Photo: BBC America
Whether you’re currently sheltering at home, limiting your time outdoors, or self-isolating, you’ve probably eyed that untouched stack of books in your living room as a nice possible distraction from the world. More likely, though, you’ve exhausted your favorite binge-watches and are looking for something new to stream to keep busy. At this point, you may even be considering some dystopian thrillers. I know my friends have started recommending them.
But, dear reader, I strongly advise against watching Contagion or similar pandemic-related works of fiction—which are mostly trash but not the kind of trash you need right now. My advice is to use your entertainment time budget for some dumpster-tier reality television. And to make this mind-numbing escapism as easy as possible, I’ve put together six distinct profiles of trash TV viewers, along with show recommendations and where to stream them.
So are you The Shameless Voyeur or The Living Room Survivalist? Read on to find out.
The Living Room Survivalist
You are not a self-described prepper, per se, but you like to think of yourself as resourceful. You’re someone who spends a lot of time outdoors, owns a tent, and almost certainly subscribes to the YouTube channel Primitive Technology— if only because you feel a spiritual kinship with host John Plant’s shirtlessness.
The Paranormal Expert
You’re into some freak shit—not too freaky, though. (The truly sick will be addressed below.) Your primary interests include true crime, hauntings, gruesome murders, extraterrestrial fly-bys, crop circles, curses, and the occult. You often find yourself saying you “don’t believe in that stuff, ha ha.” (You absolutely do.)
- Ancient Aliens ( Netflix, Hulu, History.com)
- Unsolved Mysteries (Amazon Prime Video, Tubi, Crackle, Vudu, Hulu)
- Ghost Adventures (Hulu, TravelChannel.com, YouTube)
- The Curse of Oak Island (Netflix, Hulu, History.com, YouTube)
The Gnarly Fuck
You’re an enthusiastic consumer of TLC’s most monstrous content offerings—the more depraved the series, the better. You find the sick shit that makes others squirm wildly engrossing. Your homepage is r/WTF. You may or may not have a collection of one-eyed dolls.
The Shameless Voyeur
You like watching people win, but you absolutely love watching them lose. You appreciate a show that fans out the dirty laundry of real people you’ve never met for your own personal entertainment. Maybe you watch The Bachelor. You’ve definitely seen The Real World and found it “entertaining.”
Design—that is, order and control—is your passion. There is nothing that brings you more fulfillment than watching a renovation reach its full potential to become the perfect home. You also, however, enjoy the chaos and humiliation of bad design, the subtle passive-aggressive quips between partners over their “perfect home” priority checklist, and watching someone occasionally melt down over an ill-considered paint color.
I don’t know what drives a person to watch this specific kind of food show—a lot of it looks pretty gross to me! Maybe you’re a no-frills foodie who appreciates a good deep fryer and the art of the perfect tater tot. (Or, in the case of Britain’s Best Home Cooks, a flaky eel pie.) Maybe you’re stoned and it’s already on. Who’s to say, really?
Whatever kind of garbage TV freak you are, just remember that these shows will always be waiting for you. Try to prioritize whatever else it is you need to do to take care of yourself during this time. And, above all, try not to binge it all in one go, you monster.