Hate Watching Trash TV: Intersections of Class and Anti-Fandom
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Hate watching has been described as fun and campy (Nussbaum, 2012); a form of self-deception in viewers who refuse to admit they like shitty things (Davies, 2013); a frustrating inability to let go of a show one no longer enjoys (Drumming, 2013); or a colossal waste of time (Goodman, 2013). Despite its popularity in entertainment journalism, hate watching remains largely unexplored in academic literature. Jonathan Gray (2003) argues for the importance of critically examining anti-fans as part of audience studies. He finds that anti-fans have a complex, if oppositional, reading of the text that is often just as critical as that of fans. I propose that educated middle-class viewers use the discourse of hate watching to distance themselves from the trashy TV shows they consume in order to protect their cultural capital from erosion. This research examines the results of my interviews with 18-35-year-old university students, who hate watch.