So we'd love haughtily to report that either the stunningly brilliant Sherlock or the deliciously sophisticated Downton as our top pick TV box viewing last year, but it is with unashamed volume we announce that it is the act of watching other people watching their own tele boxes that has come up trumps. Yes Gogglebox (or as Mother Mac says "That googley thing") you have won our hearts and minds, thank you Channel 4, thank you for the ability to double snort whilst crying and chuckling simultaneously. Although named lazy and crass by some cynics, none can argue that the show has connected the millions of viewers every week with a resounding 'that's what we do/say, we're all the same!'
Inspired by the raw, unfussy genius of 'The Royal Family' (Dave from said programme actually narrates it) we observe a cross section of families and units of Great British society simply commentating on the moving images they see before them from the comfort of their sofas. Ironically if we apply this theory to real life we'd be peering through neighbours windows being accused of dodging paying a TV license. Without spiralling into the mind boggling pool of sociology, our fascination with ourselves and all we want is familiarity etc etc, the programme is in the first instance genuinely 'spill yer tea' funny.
Leon and June are our favourites by a country mile, a couple of retired school teachers, Leon can sometimes drop splinters of ignorance, but June's 'voice of reason' corrects the negative to equal truly endearing television. From Miley Cyrus's VMA performance 'She's grabbing her pokey isn't she" to shouting out *insert swear words* during the conundrum section of countdown, his pithy one liners and constant request for crackers never fail!
I've cried more at this show than I ever did at Matthew Crawley's death and sobbed even harder watching them 'greet' watching Matthew Crawley's death. A simple touch of the hand from the gin drinking, sloshed couple on their couch, is the stripped down human interaction and vulnerability we look for in a TV drama. There is also some comfort in the diverse groups mirroring each other's reactions to Question Time, a refreshing insight into our countries views instead of hearing diluted/warped/agenda fuelled alterations from panelists, spokes people or statistics.
In an age where we are in danger of all watching separate programmes alone on different devices and muttering to ourselves, this show reinforces the theory that television should not be a solitary activity and can actually bring families together and help us question ourselves and our opinions. The second beauty is that regardless of the content of the programmes, the act of reacting to what we see in front of us, is not elitist and everyone feels confident enough to analyse and comment - even if just to say "Its nice to look at but its all going over my head" about the latest David Attenborough.
Twitter however does mean that we can all be in each others living rooms and create our own 140 character reactions, so switch the telly it on, get the sofa trays and ample snackage, pass us the remote and lets get chatting...bagsie not on the first tea break!