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Today in 'Why The Hell is This On TV'...

By Kayleigh Donaldson | TV | May 28, 2019 |

By Kayleigh Donaldson | TV | May 28, 2019 |

Selma and Hans.jpg

Americans may think they have the upper hand on horrifying TV shows that will make them rethink their belief in a loving God, but hoo boy they’ve got nothing on the cesspool that is British reality television. Now that The Jeremy Kyle Show has been taken off the air, people have to dig just that little bit deeper to find the true terrors that would make even Maria Von Trapp become a hard-bitten nihilist. Today, let’s talk about Age Gap Love.

If you’re British then you’ll know all about the darkness that is Channel 5. Launched in 1997, it’s typically the lowest rated network of the big five and has a reputation for being a bit of a dumping ground. It’s where Big Brother went once Channel 4 got sick of it and is home to a lot of the classist bear baiting that made Jeremy Kyle (shockingly not a Channel 5 host) so infamous. They’re a big fan of shows that seem vaguely empathetic but are really just excuses to gawk at people who are poor, sick, troubled, or ‘ugly’. Ever seen the Mitchell and Webb sketch ‘The boy with an ar*e for a face’? That’s a dig at Channel 5 (also hi Olivia Colman).

So you know that Age Gap Love doesn’t have much interest in exploring what it actually means, both personally and societally, to be in a relationship with someone that much older or younger than yourself. It would be nice to see a show tackle that, given how our culture has normalized it with younger women and older men while the opposite is still seen as a joke. But nope, instead we get this.

Andy is 47. His wife Beth is 19. He met her when she was a child. As a friend of Beth’s mum, he became close to her when she was a child and, as the show puts it, ‘once she reached the age of 16, Beth wanted to take their friendship to the next level.’


The pair now have two children, and the clip goes out of its way to make sure it’s Beth reminding us all that the relationship was all her idea and she’s the one with all the power here.

Look, age gap relationships can and do work for many people. I’m not judging that. But wow, for Channel 5 to pretend that’s all that’s going on here? Yeah, I’m not buying it and neither is anyone else on social media, by the looks of it.

But do watch out on Twitter for the ‘Well Actually’ swarms who are very quick to let you know it’s not paedophilia and that since 16 is the age of consent the guy is all in the clear. Thanks for that, dude, it’s always nice to know that girls are basically a ticking clock for you to wait until you won’t get arrested for touching them. It’s a comfort to see how a girl who knew this older man since she was a child is ‘fair game’. I’m going to guess these are the same men who had Countdown Clocks for when Emma Watson turned 16. I don’t think it’s a coincidence either that the same British tabloids who drummed up a lot of ‘paedo fear’ in the UK for decades are covering this story as if the problem is us oversensitive feminazi liberals. It’s almost like their entire business plan is built on the fetishizing of young virginal white women or something.

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Kayleigh is a features writer for Pajiba. You can follow her on Twitter or listen to her podcast, The Hollywood Read.

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