I don’t watch a lot of television, but the shows I do watch are starting to infest my brain and change my behavior.
I find it too easy to fall behind in scripted shows, so I tend to watch reality competition shows. They are entertaining and require far less mental commitment after a crazy day at work. Chuck and I watch a lot of Food Network shows like “Chopped” or “Kids Baking Championship”, but our summers belong to CBS’ fluff-fest “Big Brother.”
I have watched nearly every season of “Big Brother” since the show debuted in 2000. It’s a lot like MTV’s “The Real World” only this group of clashing personalities lives in the “Big Brother” House, and they stay captive there for three months rather than being able to go out and explore the world around them. To keep things interesting, there are weekly competitions and someone is sent packing each week.
I initially started watching the show in high school because I was interested in studying psychology, and this was a juicy social experiment. Now, I just watch it because it’s fun. It borderlines trashy at times, but I enjoy it.
And Chuck will watch it with me, which is a huge bonus because it’s hard to get him to watch anything that doesn’t involve sports or big-budget movie explosions.
Each summer, Chuck and I watch “Big Brother” and pick our favorites and trash talk the “houseguests” as if we could do any better if we were in the same situation. Each season there is always at least one cast member who has a word or catchphrase that seems to keep popping up, whether intentional or otherwise.
This season, houseguest Kaycee Clark utters the words “Let’s go!” at least once per episode. It’s her go-to, get-pumped mantra. I have never used these words together as a rally cry – until this week.
It was an average Wednesday morning. Editor Kevin came by my desk to discuss the plan for publishing news on our website for the day. We talked over our options and timing, and when the discussion was over and he began walking back, I said: “Let’s go!”
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I didn’t yell it in the newsroom, but I used the inflection that I see Ms. Clark use on “Big Brother” as in “Yeah! Let’s put out a paper today! Let’s go!”
As soon as the words left my lips, I froze in place. Did I really just say that? How did I let this happen?
But this isn’t the first time the lines I’ve heard on a reality show have slipped into my daily speak.
Chuck and I started watching “Beat Bobby Flay” about a year ago. It seems to be on every week, so every week I hear Bobby Flay deliver the same introduction: “I’m Bobby Flay. Each week, one brave chef will try to take me down in my house. This culinary battle is gonna shake down in two rounds.”
I never used the phrasing “shake down” until I started watching the show. When I use it, I modify it occasionally to “shake out.” Example: “I’m sure you’ve done all you can. It will all shake out in the end.”
Get out of my head Bobby Flay!
I thought it was a good thing that I don’t watch that much TV, but perhaps watching a limited number of shows that follow the same pattern each week is just as damaging.
Thankfully, “Big Brother” concludes its summer season at the end of the month and Kaycee and her enthusiasm will fade from my memory and my lexicon. But I’m not sure how to handle Bobby Flay. We’ll have to see how it shakes out.