You Can Soon Watch People Watching TV on Your TV

by Caroline Pate

Sound like a creepy, grey, dystopian future? It's not, it's Bravo's new show The People's Couch , coming to your TV October 6. More surprisingly, this is not the first time a show like this has actually existed. The People’s Couch is actually based on a British show called Gogglebox, which made even The Guardian go all “whaaa?” back in March.

It’s hard to imagine a world where this show is not mind-numbingly dull, but even in that world, the show would still have an eerie resemblance to something that already exists for free: YouTube reaction videos. Why would you sit through a half hour show of other people sitting through a half hour show when you can go to YouTube and watch a short video where you can fast forward to all the boring parts? Once again, television executives have forgotten that the Internet exists.

And if this show is anything like its British counterparts, it will also have comedians who will comment on the people commenting on the show (how meta). This kind of commentary format is already far too common, not to mention difficult to make successful: there either has to be a great comedian (a la The Soup) or a willfully stupid audience (America’s Funniest Home Videos, Ridiculousness).

But all of those shows rely on short clips of weird television shows or guys getting hit in the nuts – how is Bravo going to market something as inherently dull as families watching television? Gogglebox didn’t know; its promo just shows people laughing, commenting, etc. – cute, but far from interesting.

Bravo’s Vice President Lara Spotts said the show is a “funny, unfiltered comment on America’s current TV viewing habits,” which is essentially code for “We found the cheapest way to make a reality show,” because there is no way The People’s Couch is any of those things. The only way this show will come close to interesting commentary of America’s viewing habits is if there’s a second show that films people watching the people watching TV on The People’s Couch.

Only then will the show reflect our soulless consumption of so-called “guilty pleasures” and our endless narcissism that allows ourselves to be projected on screen for the most pointless reasons. Only then will the circle be complete.

Image: bernardbodo/Fotolia