All the things I really like to do are either illegal, immoral, or fattening. — Alexander Woollcot

As I often opine, gentle reader, I’m a TV junkie. I love a good movie thriller or a favorite program that will keep my attention, but every now and then I’ll run across a sorry flick that stinks to high heaven. Fool that I am, it’s not unusual for me to stick around until the end just to see what happens. On the odd occasion the eventual revelation turns out to be pretty interesting. Conversely some finales have me going, “Huh?” at the improbable conclusion.

Yes, I have my favorites like “24” and “ER,” but my current work schedule doesn’t allow me to view the new episodes weekly like I’d prefer to. I do have a portable set but the building isn’t conducive to picking up the signals from Channels 4 and 5, on which they air, and that mildly annoys me. I can find some solace by watching them in repeats if I get up in the morning to catch them on cable or wait until the particular episodes pop up on some over-the-air station.

But that doesn’t explain my fascination for seeking out “Trash TV.” Is curiosity the catalyst for me checking out some notorious shows like “Jerry Springer,” “Maury” or “Cheaters?” Maybe so but I find it hard to believe so many people will allow their personal dirty laundry to be broadcast across America, although I suppose they want their 15 minutes of fame and a free trip to wherever the show is taped. To each his or her own I guess.

Some of the shows leave me howling with the sheer silliness of the topics; how can a guy not know the paramour he’s so infatuated with is a man, for instance? There are obvious ways; however, the tell-tale signs are too graphic to mention in a family publication. Others have me scratching my head like when a young woman states she only dates men for money, and their family encourages the behavior, sometimes to the extent of literally being the go-between if you understand what I’m saying. I could go into a deeper reason, but that would take too much space and time.

On the other hand, many of them are downright sad, especially the ones where a woman is trying to find out who her baby’s father is. I’ve seen episodes where the girl has brought in several potential dads only to find out the one they were sure of turned out not to be.

The tragedy of that situation is too many of our young people have a skewed vision of today’s world. They believe money is the end-all, be-all, and are willing to do whatever to get what they want in life. In addition, they think they can find love by having relations with whoever they are attracted to right then, which leads to the problem of fatherhood.

But enough of the heavy stuff. Most of the trash is light, which is probably the basis for why they’ve stayed on the air for so long and why we watch them. We are in the position of voyeur, perhaps getting a little ego boost from watching the trials and tribulations of others, making our own ills feel trivial by comparison. My guilty pleasure is seeing that trait in myself and enjoying the spectacle.


Ken Hall is a Daily Sun columnist. His column appears Thursdays and Sundays. He may be reached via e-mail at

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