11th March 2013

TV vs reality

How are TV shows such as SATC and Gossip Girl impacting on our lives?

I often fantasise about waking up in a fabulous apartment, looking like I have just stepped out of a magazine advert. I’ll head to work in my Manolos, wind blowing in my hair. Obviously, I come crashing back down to earth when I step onto the 142 in my muddy Converses, faced with crowds of students who smell of stale beer and Lynx.

This fantasy is definitely the result of watching one too many episodes of Sex and the City and Gossip Girl. I often find myself trying to channel my inner-Samantha or my inner-Serena after one too many G&Ts, ending up in some ridiculous situations. The last time I channelled my inner-Samantha I ended up sipping vodka martinis with a twenty-something businessman in his hotel bar. Leaving the venue was more Secret Diary of a Call Girl than SATC – I was red faced and wreaked of shame.

I later thought to myself, how did that happen? Had I just been myself or had I gained false confidence from the glitz and glamour of my favourite shows? Had these programmes completely infiltrated my head so much so that I end up morphing into one of the characters?  The bottom line is that it is unrealistic of me to think that I can get away with Samantha behaviour, hence why I have so much love for Girls which has recently hit our TV screens.

I watched the whole series of Girls within two days. Both SATC and Gossip Girl seem airbrushed to the point of fantasy when you compare them to the brutal honesty of this newcomer, which sees a group of friends navigate their twenties ‘one mistake at a time.’ Life is portrayed far more truthfully; issues such as losing the financial support of parents and having to take unpaid internships in order to try and succeed are addressed, as well as dating, sex and arguments amongst friends.  This is perhaps helped by the fact that the comedy-drama is based on some of creator and star Lena Dunham’s personal experiences. I don’t feel the need to release my inner-anyone at the end of an episode; it’s okay not to have a fashion line at the age of 23 and it’s okay to mess up sometimes

Girls’ frank honesty about sex, friendship and love is refreshing in a world where TV is glamorised to the max. Although there is fun to be had when channelling your inner-Samantha, Manchester student life cannot be compared to those of the privileged in New York City and we shouldn’t be made to feel inadequate by fictional constructs.

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