When Trash TV Proves Inspiring

I’m busy all weekend filming a short film which I predict will make for a life-long tale of hilarity for various reasons. So I’ll leave you with some musings that my favourite past-time left me with recently. 
This will probably not come as a surprise to you dear readers, but I love trashy TV. Love it! The more mindless the entertainment the better. A bit like this scene in “Gladiator”. 

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He was talking about people like me. Of course, I can be in the mood for something serious or educational, but when I come home, I like to turn my mind off just for a little bit and watch the foolish, drunken shenanigans of someone else.
But what to do when that turns on you? Enter “First Dates.” England does trashy TV really, really well. The premises of the show is that it’s set in a restaurant that is only for first dates of people who have never met each other and chatted a tiny bit online. Each week’s show just shows clips from various first dates and then, at the end, the couples sit down in front of the camera together and tell one another whether or not they want a second date. Usually the show is extremely silly, like everyone’s worst stories but on film. Last week though, it destroyed me. 
Instead of getting 20 and 30 something singletons throwing back shots and trying to not act awkward we got a 79 year old man who just wants a lady to be friends with as he misses female companionship as his wife Alzheimer’s took her away mentally in 2009 whilst physically she is still here. It was devastating.  There were tears and snot everywhere. I was a mess. 
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Here’s a confession: I get weirdly emotional about the elderly. Especially elderly couples. I almost couldn’t make it through “Up”. I was extremely close to my grandparents before they were both killed in a car accident. Also one of my greatest fears is dying alone. It’s a recipe for disaster for me. Watching my distress with equal parts alarm and confusion caused Sam to blurt out, “Why don’t we just go volunteer?!”
Which was a brilliant point. Why don’t we! So now I am looking into signing up for Befriending groups such as those through AgeUK, where people volunteer to go spend a few hours a week with someone who lives alone. 
Have any UK readers volunteered with Age UK or any similar organisation? Is there one in particular that you can recommend? Any specific to London?


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  • Ugh just reading this made me want to cry! I am the same, my great grandma was my favorite person in this world and I was lucky to have her until I was 16. I get very emotional over the elderly and I definitely cried in the theaters when watching Up.

    • I think people who’ve been really close to their elderly loved ones react in much more emotional ways because you can so easily picture them being lonely or vulnerable, which is awful. But happy thoughts because I’m sure your great grandma was absolutely fabulous and had an amazing fulfilling exciting life for you to look up to and admire! x

  • I’m the exact same way, I’m so incredibly close to my grandparents and have made long trips to see them when they weren’t well. I used to do this in America, you’ve inspired me to look into volunteering here too.

    • I’ve been doing the Age UK forms and they need UK references, but other than that it’s super easy for us as Americans to find volunteer placements! Especially if you’ve done it before! x

  • O no I cannot stand sad things pertaining to old people, Fredrik has worked in numerous elderly homes and I cry almost everytime he talks about anything to do with the patients.

  • Amy @ the tide that left

    I plan on volunteering for Age UK when I move back home. I love the idea of giving some of my time to be a companion for a few hours a week. Grannies love me!

    It must have been so hard to lose both grandparents in such a tragic way. No wonder you have some anxieties.

    Life long love is something special – I can imagine that poor fella on First Dates must find it so hard to watch his wife disappear. I’m glad he got up and out to meet new people. I’d have blubbed my way through that one. I caught an episode of the Undateables whilst back at Christmas and that had me in tears.

    • We had to stop watching the Undateables because I would get so emotional during it! Although Daniel might be my favourite person I’ve ever seen on tv. “Do you think you might want to fancy me?” was one of the sweetest things I’d ever heard.

      Have you already done the Age UK training? I’ve been doing the application pack for befriending and I’m very excited! (But also worried because most of my UK references either a)haven’t known me very long or b) are family. x

  • Breenah

    I totally bawled through the beginning of Up, while my pre-teen sister-in-law just gave me a side-eye. I would probably have cried during that episode too, I can barely make it through sweet commercials any more.

  • Amanda, omgosh, I’m so sorry that your grandparents passed away in a car accident. That’s horrible. I hope they lived a long and wonderful life before that though!!

    But yay for filming a short film! I hope it goes great! 🙂 It’s also wonderful that you’re looking into volunteering!

    • They did! My grandmother was something else (in the best, most fabulous way possible). She didn’t take shit from anyone and was the type of lady that would take spontaneous trips to Cuba by herself.

      And thank you!! x

  • Also, you may enjoy this. I watch this video over and over. It’s an Up remix and it just makes me smile:

  • i miss awful/wonderful british reality shows. but i would’ve been bawling over the old man too! and that is so sad about losing your grandparents so suddenly. i get so emotional about old people too – hope volunteering works out well for you!

  • I think it is so so so nice of you to want to spend time with the elderly that live alone. I live in a retirement community and when I’m delivering medication I am always invited into their homes. They always want me to stay and my heart always breaks for them.
    You mentioned your grandparents to me before and I just wanted to say that I think it’s so tragic that they passed in a car accident but at the same time how hopelessly romantic and comforting that they went together.. I hope you don’t mind me saying that.

    • Of course I don’t mind! It the position of age/vulnerability/loneliness that really gets to me! It’s so easy to imagine someone that you love in the same place! x

  • Ahhhh, I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this idea. If you want a volunteering friend, let me know! Also, I feel the same way about trashy tv…but am horrible at remembering to look for stuff online. I must get a tv if I stay here for another course.

    • Hurray! I’ll send you a text when I have something set in stone and see if your free/interested still! x

      • Sounds good to me! My schedule gets frighteningly free by end of April.. x

  • What a fantastic idea!
    (Ps. I have a secret ‘Don’t tell the bride & occasional Kardashians habit when no-one else is home)

    • Umm…. I legitimately LOVE Don’t Tell the Bride. When I heard that BBC3 was axed my first thought was “What about ‘Don’t Tell the’?!?!” x

  • I think that’s a great idea! UP makes me super emotional as well!

    • I’m glad it’s not just me. I saw it at the cinema and some people definitely gave me the side eye for crying at a cartoon! x

  • Karrine Beasley

    Oh old people make me sad too, especially old men dining alone, I have no idea why them specifically. It think it has to do with imagining if my dad was ever in the position and hoping he never is. Great idea!!

    • Yes! This! You never want your loved ones to be alone in case it makes them sad and vulnerable. x

  • Aww, I haven’t even seen the episode yet my heart hurts at how you described it! I understand why it made you cry. Sam had such a great idea! Good for you guys!