The Only Way Is Keeping up with Chelsea’s Next Top Model

Early morning, I awake with a start. Automatically I lunge towards my mobile in a hurried attempt to halt the shrill yells of an angry alarm. Clock icon absent, it dawns on me…I have the day off.

As an incredibly hectic semester draws to a close, an unfamiliar day of nothingness invites me to lie in for as long as I like. Unfortunately for me, my previously tortured body clock has other ideas. Firmly set to ridiculous o’clock, its 7am and I am wide awake. Wired for pace, my mind craves caffeine, it craves activity. My body, on the other hand, craves immobility.

Absentmindedly switching on the TV, my brain works in overdrive to fill the blank day that lies ahead. My body groans in defeat, if only she could just switch off.

Then I see them, the cast of TOWIE and their vibrant fake tans dancing across my screen.

Intelligent thoughts give way to meaningless conversations; articulate arguments are replaced by mindless brawls. My mind slows, my heartbeat drops, adrenalin calms. By the time I’ve watched a ten-minute exchange between Joey Essex and Chloe Sims about what Mario has done to Lucy this time, I have entered into a mode of comfortable sedation.

Media, in all its forms, is full of potential. It has the power to influence, educate and inspire. I have been moved by Oscar award winning movies. I have been shocked and informed by brave and ground-breaking documentaries…

…Yet, when left to my own devices, I am more likely to switch the channel to a superfluous marathon of America’s Next Top Model than a thought-provoking dose of BBC’s Question Time. Friends and family alike have given me stick for my awful taste in television shows. They fear that ‘Keeping up with the Crapdashians’ (as my dad so lovingly calls it) may actually turn my brain to mush.

I have claimed to watch Made in Chelsea ‘ironically.’ I have referred to T4’s Tool Academy as an enlightening ‘social experiment.’ Dammit though, the truth will out. I love watching these shows!

Such programmes, being largely void of intellectual content themselves, lead many to assume that their viewers are just that. Void of intellectual content. I however, consider myself (along with all students admitted to Nottingham) to be of reasonable intelligence- intelligence which will take more than a hearty helping of The Hills to forget.

Media may have the power to influence, educate and inspire. But it also has the power to entertain. I should be able to enjoy what Kim Kardashian is up to without judgement.

Filling every waking hour with trash TV will do little for your IQ. However, after spending hour after hour concentrating in lectures, contributing to tutorials and resisting all the distractions Hallward has to offer, that busy mind needs to switch off, and perhaps sometimes, The Only Way Is Essex.

Lizzie Neep

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