Have You ever heard The Term HATE-WATCHING? Hate-watching: The way to find good in TV shows so bad you never dreamed you could enjoy them
Hate-watching is a sport that used to fall under the broad term “guilty pleasure,” but now seems retrofitted for the age of social media. It goes something like this: You watch a show you wouldn’t choose to watch for any reason other than to mock it for its awfulness — say, by sharing snide Twitter exchanges with like-minded hate-watchers when the program airs. Collective delight.
Lately, hate-watching seems to have flourished at the expense of NBC’s drama-focused-on-a-Broadway-musical, “Smash.”
But as I think back through my years in front of the TV, I can’t recall a more pleasurable experience of what I now recognize as hate-watching than the long-ago Fox prime-time soap, “Melrose Place.”
Just consider the following circa-1994 gem of dialogue, as Michael confesses sheepishly to Kimberly, “I don’t know how to say this, but ... um ... when I heard that you had died — y’know, grief and confusion — well, it’s just ... um ... I got MARRIED!”
Classic hate-watching content! And even back in those dial-up, pre-Web days when “Melrose Place” was on the air, a howler like this line of dialogue could be savored communally, thanks to an innovative form of proto-social media: Mere hours after “Melrose Place” had aired, “The ‘Melrose Place’ Update” was ready and emailed to fellow fans by a twentysomething visionary in Bellevue, Wash., named Ian Ferrell.
“I think they’re making something cool,” Ferrell explained to me at the time, referring to the “Melrose” production team. “But I don’t think they have any idea what they’re doing.”
That, of course, is what makes hate-watching so delicious: An awfulness, and hence an inadvertent coolness, the program doesn’t know it has.
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