Jezza K: A Student's Love Affair

Ever since I moved into my mouldy Portswood squat, my housemates and I have spent every daylight hour watching ITV’s signature show. Camped out in our overcrowded lounge, draped over […]

Ever since I moved into my mouldy Portswood squat, my housemates and I have spent every daylight hour watching ITV’s signature show. Camped out in our overcrowded lounge, draped over the sofa, moaning about how hard life as a student is and wondering how bored our coursemates are in the lecture we’re supposed to be in, but do we care? No – Jeremy Kyle is on.

Domino’s pizza boxes and the decaying remnants of their contents are strewn all over the floor, joined by empty cans of lager, Dorito packets and soggy playing cards. But all the mess and smell doesn’t matter because Jeremy Kyle is blaring out of the TV. You know what’s sad? I’m actually writing this from my sofa whilst being threatened with eviction from the living room because my typing is too loud. And rightly so; the results are just about to be announced on whether this unemployed crack addicts son is her brother’s. Nice.

That’s right Jez, keep shouting, that’ll get through to them!

Looking across at our sorry selves, it’s pretty disgraceful and I’m wondering why we ever decided to get that 32” from Freecycle in the first place. But what is the appeal of the tracksuits and paternity tests that causes poor lecture attendance, late coursework hand-ins and a collection of Desmonds?

Despite living in the same squalid conditions as most of the Jezza K contestants, we can’t relate to any of these ‘contestants’ at all; my housemates and I come from respectable families, have had a pretty decent education and, as far as I know, aren’t heroin addicts. But is that why we’re fascinated with the show? Is it the sheer differences between our lives that drive our unhealthy interests in watching the poor struggle to “put something on the end of it”? Perhaps a collection of the factors below are to blame for our obsession with what could possibly be the best student television show ever produced.

What’s the best way to solve domestic problems? Televise it.

The Jeremy Kyle Show is the perfect opportunity for viewers to feel good about themselves. Watching the benefit scroungers get humiliated on the box makes us feel safe in the knowledge that our student loan is the barrier between us and them. I’m grateful for my complete set of teeth and STD-free lifestyle after watching this morning’s dose of ITV2’s prime show. I’m also grateful that I don’t have to announce to the nation that I don’t sniff glue or that I haven’t had 3 children before I’m 20.

Jezza K reminds us that there’s a real world out there. Beyond the uni bubble and Portswood ghetto there’s actually reality beyond the booze and bantics of student life. Let’s face it, we don’t watch the news or read the papers and Mr Kyle is doing us a favour by informing us of the reality of society. It’s also a grave reminder of the possible extent of our graduate unemployment in five years time.

We’re in a position to judge. Us students are placed on the same level by society as those unemployed council-house scroungers. But we’re able to laugh at them knowing that our money from Mr Cameron is (supposedly) going to help get us into graduate jobs. Our ability to spell our names and conduct basic mental maths instantly leaves us mocking Jeremy’s contestants from our sofas.

The combined IQ of everyone on the platform is probably enough to lower the national average significantly.

The contestants are probably your next door neighbours. We love to laugh at the Portswood locals but Jezza puts this on a national scale and interrogates them for us, all from the comfort of our own living rooms. Have you ever wondered what your smack dealing neighbour gets up to? No need to worry, tune into ITV2 to see Jeremy ‘counselling’ someone who could be your neighbour’s brother, dad or uncle. It doesn’t matter who, though, because they’re probably the same person anyway.

Despite the obvious procrastination reasons, perhaps this is why we just can’t get enough of the tattoos and false teeth. But for now I’m going to go back to starting that 3,000 word essay that’s due in tomorrow. Well, after Jezza K has finished, of course.