When people ask me what TV shows I watch, I have the same canned answers - Community, Castle, Revenge, How I Met Your Mother, The Big Bang Theory, etc. I usually throw in Survivor, because it's a show that I have watched since season 2 with my family. I even tried out for the Survivor about a year or so ago (didn't get it). But even though I watch all those other shows, I also am hopelessly addicted to Pawn Stars, Storage Wars, American Pickers and Chopped.
I was going to say I don't know why I watch these shows so religiously, but that would be a lie. I think/know the reason why I watch the first three. I have a crap-ton of stuff and I love to see the crap-ton of stuff other people have and how much it's worth. I know I don't have a 1910 bicycle, but I do know I have some expensive out of print DVD's and books. Apparently I can't get enough of vicarious discovery.
As for Chopped, I just love the contest/cooking combination. I have one of the most limited palates known to man, and I don't think I would eat a full plate of what they serve on the show, but I love the confidence that these chefs exhibit. And I also can't get enough of the judges. They aren't overly mean or overly nice, they're just so persnickity that it lets me empathize with the contestants.
Oh, and of course, there's The Amazing Race. I really have no explanation as to why I watch this. I don't like to travel. Some of the challenges they have to do seem near-impossible. I dislike more of the contestants than I like. But the way the show is edited just manages to keep me on the edge of my seat.
None of these shows have any historical merit. 20 years from now Community will still be discussed as a brilliant show. But Chopped will just be another show that existed at one time. Am I wasting hours of my life by watching the shows? Perhaps. But I will say, that on this particular Monday night, I have experienced no stress. And maybe that's all these shows are supposed to do - simply be a release valve for me after a long day of work.