Guilty secrets? We’ve all got them. Mine is Gogglebox.
If you haven’t seen it then you’re missing a treat. The basic premise is that a selection of ‘typical’ British households are given some TV programmes to watch and then fixed cameras film their reactions to what they see. Genius.
I love it. I positively look forward to it being on and I’m disappointed when the series ends. I feel like I know the families personally. I saw the Tappers recently at a University Open Day and gave them a big beaming smile because I knew they were familiar. It was only afterwards that my daughter told me who they were. (To their credit they smiled back.)
So what is it about the show that I enjoy so much? Well, it’s funny. Some of the people are really quick-witted whilst others make me laugh because they’re laughing and it’s interesting to hear a range of viewpoints on a particular subject. It’s just really easy viewing.
But if I’m honest, what attracts me to Googlebox is the way it reminds me of what it was like to watch TV when I was a child. There were only three channels and no way to record anything so the whole nation watched the same programmes at the same time. Remember finding out who shot JR Ewing or watching Jason and Kylie tie the knot? It’s hard to imagine now but back then what was on telly was a huge part of our lives. There were even power surges in the advert breaks because everyone boiled their kettles at same time.
it’s not just that though. I miss the experience of sharing a programme with my own family. We have several TVs in the house and countless devices which serve the same purpose. My children consume endless reality shows that hold no interest for me and so we watch in separate rooms. If ever we do all come together to view something, there will always be at least one of us on a screen at any given time, dipping in and out of other things. No one just sits and watches any more.
And so Googlebox creates a kind of nostalgia for me. I can’t even remember whether we used to shout at the TV when I lived with my parents but that doesn’t really matter. In my head, watching TV was a group activity that you shared together and not something you did wearing headphones.
So I watch Gogglebox every week and when it’s over, I go back to Facebook or Candy Crush or whatever it was that I can’t leave alone for the length of a TV show – just like my kids…