“Trash” Media: Why Do We Love It?

Recently, I watched several, we’ll generously call them, questionable films on Netflix and Prime. Think along the lines of made for tv or Hallmark level films but on, self proclaimed, premium streaming services. The films were not bad but far from good either. For the most part, the ones I saw were mostly ‘meh.’ And I know these types of films have fans, obviously. Hell, my father is among them. There are three separate Hallmark channels whose entire economy, brand, and production revolves around these kinds of movies. Add a few Lifetime channels, PBS Mysteries, and the random attempts from streaming services, particularly around the holidays, and there is a wide market for these products.

Still, I couldn’t help but wonder why? I mean, from the limited amount of people I know who enjoy this kind of content, even they admit that the stories are all essentially the same, aren’t very well written, acting is a complete dice roll depending on cast, and that they pretty much watch them as background noise. Which, to be fair, there are plenty of films and television shows I watch, and have seen, that are, at best, a solid six out of ten. However, they are usually part of a larger, much better done, interconnected universe or involve characters and stories I have always wanted to see be adapted to live action. That’s not the case for most, if not all, these films. So, what is it about these movies that garners the audience and profit that it does?

Is it the actors? Because I have seen some actors and actresses I like and follow promote one, or several, of these films that they are in. Is it the romance and chemistry between the leads? Have these films become synonymous with certain times or seasons of the year, a la holiday films? Do they provide some sort of emotional comfort or homeostasis? Or is there some other factor that I am simply ignorant of?

I am legitimately curious though. Why do you like “trash” media? Whether it be films like the ones discussed above, reality television, CW shows, or something else, what is it about them that you enjoy?

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