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Friday, May 2, 2008

Guilty Pleasures

Everyone has a guilty pleasure, whether we admit it or not. It could be something small, maybe a TV show that all of your friends think is the dumbest program ever but you can't fathom missing an episode. Typically, a guilty pleasure is anything that you know you shouldn't enjoy either because of what's considered "right" or because it's out of your normal preference. However, what if you don't really feel guilty about what it is you enjoy? Should you feel guilty just because others may question just how reasonable it may be?

I bring this up because I saw the cast of Sex and the City on Oprah yesterday and there were several men in the crowd. I'm betting that none of those guys would openly admit to watching, or even loving, the show when they're huddled around a big screen on Super Bowl Sunday. For me, any of the "elimination" type shows could be considered guilty pleasures but I still watch them, and I love watching them. A show like "Hell's Kitchen" appeals to the closet aspiring chef in me and "America's Next Top Model" is fun to watch so you can see the claws come out. Another favorite in the elimination genre is "Project Runway" although the last season was my least favorite of the series. I think the whole elimination concept has improved over time, and the shows' producers have learned how to create the tension and anticipation necessary to keep people watching.

I'm not a fan of the early shows that started this trend, such as "Survivor". Who cares about a bunch of people on an island and how they are as a leader? I'd rather see Chef Gordon Ramsay fire off expletives at people whose bloated egos are deflated as they're reduced to whining wannabes. Everyone cries on "Hells Kitchen" and the funny thing is that they all announce to the viewers "I'm not weak" one or two episodes before their sobbing breakdown. This is easily my favorite show in which a contestant is sent packing, having been screamed at by Ramsay whose standards put him leap years ahead of any of the hopefuls.

Of course, I got bit by the American Idol bug long ago but the show quickly turned into a popularity contest, rather than a singing competition which it started out as. Judge Simon Cowell pointed this out during the current season when addressing one of the strongest contenders, David Cook. He told David "if this continues to be a singing competition and NOT a popularity contest, you could win." Unfortunately, great singers have been sent home while mediocre talent has remained on the show and this year's "talent" does not compare to that of previous seasons despite the judges claiming that this bunch is the best yet.

Now, back to the Sex and the City topic that got this whole thing started. Kacy got me started on this series because she has the whole series on DVD and I watched it, reluctantly at first. Somewhere around the second season, I was not only enjoying it but I was the one saying "let's watch another season". I admit that I wrote this off as a "chick flick" type of show right from the start but I was proved wrong as I saw that there was plenty to keep the guys watching as well, whether it was eye candy or clever writing. I think what I love most about the Sex and the City series is how they manage to seamlessly blend the separate lives of the four main characters. You know enough about who they are when they're not together that, when they do come together, it all makes sense.

With the release of the Sex and the City Movie approaching, I find myself excited to see the story continue. We might even have to break out the DVD's once again to run through the series and bring us up to speed, and I won't feel guilty about it......not even a little bit.

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