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Kate Langbroek: You Can Learn A Lot From Reality Television

Kate Langbroek, Sunday Style

I love reality television, but it’s like loving lollies: I know to consume that and nothing else would be the end of me.

I would die from a kind of TV diabetes, where the inane chitchat, petty fighting and relentless renovating would ultimately do me in. And come that final, shuddering breath, I would have to be winched — in my pilling tracksuit pants and food-stained top — out to the coroner’s gurney, still clutching a giant blue Slurpee in one hand and a TV remote in the other.

Anyway, there’s no fear of that happening as I live with a guy who doesn’t like reality TV. It’s annoying. Also, a lot of people say that (I think they think it makes them sound superior) but will secretly watch a Real Housewives or get sucked into a cooking show or house makeover. Not Petie. No matter what I bait the hook with — dancing celebrities, share houses, big-bottomed, lazy American sisters, jungle glamping, bachelorettes galore — he has stood resolute. Actually, he has sat resolute — eyes firmly affixed to some groundhog-day footy match or a doco about atoms.

It really bums me out. So, the other night, slightly exasperated and sulky, I finally asked why he — who professes to love me more than life itself — wouldn’t watch any of my shows. He looked at me for a moment, sighed heavily, and said: “Because, my darling, when I watch TV I like to LEARN SOMETHING.”

And he was so superior, and so smug, that it got me to thinking. I have learned A LOT from reality TV. For example:

Cloche I am the only adult in my household who knows what a cloche is. If you don’t, Google it. Or spend a few hundred hours, as I have, watching MasterChef.

Journey My husband believes this refers to taking a trip somewhere. Ha! He’ll never know it actually means you have shared a heart-rending story with the nation about how you burned your left calf on the hot exhaust of a motorbike when you were 18, and how that incident has inspired you to now sing Ed Sheeran covers in order to “follow your dream”.

Art My husband, the beardy piece of silly string, believes this should be carried out by artists. Incorrect! I have learned “art” is best done by a suburban renovator who’s spent 12 sleepless weeks trying to stop something called a “box gutter” leaking onto the heads of their furious fellow contestants, driving to giant hardware stores in their show-sponsored Hyundai Getz, then finding out they have ZERO “decorating budget”. Never mind! Just buy a giant stretched canvas, despoil it with random strokes from a paint roller, and a judge will pronounce it: “Amazing!”

The paleo Diet Makes you look lean and incredibly fit. Also gives you the cold, dead eyes of a freshly caught snapper.

Friends The same contestant who, last week, boldly declared: “I’m here to win, not to make friends,” will two weeks later, in their teary farewell speech, blubber, “I’ve made friends for life. We’re family.” My husband would find this confusing; I know both statements are true.

Children The alleged father of my four children believes he is fulfilling his duty in staying put and caring for them on a daily basis. Wrong! IF HE TRULY CARED he would leave them for five months, then claim he has done so not because of ambition, fame or money, but because he wants them to be “proud of him” and to show them they can “follow their dreams”.

Comfort zone You’re either in it, or out of it. A bit like marriage, really, innit?

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