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Ask Dalton: Can recaps replace TV viewing?

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Celebrity Apprentice
Douglas Gorenstein/NBC

Is honesty the best policy when it comes to watching TV with your spouse? And can a recap take the place of an actual show? Dalton Ross, EW editor-at-large and resident pop-culture referee, weighs in.

I promised a friend I’d catch up on Celebrity Apprentice, but there are so many episodes. Can I just read recaps and fake it? —Sonja (@SonjaC519)

Well, Sonja, before I can properly rule on the matter of whether you should actually sit down and watch an episode of The Celebrity Apprentice, I need to ask you the following question: Generally speaking, what are your thoughts when it comes to Donald Trump carrying on an extended conversation about Olympic champion Shawn Johnson’s menstrual cycle? Is that something in which you might be interested?

If you answered yes, then rush to your TV set and let the binge begin.

Look, Celebrity Apprentice is not for everybody—namely, folks who for some bizarre reason have no taste for Ian Ziering discussing the finer points of pole dancing—leaving those of us with merely no taste to enjoy the program for what it truly is: the best bad show in the history of television. But if you’re still on the fence, allow me to remind you that this is the program that once featured country-music superstar Clint Black insinuating that he used All detergent to masturbate while reading a book by Donald Trump. That triggers an automatic lifetime season pass in my book.

Have the past few years truly been the golden age of TV? —RYAN (@RyanSurvivorFan)

My answer to the previous question would seem to effectively nullify any such argument about this being the golden age of TV, wouldn’t it? But let’s dig a little deeper.

There’s no disputing that there are more quality TV shows on now than ever before. But what is also indisputable is that there are also more TV channels than ever before. I grew up with, like, four options, and now I have 400—including multiple channels that end in the letter z for no reason like Starz and Reelz, as well as something called Willow, which as far as I can tell is nonstop coverage of cricket.

So yes, television is better than ever. But it’s simultaneously worse than ever as well because there is simply more bad stuff to go around. For every Fargo or Game of Thrones, there is a Finding Bigfoot or My Big Fat American Gypsy Wedding. And the broadcast networks aren’t much better. I mean, The Good Wife is amazing and all, but keep in mind that we are but three years removed from the national nightmare that was Work It.

I watched a few episodes of American Horror Story without my husband. Now I feel like I cheated. Do I come clean or just pretend I didn’t? —CHRISTINA (@dontjudgmi)

I believe in 100 percent honesty and transparency in a relationship at all times, no matter what the circumstances, and frankly, Christina, I’m a little shocked you would even consider lying to your spouse…

Okay, that was just in case my wife somehow stumbled onto this column and began reading, but I can’t see her making it this far in, so I think we’re good.

NO! Of course you don’t come clean! What the hell is wrong with you? Lie and deny—that’s my motto when it comes to secret previewings.

I do this all the time. In fact, I’m not sure I’ve ever watched a single episode of Mad Men with my spouse that I hadn’t already seen at least one time prior without her knowledge. What, so I’m supposed to wait for her and not enjoy one of our favorite shows because she needs to “sleep” or “read” or “spend time with our children”?

In this case, Christina, ignorance equals bliss. His ignorance, your bliss. Unless the episodes of AHS were super lame, in which case now you’re kinda screwed because you have to watch them twice. Whoops!

This article appears in Entertainment Weekly‘s Jan. 30/Feb. 6 issue.

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