Do you watch 'Pointless', the ironically named teatime quiz show? We do. I'm usually chopping onions or peeling spuds at the same time but I do find it mildly entertaining. It's the opposite of Blanketty-Blank, the show where you used to gain points by guessing the answers that most of the 100 people asked to a simple question. So divergent thinkers failed. In Pointless, however, you get points for coming up with correct answers which no one else of the 100 asked has said. So people like my husband who mind is full of trivial facts about sport and old films get to feel smart. The topics are varied and appeal to all ages. This week we have had a picture round where you had to recognise leaders of foreign countries, a round on GCSE Science, Doris Day Films; and a round I liked where you had to supply the adjectives in novel titles. (The _____ Curiosity Shop which the student studying English at university didn't know.) All this is presided over by Alexander Armstrong, or Xander as he calls himself, and the unfeasibly tall Richard Osman, The banter (or bants, a current favourite word among teens) between them and with the contestants is also entertaining though Xander is a bit annoying when he smugly gives the answers the contestants missed.
My point is that I watch this stuff and like it. And it is indeed.....pointless. I used to listen to Radio 4 as I cooked tea. What is happening to me?
In our house we have two TVs, one in the lounge and the other in what is called 'the snug' by estate agents ie a space off the kitchen where the dog hangs out. Often in the evening we hang out there with him; more often than not, the TV is on. And, because it's January and we've not been out much recently, we seemed to have watched an awful lot of TV.
So there are three of us and two TVs and we all have different tastes, but, as I don't watch much television, it doesn't matter. Here's how it goes:
Husband: Coronation Street, Emmerdale, Sport, Silent Witness, Holby City, black and white classic films, incomprehensible Swedish/Danish crime/political drama, Andrew Marr, Saturday Kitchen.
Daughter: Coronation Street, Emmerdale, reality TV shows, currently The Voice, Celebrity Big Brother, Made in Chelsea, TOWIE, the dating show, Take me Out, Keith Lemon (shocking programme), reruns of Outnumbered on Netflix, (While possibly finishing homework at the same time)
Me: Loose Women, if I'm home in the day (I love Janet Street Porter and Gloria Hunniford reminds me of home); one-off dramas (I loved EsioTrot at Christmas) and series like Last Tango in Halifax. Not much else.
So, in theory, while they are wasting their time, at least, I'm off doing something purposeful, like marking or preparing lessons or mind-improving, like reading, or creative, like writing. In theory. In reality, I often join one or the other to snuggle up on the sofa and watch the least offensive of the choices on offer. (I draw the line at Celebrity Big Brother and cover my eyes at gruesome bits of Silent Witness)
Occasionally, I assert my right to the remote. On Wednesday night the first episode of Wolf Hall was screened, I gave advance warning of this and my husband joined me to watch it at first, but gave up fairly soon. I quite enjoyed it - Jonathan Pryce was good as Cardinal Wolsley but I wasn't that impressed by Mark Rylance, who is supposed to be the actor of this generation: he spent a lot of time looking miserable and saying little, though what he did say impressed everyone. That's probably the character though - I never did finish the book. I found myself nodding off at one point, and kind of wanted to be in the kitchen with the rest of the family, who were hooting with laughter at the large black lady's acceptance speech on receiving an award for Googlebox at the National TV Awards.
So what I'm saying, is that it doesn't matter if the TV we are watching is a bit pointless; at least we are watching together. You'll notice that both Kate and her Dad watch Coronation Street and Emmerdale. I usually join them. We don't watch passively, and often talk back to the telly or to each other just like they do on Googlebox. I don't see why I should apologise for enjoying a bit of purposeless popular culture with the rest of the family if I want to.