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Why we love watching Gogglebox

It is endlessly, uniquely entertaining to watch something you recognise, says Ellie Walker-Arnott

Published: Friday, 7th March 2014 at 3:31 pm

Gogglebox, the slightly surreal observational documentary that has us watching other people watching telly, is back on our screens tonight in a new and improved primetime spot.


Channel 4, wise to the fact that people just cannot get enough of June, Leon, Sandy, Sandra and co, have cleverly moved the show to 9pm on Friday nights.

Now, Gogglebox is an unlikely success – who'd have guessed we'd crave such post-post-modern TV viewing? – but a success it most certainly is. So what is it about watching people watching TV (on the TV) that is just so entertaining?

Well, it's simple really. We are all, every single one of us, like Greek god Narcissus. We just love our own reflection.

It is endlessly, uniquely entertaining to watch something you recognise. Don't pretend you haven't squealed, "I've been there!", when you've spied your childhood town, a supermarket near your sister's house or that beach you went to on holiday once on the TV.

But Gogglebox is much better than spotting your nan's road in Location, Location, Location or your sofa cushion on Come Dine With Me (though obviously it's a massive plus if Steph and Dom are lounging back on the same pattern as you). In fact, it's even better than watching cleverly constructed characters in dramas you can identify with.

Whether you sip champagne while watching Gardeners World (if only), belt out the EastEnders theme tune along with the telly or sob your eyes out in front of Call the Midwife, Gogglebox is full of people just like us, doing the things that we do all the time.

And we love us.

That's it. That's the secret. We are all a tiny, little bit self-obsessed.

Gogglebox is on Fridays at 9:00pm on Channel 4.



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