People once considered ‘fat slobs’ are now thought of as cultural gurus thanks to the ‘golden age of television’, according to new research.
The Institute of TV Studies has found the esteem in which serial TV watchers are held has jumped by an impressive 35%, due to the proliferation of big budget American imports such as Breaking Bad, Dexter, Game of Thrones and Mad Men.
A spokesman for the institute said: “Our research shows the type of people who were once seen as lazy, unambitious, degenerates even, are now enjoying their role as cultural tastemakers, as television is increasingly seen as high art, as opposed to something to obviate the need for families to actual talking at dinner or as a Marxist tool for controlling the proletariat.”
We spoke to some of the newly enlightened fellows (the research shows they are nearly always male) about their new role at the top of the culture tree.
Mike Jones, a seasoned TV watcher, said: “It’s great. Where once I was just this guy who lay prone, eating Doritos perched on his rather considerable belly and neglecting his children, I am now treated like Brian fucking Sewell. Even though I haven’t really changed my behaviour.”
“It’s pretty easy really. All you have to do is watch a show, say how great the cinematography is, how complex the characters are, and chuck in a line about how it’s ‘like modern-day Shakespeare’, and you’re golden.”
“Old William wrote 53 fucking plays – of course a half-decent show is going to be like something he did. It’s a meaningless enough phrase that no-one will really query – I just made that figure up for example. But it makes you look clever.
“So basically I do the same thing I’ve always done, but now it’s as if I’ve read the complete works of Dostoyevsky and I’m thought of as this enlightened dispenser of wit and wisdom.
“And, as I’m nearly always watching TV anyway, I’m even seen as ahead of the crowd, instead of a bandwagon-jumper. Like with Breaking Bad, I just stumbled across it way back when the first season was shown on Channel 5 ‘cos I just left the TV on after watching World’s Deadliest Sharks or summin.”
“Then I told people about it and that it was about family, finding one’s passion, I think I even said mortality…I was treated as if I’d actually given them this fucking life-changing drug.”
“So cheers, Vince Gilligan!”
Tom Phillips, another well-watched person, said: “It’s all about the minorities. TV shows love minorities, through some combination of offering escapism and filling ethnic quotas, and they give half-arsed critics like myself a great chance to sound intelligent and right-on.”
“Just say ‘such and such a show really deconstructs the stereotype of such and such a minority as such and such a thing’, and explain it a bit or maybe develop it a little bit further with some counter-arguments…trust me, they’ll be eating out of your newly-sophisticate hands.”
“All you’re doing really is pointing out the obvious – that groups and even individual people are complex and varied things. And who, apart from UKIP voters, seriously doesn’t believe that?! But the important thing for the wannabe critic is to remember that the stereotypes do exist and TV shows offer people a way to challenge them in a seemingly intelligent way.
“Little tip here: ‘zeitgeist’ – look it up – is a good word to use here because it’s foreign and begins with a z so it makes you makes you sound smart.
“Orange Is the New Black is great for this – black people, hispanic people, immigrants, lesbians, drug addicts, and all of them women, locked up in a prison run by mostly lecherous and corrupt male guards (the ‘patriarchy’). It’s like minority central.
“It’s pretty good too.”