By Sadhbh Hendrick
Wholesome viewing, switch–off shows, procrastination station, living in denial, call it what you will, television has swooped in as an almighty saviour for all of us at some point throughout college. Maybe it’s ‘just one more’ episode before you get cracking on that assignment, or you need to bond with some new housemates. It might even just be the perfect ingredient for your duvet day. Whatever the reason, the welcoming arms of TV have reached out and hugged us all once or twice.
I am slightly ashamed to admit that I am not a Netflix subscriber. I know loads of you will get your television fix from Friends or Grey’s Anatomy, to name but a few. However, that is not the main discussion of this article. I am focusing on the feel-good factor associated with certain programmes. Shows that leave you feeling a little calmer, a little more optimistic and a whole lot more ready to take on the world. So, I know Game of Thrones is great, but, for the purposes of this article, I am just not about that life.
The article would be pointless without mentioning the Great British Bake Off. It is impossible to deny the impressive ability GBBO has to lure us all in, make us cry over collapsed cake and entitle us all to act as couch connoisseurs. Wholesome in every sense of the word, it cannot be ignored as one of Channel 4’s greatest shows. A show that makes us reconsider the ability of our home economics teachers, but a great show all the same.
The Chase. Admittedly not the type of show that will leave you feeling fuzzy (sorry Bradley Walsh), nonetheless, a staple of every student house ever. A super way to bond with new housemates, expose niche expertise or attempt to hide a borderline shameful lack of general knowledge. The Chase has certainly provided myself and my housemates with plenty of conversation starters.
RTÉ are the unsung heroes of feel–good television in Ireland. What other national broadcaster airs Francis Brennan, Dermot Bannon and Daniel O’Donnell? This Holy Trinity grace our screens through the mediums of At Your Service, Room to Improve and Daniel and Majella’s B&B Road Trip. Perhaps it is the real Irish humour and the no nonsense attitude of each of these characters, or the very idea of watching an argument about creased pillowcases, kitchen installations, or facecloths. Whatever it is, each of these shows are guaranteed to draw a smile at the very least. I have yet to watch an episode of any of the above without cracking a laugh, regardless of my prior mood. Wholesome viewing does it again.
First Dates. Need I say any more? The definition of feel–good television, inspiring romantics all across the nation, First Dates is one of the cutest programmes going. From the more mature daters, to the very youthful ones, (like, very youthful – honestly, chill out guys), this show reminds us all that fairy-tales do exist! Finding love in a restaurant riddled with cameras and microphones may not be the dream, but it does provide some excellent television. Funny, shocking and awe-inducing, who doesn’t love the toe-curling awkwardness waiting to see if he/she/they say yes to that second date?
My absolute favourite show of all time and deserving the most special of mentions: Gogglebox. I personally (strongly) believe the Irish version of this show is superior, but that doesn’t prevent me from tuning in to the Channel 4 version every week either. The show that allows you to watch a little bit of everything alongside the most lovable of characters. Whilst the whole concept of the show does sound ridiculous – watching people watch television – it somehow just works. These familiar living room scenes filled with cups of tea, wit and an accurate depiction of 2019 Ireland, just provide limitless entertainment and personify wholesome television.
To wrap this up, what can we conclude? Well firstly, I apparently watch far too much television. Secondly, RTÉ need to sort out their funding issues, less Late Late firework displays, more Francis, Dermot and Daniel, thanks. And lastly: Gogglebox Ireland in a student house, discuss.