A says...

    My husband and I recently went down the deepest Love Island UK rabbit hole. We researched which seasons were the best (in this order: 2, 3, 5), and got so engrossed. And these aren’t quick 20 episode seasons… they have like, 68 episodes/season! We’ve turned several friends on to the series. Aside from that, my favorite guilty pleasure show is Pretty Little Liars. It’s so outlandish and silly (and, I’m 35), but I love watching it, love the characters, love the ever-changing mystery.

    • A says...

      I should also add a trigger warning (suicide): after the first season of Love Island UK we watched (season 2), we frantically hopped online to find out where the cast members are now, and learned that one of the islanders had since died by suicide, as well as a season 3 cast member, and recently, the original host Carolyn Flack. There’s been a lot of discussion about whether or not the show contributed to the mental health challenges these people faced, and it leaves me with really conflicted feelings about the show (and, reality tv in general, for that matter).

    • Emma says...

      I’ve started noticing with newer reality tv shows that they often list on-site therapists in the credits, which is encouraging! It seems like some of these production companies have realized just how much of a toll participating in these shows can have on a contestant. Although, the therapy is probably equally, if not more, crucial to them after the show airs and they get flooded with fans and hate alike.

  119. Michelle says...

    Give me some over the top soapy TV – like Dynasty – and I’m in.

  120. I love the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise. I love watching it with colleagues — it gives us something relatively neutral to talk about and bond over. Trash tv forever!

  121. I will never tell says...

    The Challenge on MTV fka Real World/Road Rules Challenge. I’ve been watching it since 2002 and even back then I was older than their average view I’m sure. Now I am 50 and it is the one reality show I watch regularly usually when it airs. I rarely admit this to anyone and I may or may not have made my boyfriend a fan as well. A friend who knows I still watch this joked that some day my grandchildren will ask “what is grandma watching?”

    • Christa says...

      I love, love, love this show.

    • Also embarrassed to admit my passion for The Challenge says...

      Yeessssss — I also love the Challenge, though not so much over the past 3 or so years. I’ll still watch, of course….but when I can find old seasons in the cobwebby parts of the internet…wow, I love it!

    • Jen Johnson says...

      I am with you!! I’ve watched those shows for over 20 years (I didn’t realize until now that it’s been that long and probably don’t want to know or admit how many hours of my life that equates to.) ..but I’m in my thirties and I grew up alongside long standing cast members – Anessa, CT, Wes, Johnny Bananas.

    • a.n. says...

      my husband and i have been together for 12 years, and have watched The Challenge together ever since!! we are both very active people who love working out and are competitive (in a fun, non assholey way), so we have so much fun watching the competitions and deciding which one of us would win, etc :)

  122. Libby says...

    A binge of crap reality shows shifted my Netflix algorithm into recommending Australian reality tv. I have no idea how it happened and I’m not questioning it.

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      hahahaha

    • Starlene says...

      Not reality tv but, speaking of Australia, have you seen Rosehaven? It’s hilarious!

    • KL says...

      Omg, Yummy Mummies (kind of like an Australian Real Housewives) on Netflix was a fantastic binge!

    • Abby says...

      Ooh, I’ve only watched one — Instant Hotel, but it was so fun!

  123. Allegra LaViola says...

    Southern Charm! I can’t resist the crazy.

    90 second fiance is pretty great, too.

  124. alison says...

    Married at First Sight all the waaaaay! (And 90 Day Fiancee in all its forms.)

  125. Elizabeth says...

    Tiger King!

    • lynn mckoy says...

      Yes!!!! “All you cool cats and kittens…”

  126. Sophie says...

    Married At First Sight!

    Where do they find these people??!

    • alison says...

      I need an outlet to talk about this show because turns out my partner is NOT interested! LOLOL.

    • Sarah says...

      Love/hate that show, as well. There’s a very active subreddit devoted to MAFS, Alison, that’s pretty entertaining.

  127. Emma says...

    The Circle (the American season, anyway) is so absurdly good. I went into it expecting delightful garbage drama, but it actually ended up being so sweet and wholesome, full of love and goodness and friendship. :)

  128. Lisa says...

    I have been binging Survivor and it’s all I want right now.

    • Erica says...

      obsessed with survivor!

  129. Sophie says...

    I am new to Bravo reality shows and watching Vanderpump Rules has been a quarantine highlight for me! I’m 28 and recently went through a lot of devastating growing pains with a group of close friends I’ve known since middle school. Watching the toxic friendship dynamics on the show play out through the cast’s 20s (and 30s) with my newfound perspective has been SO validating and unexpectedly therapeutic.

    • Cari says...

      Yes!! I love some Real Housewives, but Vanderpump Rules is the ultimate in
      bad reality show binge relaxing! My husband is completely confused as to why I would spend any time watching this, but it’s kind of like unplugging your brain for awhile? Sometimes you just need it.

  130. Rebecca says...

    Since the Stay at Home Order began my partner commented on how funny it was that I had started watching “trashy reality tv shows” as a stress relief. Shifty eyes… I admitted that I had been watching them since we first started dating six years ago! It is probably the only secret I had kept from him all this time!

    Married at First Sight, Queer Eye, 90-Day Fiance, RHONY, Australia’s Cheapest Weddings, Yummy Mummies, Teen Mom, Next in Fashion, Love is Blind… all so wonderful!

  131. Willow says...

    I Found the Gown or Say Yes to the Dress. Just love them-perfect light-hearted escapism. Also felt entirely vindicated when Michelle Obama said in ‘Becoming’ that they’re her guilty viewing pleasure too. Could there be any higher seal of approval?!

    • Joanna Goddard says...

      I love her :) :) :)

    • Calla says...

      Yes! I had completely forgotten about Say Yes to the Dress, but I remember really enjoying it!

  132. Elly says...

    This is fantastic and I could not relate more.

  133. liz says...

    I used to love Keeping up with the Kardashians and I really cannot tell you why. lol. Only stopped watching because I stopped having cable

    • LK says...

      Big KUWTK fan here!

  134. Jessica says...

    I really like We’re Here, streaming on HBO. It is a crossover between Queer Eye format and RuPaul’s Drag Race. Three famous former Drag Race contestants (Shangela, Eureka and Bob!!) go to small towns and do drag makeovers and host a drag show. It is fun and heartfelt.

    • Calla says...

      Yeah I’ve been really enjoying this one too! I feel like it lacks some of the depth of what made Queer Eye so good, I suspect this is because they have to bounce around between three people instead of focusing on one. But I have been so impressed by how fearless the queens are. The towns they are going into can be genuinely hostile and I appreciate that they don’t try to sanitize that aspect.

    • Dana says...

      We’re here is so special and inspiring!!!

  135. Catherine says...

    I used to love America’s Next Top Model. Recently, I started watching Hoarders. It’s so sad and so good.

  136. Becky says...

    I can not tolerate grown adults behaving badly HOWEVER I love RHOBH. The women are so far removed from reality its entertaining.

  137. Nathalie says...

    Rich House, Poor House . . . a British show where families of vastly different incomes swap houses and budgets for a week. It’s nicer than you’d expect from a reality show – no over the top fights and yelling.

    • Heather says...

      This sounds really interesting – is it heartfelt and done well or is there lots of drama?

    • Nathalie says...

      No drama – the tag line is something like “does money really buy happiness?” and the take away is that money makes life easier but happiness can’t be bought. Generally the families are quite nice.

  138. Olivia says...

    Hart of Dixie

    • Clare says...

      !!! I’ve never ever run across anyone else who watches this! I found it randomly on Netflix and fell in love instantly but haven’t been able to convince anyone else. I think it’s so comforting partly because it reminds me of watching Rachel Bilson on the OC in high school :)

    • MH says...

      I started watching this on a flight and came home and immediately had to binge the rest. I didn’t even bat an eye at the musical finale!!

    • Starlene says...

      I loved this show. I miss it…

    • Ellen says...

      Yes! This was my mat. leave show and it will always have a special place in my heart and a result.

    • Abby says...

      THE BEST. And as someone who hasn’t traveled the American South much, it gave me by far the most positive image I’d ever had of Alabama.

  139. Kimmie says...

    The Bachelor/Bachelorette. I was sooo against this show and judged ANYONE who watched it (sadly, even Cup of Jo LOL). My brother in law got my sister into it and told me I really needed to give a chance. So I started on Colton’s season, and judged every single second of the first episode…and kept watching…and watching…and what a season to start with since it was the season of the infamous Fence Jump! Now – I LOVE this stupid show. I recap it on my IG stories, watch many recaps and listen to podcasts about the show, and devestated that the show had to postpone filming this year because of COVID. NEVER thought I would be this person yet here we are hahah.

    • ally says...

      same!! I judged by best friend so hard for watching it all through high school, then finally saw JoJo’s season of the Bachelorette and never turned back. I vowed to never watch again after Arie but obviously continued tuning in (lol, who was I kidding??)

  140. Sarah says...

    Love this – my husband and I always discover these types of shows when we are staying in hotels, so much so that before we take a trip, we will sometimes say, “I wonder what crazy shows we’re going to discover on this trip!”

    Currently watching 90-Day Fiance, a perfect follow-up to Marrying Millions, which we also binged.

  141. Olivia K says...

    RHOBH, it’s ridiculous but I love every bit.

  142. Su says...

    Queer Eye. I never do make over shows, but my goodness. Obsessed!

    • Sadie says...

      Yes! And Making It! Happy, nice reality tv :)

    • liz says...

      lol queer eye is more than just a makeover show. It is everything.

  143. AP says...

    Ooooh I’m a sucker for RuPaul’s Drag Race (All Stars, regular season, untucked!) and Too Hot to Handle on Netflix..oh and the Circle! I’m also team RHONY, RHOBH, RHOP aaaaand Vanderpump Rules. Trash on trash on trash

  144. Chiara says...

    The new She-Ra on Netflix is just wonderful. Is it a cartoon for children? Yes. Is it also an incredibly compelling, moving, funny, and artistically gorgeous story about friendship, love, and overthrowing oppression? Yes. Is it the kind of positive, engaging, LGBTQ+-inclusive content I wish I’d had access to as a kid? 100%. If you’re looking for a comforting show to watch as an adult in quarantine OR need a new show to watch with your kids that will also be entertaining for you, I highly recommend it! The final season was just released on Netflix and it’s phenomenal.

  145. Lauren says...

    I can’t get enough of the 90 Day Fiance franchise. All of the spin offs… all of it. Just can’t get enough.

  146. Mel says...

    90 Day Fiance. The. BEST.

    • Lauren says...

      Yep! came here to say this!

    • Sarah says...

      Just commented the same thing! We are watching Season 5 (our first), but haven’t seen any other seasons or any spin-offs. Any recommendations?

    • Ramya says...

      “Coltee” and Larissa! With mama Debbie and Cookie Dough the cat. What a hot mess!

  147. Haley Ann Anderson says...

    Vanderpump Rules. I just can’t stop. I think it makes me feel nostalgic for my serving days. At this point, the cast members feel like (often toxic) old friends.

    • Kaysie says...

      This!!!

      I kid you not, I’m currently wearing a sweatshirt that a fellow diehard VR fan made for me. It says “Mood: Season 1 Stassi” hahaha

  148. Emily says...

    LOVE IS BLIND

    • Meg says...

      Yes, Love is Blind. Hours of cringing and yelling, “Yes! No! What?! Is this real?! Why?! No!” It was so uncomfortable and yet satisfying.

  149. cee says...

    Outer Banks. I was HOOKED from the start. My family dragged me for all of its “unrealistic storylines”, but I loved it!

    • Emily says...

      i LOVED this show. I finished a couple days ago and still find myself thinking about the characters?

    • A says...

      Same. It was so bad but soooo good.

    • Meg says...

      It was the most unbelievable show, but I also loved it and wish there were more episodes now.

    • Gina says...

      Agreed! Loved Outer Banks! My husband thought I was nuts but exactly what I wanted to be watching during Shelter in Place! Can’t wait for Season 2.

  150. Joanna Goddard says...

    The bachelor! I can’t quit it!