Crap television has a value of its own

By  EMELINE ARMITAGE

As college students we have a moral obligation to our education to constantly expand our intellectual horizons and enrich our minds with the academic splendor that envelops us. Pre-med students, dive into Kafka and Austen and Tolstoy in your few fleeting moments of rest; fellow humanities majors, explore the wonders of physics and engage in the fascinating biology of the mitochondria, the elusive “powerhouse of the cell.” Come with me as we traverse the paths of knowledge, walking on our educational journey past the bubbling brooks of biochemistry and through the formidable forests of fine arts.

Every second of our time here is precious and we mustn’t stray from the righteous path of collegiate immersion.

Lol jk I’m too tired for all that.

Look, I’m tired. You’re tired. The whole world is tired. I don’t care about mitochondria (the only thing I remember from high school biology) and you don’t care about Spanish literature. The planet turns on. Yes, we should stimulate our intellectual curiosity with different things and expand our horizons and this and that and the other thing, but also we all need to give our brains a break.

Some people watch football; some smoke cigarettes; some probably knit wool beanies for premature baby sloths. I watch reality television. After a long day of analyzing and discussing and writing and participating and note-taking and reading, all I want to do is melt into my couch, stuff some Fritos into my mouth and watch The Real Housewives of New Jersey shout “prostitution whore” into one another’s faces and flip a dinner table (look up the video, you won’t regret it).

I’m currently re-watching the sixth season of America’s Next Top Model. Before that it was Rock of Love seasons 1-3. All of my problems disappear when I see wannabe models desperately try to ‘smize’ (that is, smile with their eyes) or Bret Michaels go on a date with a woman name Rodeo. The oft-derided cesspool of television is my solace.

Blame my father for my love of reality television. I remember watching TV with him as he ate his dinner and flipped between Deadliest Catch and the decidedly less masculine Real Housewives franchises. Or blame my mother. I remember being sick in fourth grade and lying on the bed watching The Millionaire Matchmaker while she instructed me not to tell anyone in school that her mother allows her to watch it with her.

Or I could blame myself. Whenever I was at my grandmother’s house and the house got too loud and my relatives too overbearing, I would sneak off to my aunt’s bedroom and watch re-runs of Flavor of Love, Rock of Love and Daisy of Love. In high school my friends and I all watched Love and Hip Hop Atlanta and I loved nothing more than to discuss Joseline “the Puerto Rican Princess” Hernandez’s relationship with Stevie J. My younger sisters and I bond over scandalous episodes of Catfish. I am not ashamed, no. I am unabashedly upfront that I may have never seen Game of Thrones or The Walking Dead, but I sure as hell have seen every single episode of Top Chef.

I would love to say that I spend every evening reading Dostoyevsky’s works, but as much as I love Crime and Punishment, I don’t and neither do you. We all deserve a break. We all have our reality television. Yours might be more or less embarrassing than mine, but it exists.

Own it. Love it. Claim it.

Emeline Armitage is a sophomore International Studies major from Cleveland.

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