The secret is out, gentlemen- we know what you’re turning on the moment your lady leaves the apartment. You like to pretend that you’re into the manly, testosterone-fests of shows, things like Storage Wars, Ice Road Truckers, Deadliest Catch, and all those other nonsense shows that drive your friends out of the room. Sure, they can rock their beards and their flannel but their shows are otherwise pretty boring. We know what you’re turning the channel to as soon as your friends, family, and significant others are driven out of the room.
We’d like to get in front of this article and ask one innocuous question: why are you so embarrassed? Does watching one of these shows make you less of a man, or make you feel insecure in your masculinity? First of all, don’t let a television program govern your self esteem- no TV show is that good. But second of all, this is the twenty first century! Aren’t we past the age of shaming each other for crossing gender norms or having preferences out of our stereotypical sex? Nut up and stop caring about what other people think of what’s on your DVR, dude.
It’s time to man up and fess up: we know you’re watching these shows, or that you wish you could. Hell, it would probably benefit your relationships and dating game if you’d just get cozy with your lady and enjoy these shows with her! Man-spread all over the couch and get comfy: here are fifteen television shows men secretly love (or would love if they weren’t so dang afraid).
15. Gossip Girl
First of all: Blake Lively. What’s not to love? For some reason, guys are all about Blake Lively. Maybe it’s the hair, the incredibly pronounced collar bones, the spectacular sense of style… maybe it’s just knowing that if she’s good enough for Ryan Reynolds, she’s got to be just about perfect. Whatever the reason, guys are all about Blake. Ergo, they are all about Gossip Girl. Just be careful, guys… she’s supposed to be a teenager in the show, so don’t get all creepy about it.
But guys are also into the show because they believe that this show is a docudrama style show about how women live their lives; that if a woman hears interesting information, they must immediately pass it on to be dispersed to the masses. Ladies, don’t spoil it for the men- let them live in their fantasy world where women focus solely on their appearance and gossip. Let them also go on believing that a name like Serena van der Woodsen is common.
14. The Bachelor
“A single bachelor dates multiple women over several weeks, narrowing them down in hopes of finding his true love.” (IMDB)
By the description of the show, you’d think guys would be all about this show. What guy wouldn’t want to be The Bachelor, dating a bunch of women that are competing for his affections (regardless of whether or not they’re truly a good fit)? However, if you look at the general viewership of the show you’ll notice it’s overwhelmingly female. Women idealize the show because they hope to see a love story unfold… and men love the show for the same reason. Don’t lie, gentlemen! It’s great to be a player and womanize but, at the end of the day, you want someone to love and hold that accepts you unconditionally. Watching a show where a guy gets to do that in the most economical fashion possible is appealing to every man!
Here’s an experiment in dating that we greatly encourage you to try: when you are on a date with a woman you really like and you want her to know that you two could connect on a deeper level, make a joke from or an allusion to Friends. We would be willing to bet that her face is going to light up because YOU TOO SPEND YOUR FREE DAY TIME WATCHING RERUNS OF FRIENDS ON TBS?!?! Connecting with a woman on their love of Friends is basically akin to being obsessed with the same book, and wouldn’t you rather bond over Joey’s pickup lines, Rachel’s ridiculous yet stylish haircuts, and Chandler’s bad jokes than bullshit analyses of Catcher in the Rye? You can try to deny or to pretend like you’re too cool or too literary for Friends, but we all (including that woman you’re dating) know better- no one can resist Friends.
12. Sailor Moon
Okay, guys might be willing to concede to liking Sailor Moon without as much contest. They’re going to give you some stupid and machismo excuses though: that they’re really just into the show because the girls are sexy and they wear short skirts and that’s just incredibly sexy. Alright, we admit, some of those points are valid and they may be a good reason to start watching the show. But once you get past the initial excitement of seeing animated teenage girls (that’s right, they’re teenagers. Stop being creepy) bounce around in efforts to save the solar system and find an artifact, you’ll realize there’s something entirely addictive about the show. The dialogue is kind of poorly translated from Japanese and it’s kind of campy and ridiculous, but it’s so much fun to watch! Guys strangely dig watching Sailor Moon, and it’ll bring any woman twenties and older back to her youth.
11. Golden Girls
DON’T LIE! We know you’ve thought about Golden Girls and have wondered just how hilarious it might be. Betty White is in it! You know it’s got to be hilarious! It always comes on in the middle of the day, when everyone is either at work or has something better to do. But occasionally you’ll see it as you’re scrolling through your TV guide and your finger will linger a moment wondering “maybe…” And with nervous, shifty eyes, wary of the girlfriend or roommates in the next room, you scroll on- just in case someone would intrude.
Do yourself a favor and actually watch it, if you’ve been too afraid. Those dudes out there that do think it’s hilarious because it’s a bunch of bitter old ladies that are not afraid to give each other shit for everything in their lives. It’s utterly hilarious and you’ll finish the show wishing your grandma were as cool as Blanche or Rose.
Guys like to rip on HBO show, Girls, because it’s all about the issues women face on a daily basis. First of all, news flash: women have to deal with a lot, thank you very much, more than the average white male does. So check your privilege at the door and let’s move on. Girls is freaking hilarious and completely abolishes the stereotype that women aren’t funny. Watch Lena Dunham grace your screen for a mere five minutes and you’ll be hooked on the show. Girls is a totally binge-able show that will not only leave your tummy aching from laughter, but will bring you infinitely closer with that special lady in your life that connects with that show on a fundamental level. And who knows? Maybe you’ll learn something about what not to do on dates and in your romantic life that will help you excel in your single life.
9. Grace and Frankie
Enough about trying to connect with your girlfriends- let’s talk about the women in your lives that matter the most: your mama. Since the end of Golden Girls and TV shows of the like, there haven’t been a whole lot of shows focusing on the lives and foibles of older women. Enter Netflix’s Grace and Frankie, a show about older women going through late life divorces and distress. If you haven’t watched it, start right now (it’s a Netflix original series, so you know it’s amazing). Starring the hilarious Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, you’re going to struggle to get up off of the couch while watching this one. And we weren’t joking! Your mom probably LOVES this show! It’s about time you recognized that her life isn’t all roses and dandelions since she became an empty-nester! We know you love this show, so hit up your mom and talk some hot gossip about these old bags.
8. Jersey Shore
Okay, let us explain: we know that you hate The Jersey Shore. Everybody hates The Jersey Shore. With good reason! The women on the show intentionally act like bubble-headed idiots to attract men, and that’s when they’re not at each other’s throats for mild affronts. The men, conversely, are bubbled-headed idiots that shockingly seem attractive to every woman at the club, and that’s when they’re not at each other’s throats for petty reasons. So why would this show make it to our list of TV shows that guys secretly love? Because guys love to hate on Jersey Shore! And, sure, it’s embarrassing when you accidentally say something about “gym, tan, laundry” in front of your friends- but maybe they’ll think it’s just hilarious as you do! As long as you don’t become the obnoxious caricatures you’re mocking and ensure that you’re living a life far more honorable than those portrayed at the shore, it’s totally okay to love (to hate) Jersey Shore.
7. What Not to Wear
Caught ya: we know you secretly love this show. Maybe you groan every time you walk into the room and your girlfriend is watching it with her mom, thinking “Oh my God, they are watching that terrible show again.” Then you sit down with them, out of either politeness or sheer exhaustion, and you start to get invested. You wonder, first to yourself and then out loud, “why would she think that look works on her? I’d never date a girl like that.” After not too long, your girlfriend’s mom has poured you a glass of Chardonnay and you’re all laughing hysterically at the fashion foibles of the modern American. Sure it’s stupid and superficial and not at all in keeping with your personal interests, but it is an amazing show to ‘people watch’ and is perfect for a lazy afternoon where you can play on your phone while following a show. Just make sure you bolt out of the room before they turn on Say Yes to the Dress.
6. The Voice
What’s weird about liking The Voice? It’s not particularly a show built and designed for female audiences. It’s not like it’s about style or looks or emotions or any of that touchy-feely stuff. Yet The Voice has a reputation akin to American Idol’s original style, before the show got old and all viewers cared about was Simon Cowell being a jerk to everyone: The Voice is known for taking ordinary people, recognizing their remarkable vocal abilities, and helping them realize their wildest dreams! There’s something so touching and moving about watching someone who undervalues their talent make it to the big leagues. Why do guys love it? Well, it’s great for watching Miley Cyrus romp around in insane outfits but it’s also awesome to hear twisted covers of some of our favorite classic songs. They have some really amazing covers of “If You Don’t Know Me By Now” and “The Scientist” that will knock your socks off.
5. Desperate Housewives
Men are raised under these stereotypes that they’ve got to get educations and get full time jobs and be the breadwinners- thus, sometimes shows and dramas about the excitement (or lack thereof) in a domestic and household environment are intriguing! Especially when it involves a bunch of mothers they’d like to… french.
First of all, dudes, suburbia is really not as exciting as this show makes it out to be. However, maybe some of you guys should be taking a page out of this show’s book and consider what areas of her life your woman may feel unfulfilled. If she’s anything like Bree or Susan, you might want to make sure she’s not going to wander. But if any guy is looking for some steamy network-friendly television to watch with his lady, this is where it’s at.
Plus, Eva Longoria. If she’s not reason enough, something is wrong with your priorities.
4. Full House
DON’T YOU DARE DENY IT! Okay, maybe Netflix’s original series Fuller House ruined some of it for you (yeah, maybe just don’t watch it), but we are fairly certain that if you sat back down and watched some of the old episodes of Full House you’d fall in love all over again. Those adorable things that Stephanie would say that were so typical of a middle child? The sweetness of Bob Saget before he got all weird and older? The awkward teenage romances between DJ and Steve? The overwhelmingly and hilariously cute things the Olsen twins would say as little baby Michelle? The weird love/hate relationship Uncles Jesse and Joey had? It was cute was everywhere you looked! How could anyone with a heart not love Full House? Don’t even pretend you don’t remember what we’re talking about. And if you want to keep denying you loved and still love this American classic… how rude.
3. New Girl
New Girl is advertised as if it’s totally for female viewers. Led by adorable personality and iconic cutesy actress Zooey Deschanel, the show is about a young woman who ends an unhealthy relationship and takes a chance moving into an apartment with three strange men from Craigslist. Sounds like an adorable romp through self-learning and discovery, right? WRONG. The show is totally about the men she lives with. It’s all about how Coach figures out how to really love a woman, how Schmidt reconciles his past with his idealistic future, how Winston can take his future into his own hands, and how Nick… well, Nick’s just a grumpy, sad, pudgy guy that most guys are really about to relate to. But if you want to find a character trope you can relate to, you’re going to find it on New Girl. Plus, your girlfriend will absolutely love to watch it with you.
2. Pretty Little Liars
Pretty Little Liars has a terrible ad campaign. Every time you see commercials coming on for the show, it looks like the same basic things have happened but the girls are all wearing different clothes. “The girls are struggling in their personal relationships but that hardly seems like a problem compared to the threats they’re receiving from the mysterious ‘A’:” reads every episode description ever. It’s entirely simplistic and crummy in writing, and you’re going to see the ending coming from a mile away.
That said, this show is INSANELY addictive. Why? We don’t know. We can’t explain it. The actresses are all mega hot (though, again, they’re playing high schoolers so let’s not get creepy about it). The writing is simple, but there’s typically a tantalizing scene of someone showering or changing at least once an episode. Really, it’s just an easy show to continue watching- even if you kind of hate yourself at the end of it all for binge watching it.
1. Grey’s Anatomy
It’s not like anyone should be ashamed of being addicted to Grey’s Anatomy. It has won an insane amount of awards as well as bolstered the careers of some of Hollywood’s hottest actors including Patrick Dempsey, Katherine Heigl, Susan Oh, and Ellen Pompeo. It’s won Emmys, Golden Globes, Oscars, People’s Choice Awards, Teen Choice Awards, NAACP Awards, Satellite Awards, Writer’s Guild Awards, Producers Guild Awards, and Future Classic Awards. It is without a question or doubt a great show.
What’s amazing about this show is that it is really for everyone. The women are not necessarily bomb shells, but they’re real women portraying the anxieties and stresses of real working women. The men aren’t any more idealistic, but are average guys that make mistakes and figure things out just to mess them up again. Plus, they’re pretty great about diverse and inclusive casting. No man should be ashamed to own all the seasons of Grey’s Anatomy.