Jennifer L. Grubbs
Jennifer L. Grubbs' "I on Life" column appears Tuesdays in the Craig Daily Press. E-mail her at email@example.com
We all have guilty pleasures.
Come on, admit it.
It may be a Michael Bolton, Neil Diamond or Backstreet Boys album, it may be Harlequin romance or spy novels, it may be YouTube or FunnyOrDie.com's latest craze, it may be every movie Chevy Chase ever made, or maybe it's a fresh pint of Ben & Jerry's Chunky Monkey. (I should note that none of these are my guilty pleasures, well, except FunnyOrDie.com.)
We all have that certain something that we're afraid to admit we love, but we love it anyway - if in secret, with the door shut.
But I'll share mine: Watching Gossip Girl.
That's right, I, a nearly 28-year-old, professional woman, love this soapy evening drama about spoiled-rich teens in New York City's Upper East Side.
How did this happen?
Well, last year, I got a DVR for the first time. As the fall TV season was gearing up, I set my new toy to record a bunch of premiers I'd read about, thinking that I'd end up sticking with one or two. On a whim, I included this much-buzzed-about new series based on teen books. I had not expected that "Gossip Girl" would be one of the few must-see-every-week shows.
However, I quickly grew addicted to the characters, the smart writing, the intricate story lines and the hard-living, fast-moving, back-stabbing, bed-hopping (oh my!) lives of these "teens" (who mostly aren't played by teens) and their "parents."
When the writers' strike happened last winter, I found myself crushed at not having these weekly installments. And then I got burnt out on waiting for the strike to be over, so I gave up on it.
But then came this summer's ad campaign for the fall season.
There, in magazines and commercials were racy pictures of two GG characters, and they were covered with four big bold letters: OM_G!
For those not in the know, this is an acronym (cleaned up for print) for a less-than-dainty expression of shock, disbelief or surprise. It's crass and it takes the Lord's name in vain. But it is used frequently in Internet chats and text messages by people of all ages, and is fairly well understood.
The ad campaign stirred up controversy, but that seems to only have helped the buzz factor, not hurt it, as was the intention of numerous parental watchdog groups. The ads were inappropriate, went the cry of concern, for their supposed target audience - teens. They were too sexual and contained the implied foul language.
Well, that target audience (teens) loved the ads, creating an even bigger buzz.
And they sucked me back in, too.
After a winter, spring and summer spent mostly staying away from the wasteland that was strike TV, the ads brought me back. I wanted to know what the expletive-laden acronym was all about.
And the season premier did not disappoint; there was plenty to be saying OMG, or even OM_G about.
Now, the show's ads have moved on, and they're turning all of that animosity toward the earlier campaign around in Gossip Girl's favor. The ads are proclaiming this show to be, "Every parent's nightmare," "Very bad for you," "A nasty piece of work" and "Mind-blowingly inappropriate" - according to the watchdog groups.
That's why plenty of teens love it. That's why they download it on iTunes. That's why they set their DVRs to record it.
But why do I have a full-season recording set on my DVR?
That's easy: to grab onto my seemingly dwindling youth.
This show takes me back to watching My So-Called Life when I was a teen, which, at that time, was considered subversive and bad for teens. I'm a decade removed from those years now, so this is my way to vicariously revisit them for one hour. And it's all through simply watching a TV show - albeit, a TV show with strong, realistic writing, tight characters and interesting plot development.
Yes, it's my guilty pleasure - but now it's no longer a secret. And by the time you read this, I'll have watched the latest episode.
If you had to reveal your guilty pleasure, Moffat County, what would it be?
Jennifer L. Grubbs can be reached at 875-1790 or firstname.lastname@example.org