Until today I had never seen an episode of Style Network’s “Giuliana & Bill.” And now that I have, I’m wondering why anyone would watch this show on a regular basis.
Obviously someone out there likes it. Tonight was the fifth (!) season premiere, which apparently was much more serious than usual as it tackled Giuliana’s diagnosis and treatment for breast cancer.
I wouldn’t say “E! News” host Giuliana Rancic and her “Apprentice”-winning husband Bill are bad, or even boring, people. I’m just curious where the appeal in an entire show chronicling their relationship lies.
This is all pure speculation, but here are five possible explanations for why people watch:
1) They love Giuliana and/or Bill
The most obvious, but also the hardest to defend. Based on the season premiere they do seem to care about each other, but there’s little evidence of actual chemistry or endearing affection in their relationship. Granted, most of the hour is supposed to be a study of a marriage under pressure — during her ongoing efforts to get pregnant, a doctor tells Giuliana to get a mammogram and pap smear, and the results come back with early signs of breast cancer — and the show wasn’t even allowed (we presume) to film the most harrowing moments of Giuliana’s hospital visits. Instead the story is constructed primarily out of talking head interviews with Giuliana and Bill remembering how they were feeling at the time, some footage from shows like “E! News” and “The Today Show” and even still photos.
The story is ultimately intended as an inspirational/instructional one. Giuliana caught her cancer early enough that she was able to get it taken care of, and now she wants to make sure other women do the same. That’s a terrific goal, but not much reason to add her to your TiVo season pass.
2) They hate Giuliana and/or Bill
So much of reality TV seems to exist simply so viewers can hate on the people they’re watching. And as Giuliana is in the middle of her breast cancer crisis but still takes time to fret about a fancy Emmy red carpet dress that bunches up around her pelvis giving the vague appearance of a “little penis.”
It’s not like people with cancer need to halt their normal lives. But you’d think it might reorient your priorities a little? At one point she actually says, “I finally got through fashion week, and if that wasn’t hard enough then I had the Emmys.” But, you know, she has cancer so is it still fun to hate someone who says stupid things like that when they’re also suffering something you wouldn’t ever want to be faced with?
3) They’re jealous of Giuliana and/or Bill
She talks to celebrities on the red carpet! She doesn’t have her body hair shaved, she has it lasered! She works with Ryan Seacrest! He won a competition show hosted by Donald Trump! If only all our lives were so charmed, right?
4) They’re really, really interested in the drama of IVF
I guess this has been an ongoing storyline on the show. Giuliana and Bill really want to get pregnant, but it’s been a major struggle. Plenty of people can relate. So I’ll give the show the benefit of the doubt and presume that some episodes treat the issue with sensitivity and insight. (Look, I said this post was speculative, alright?)
5) They like to complain there’s “nothing on TV,” but then ignore all the good stuff
“Mad Men.” “Game of Thrones.” “Parks and Recreation.” “Justified.” “The Good Wife.” “Awake.” “New Girl.” “The Big C.” “Modern Family.” There are plenty of quality shows worth watching on TV right now. If you’re not home when they air, DVR and watch them later. If you’ve got time to kill, watch a fun competition show like “The Voice” or maybe even “Dancing with the Stars.” David Letterman is still funny, the ladies on “The View” are still crazy, Jon Stewart will keep you informed and maybe make you laugh. You have options! Or you could read a book, listen to music, go outside. And then, if you’ve done all that… I guess you could watch “Giuliana & Bill.”
Do you watch “Giuliana & Bill”? Why? What do you think would’ve happened if Giuliana went on the red carpet with the “little penis” poking out of her dress?