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The Seven Best Guilty Pleasure TV Shows

By Joanna Robinson | Lists | October 20, 2011 |

By Joanna Robinson | Lists | October 20, 2011 |

We spend a lot of time on this site extolling the virtues of what is great about television. We love us some “Breaking Bad,” “Sons Of Anarchy” and “Game Of Thrones.” But, let’s be honest, you’re not eating kale every night for dinner. Sometimes, just sometimes, you gotta have the cheesecake. Emphasis on the cheese. Now let me be clear, there’s a difference between a “Guilty Pleasure” and “Bad Television.” For example, the allegedly sexy, purportedly mysterious “Playboy Club”? Bad Television. The Should Have Been A Slam Dunk Guilty Pleasure “Charlie’s Angels”? Bad Television. A Guilty Pleasure may have bad, embarrassing, downright cringe-worthy elements, but there has to be something great (an actor, the dialogue, the, um, gaffering and key gripping) to keep us coming back for more. Now that the Ultimate Guilty Pleasure, “True Blood,” is off the air, here are seven current shows that keep us sneaking back for more. Full disclosure, because I can’t watch *all* the things, some lovely Pajibans helped me flesh out this list. Feel free to weigh in as well. If you love these shows, shout it out. If we missed one you love, shout that out too. Don’t worry, we won’t judge.*

“Supernatural”: This show is here in loving homage to the original Link Wench, Stacey who will, very likely, name her firstborn child Jensen. Despite my love for Cute Dean (aka Jared Padalecki, aka The One Who Is Not Jensen), I have never seen this show but, crikey, it’s been on for seven seasons. It’s somebody’s Guilty Pleasure.

“The Sing-Off”: I don’t watch Reality Television. I have a pretty strict rule about that. Except, it turns out, when it comes to singing competitions. No, not “American Idol” or “The X-Factor.” Those I find shrieky. “The Sing-Off” and, even more shamefully, “The Voice,” however, got me good. It’s all Ben Folds’ fault. His goofy, affable and yet highly technical judging on “The Sing-Off” proved irresistible. It’s a slippery slope, though. Next stop? Those exclamatory channels Bravo! and E! Khrist save me from the Kardashians.

“Ringer”: Many of us loved “Buffy The Vampire Slayer.” With, you know, an unholy and rabid passion. Joss Whedon will do that to ya. So how could we not give Sarah Michelle Gellar a chance when she came back to television? The plot is preposterous, the dialogue even worse. But they’ve got Horatio Hornblower (Ioan Gruffudd) AND Logan Echolls (Jason Dohring) on there now and it’s too late to turn back.

“The Good Wife”: But! But! It’s critically acclaimed! Well-written! Meticulously acted. Julianna Margulies wins all the Emmys! Yes, but also, it’s a CBS drama. That means my grandma watches it. Even if she does insist on calling it “The Desperate Good Wives.” It was a punchline on “Happy Endings.” It practically screams Old Lady Drama. But, dammit, it’s excellent Old Lady Drama. I can’t quit it.

“The Vampire Diaries”: This is a favorite among the Pajibans. Me? I can’t get past the grimy looking promo photos. But it can’t be any trashier than “True Blood”…RIGHT?

“American Horror Story”: Dustin lambasted this show in his review. And he wasn’t wrong. Not a single thing he wrote was wrong. But, I’m sorry, I cannot quit this show. I came for Tami Taylor but I’m staying for the hackneyed mystery, the completely unnecessary lewdness, and, most importantly, for Jessica Lange’s bitchface. She is giving a masterclass in contempt and connive. I can’t miss a second of it.

“Revenge”: But Lange’s is not the only bitchface worth watching this season. Madeline Stowe, her sneer, and the rest of the gang are trashing up ABC on Wednesday nights, and it’s glorious. Don’t miss it. Watch it while it’s still good. And, if you’re feeling really ambitious, make it a double feature with “American Horror Story.” Don’t worry. You can have kale for breakfast.

*We will judge. In fact we’re judging you right now. Should you really be wearing that shirt with those pants?

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