Bigg Boss, Jersey Shore, and the Universal Appeal of Trashy Reality TV

Pop Culture

Bigg Boss, Jersey Shore, and the Universal Appeal of Trashy Reality TV

Illustration: Arati Gujar

I

have a confession to make: I’ve never been a fan of Bigg Boss. Like an increasingly small number of people, it seems, I’ve just never understood the appeal. And as Season 12 of the reality show begins, it’s hard to escape the drama. So far, I’ve been informed about the scandal of having singer Anup Jalota and his much younger girlfriend, Jasleen Matharu, as the season’s “vichitra jodi”, and I have learnt what a vichitra jodi is. I know that Deepak Thakur is not just the name of my school PT instructor, but also a Bhojpuri singer, and that Sreesanth is apparently still a thing – all without ever having seen an episode of Bigg Boss.

To be fair to the nation’s guiltiest pleasure, I don’t keep up with the Kardashians, or hit the trail with Roadies either. My reality TV consumption is limited to trashy cooking shows and memes of besura Indian Idol contestants. But the inescapable magnetism of Bigg Boss reminds me of a time when watching a scheduled trainwreck was a part of my life.

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