My Top Netflix Guilty Pleasures!

Netflix. It’s the home to so much event or quality programming, am I right? We are spoiled for choice with all of the searing drama and sophisticated modern comedy.

But my favourite thing about Netflix, or one of them, is….the copious glut of guilty pleasure viewing available at the mere click of a button. Shows you might not have considered when they aired on t.v., because you have STANDARDS….somehow, on Netflix, become like glittering little nuggets of temptation – “I’ll just watch one to see how bad it actually is!” you tell yourself – cue 48hrs later and you are gripped, I tell you. I will share with you some of my deepest darkest loves that dare not speak their name!

The Client List: As mentioned above, I will dive right in to the murky depths! I never saw The Client List, starring one of the o.g. triple barrelled ones Jennifer Love Hewitt when it was on t.v. When it appeared on Netflix like a magical tempting unicorn, I thought “Mmm nah I have limits”. Which quickly led to “Let’s just see, it might be so bad it’s good”? Which it IS. It’s so bad, and so good, all at once. J.Love plays a Texan housewife (in Beaumont! I have been there, it’s near where my friend lives! It looks nothing like this!). Anyway her character Lacy (Lacey?!) has two adorable tots and a hunky husband and wears crop tops to kids’ parties like it’s 1996. Life is good. 

Except then she becomes a single Mom with nothing but a massage license to her name. Obviously legit massages are not going to pay the mortgage on a two bed ranch house (say what?), so Jennifer turns to the totally understandable plot device of becoming a happy endings sex worker! And…it’s weird. It’s SO weird. It was a Lifetime show so they don’t actually show anything graphic.

But in season one in particular (yes I stuck it out the full run to season two!); they portray the “massages” like one big happy sexy time for eh’rybody. 99% of the men look like they fell off of a fireman’s calendar – but it’s not really erotic, more comically bad (imo!), as if we can forget that J.Love is doing sex work. I mean, they portray her as briefly reluctant but then once she gets those dollar bills, she is super happy to be doing her job and more often than not also serves as an armchair psychiatrist/personal Columbo helping these men out with their REAL problems. So it’s uh...problematic.

But I can’t explain it, it is also weirdly watchable. Her Mom is played by Cybill Shephard, giving the role way more sass than it deserves, her kids are cute and her perfect brother in law is (of course) in love with her. The show goes to SUCH pains to try to make us see J.Love as a down home girl with a heart of gold, despite the hilarious way she eats sleeps and jogs in Bambi-esque fake lashes and uses her body as a weapon with every guy she meets.

Plus it subjects us to her singing way too often (which for me was part of the perverse enjoyment, I could so clearly imagine the production meeting with producer Hewitt: “So like I’ve done the sex work thing, now I get to sing karaoke to show I’m talented yeah?!”).

The massage parlour, especially in season one, is like a really benevolent sorority house run by a sassafras lady called Georgia (Loretta Devine), who is always likable in everything. The place has non-sexy massages to make it seem legit and just a handful (so to speak!) of  "special" clients who must sign confidentiality agreements and all of that jazz.

The real villain is portayed as the law and/or a mafia-esque rival pimp baddy, never the job itself. 

Unfortunately it phased out Cybill in s.2  (maybe she had better things to do!) and became more of a blatant star vehicle for J.Love, which made it less enjoyable as a show, but vaguely amusing as an exercise in untempered ego. Sadly it ended on a cliff-hanger, due to what sounds like major star vs. producers drama, leaving us all high and dry as a Texan border town.

Riverdale: Riverdale is a guilty pleasure for anyone who let’s be honest, is old enough to remember when Luke Perry was the young hottie, not the (still hot!) dad as he is in this show. Also Skeet Ulrich is a dad, and Shelley from Twin Peaks is a mom, and Molly Ringwald even turns up and makes the whole thing feel even more meta! Riverdale is a teen drama/murder mystery loosely based on the Archie comics,which again, I am old enough to have read.

 Archie and Betty and Veronica and Jughead and Moose are all present and accounted for in a town (called Riverdale ;-) that looks and feels a bit 50s but is thoroughly modern in its update. Moose is gay, Jughead is an EMO blogger from the wrong side of the tracks, and the show has wisely erased most of the Archie-Betty-Veronica love triangle rivalry.

Betty and Veronica’s friendship was prioritised and girl powered up in the first few episodes, which led to people ‘shipping them as a couple/the main story, because Archie is frankly a complete lugnut.

The actress playing Veronica emulates the wit and style of Gossip Girl’s Blair Waldorf before her, so it’s particularly hard to see what she would see in Archie. Betty also has layers of mystery and hints of a darker side in her character. Jughead is the only boy we care about/root for really, and if you want to feel a hundred years old I will tell you that the young actor who plays him, Cole Sprouse, also played Ross’s little boy Ben in Friends! 

Other than a few solidly good episodes, it’s eventually weighted down by its own import. The central murder mystery is too cartoonish to really care about. I feel like it started out amazing and ran out of steam fast. But if you are in need of a teen drama in your life give it a go, it is aiming to be more than it is, with its Twin Peaks aspirational moodiness, frankly stunning set and costume design, and occasionally snappy one liners.

Cheer Squad(!): I love this show! It is a reality show that follows a Canadian cheer team, The Great White Sharks, in the year following their double triumph at the World Championships of cheering. I learned a lot from Cheer Squad (seriously!). Competitive cheering is hard core, dangerous and awe inspiring. It’s not for sissies. These young women range in age from 15-early/mid-twenties, which surprised me. Many of them leave home at a young age to cheer with these elite teams, and sacrifice having much of a personal life because they are always training.

The show is slightly peculiar for a reality show, it mainly focuses on the Cheer Squad practicing and competing, which becomes absolutely mesmeric (if you like to watch gymnastics you will love this show). The little snippets of personal life it shows of the team are oddly sweet and drama free. Like at the start they introduce a highly peroxided character called Knoxy who self identifies as a straight shooter, and anyone who has watched reality t.v. thinks “Uh oh here is the source of drama!”

Except, spoiler…there is no drama between the girls. Which sounds boring if you are used to most reality shows, but this show, as it progresses, becomes ever more inspirational with how completely these young women stick together when the going gets tough. There is never any blaming or finger pointing when the stunts are going repeatedly wrong, costing them their reputation as world beaters.

Competitive cheerleading also has nothing to do with pom poms or being sexy for sports teams, it really is all about girl power and strength - yes, the girls are mostly crazy ripped, especially the bases, my goal is now to have base biceps lol! They never talk about their bodies or seem to stress about food at all, there is even a competition for chocolate bunnies at one practice and we see the girls eat pasta and ice cream. I feel like this would be a good show for young women to watch as they portray a group of young women who are athletes and not unhealthily obsessed with their bodies.

Their coach Ali is a ray of sunshine who does get frustrated but despite some tense moments always finds a way to lift, not deflate their spirits. The squad struggles to regain their form all season despite training hard and it’s actually really painful to watch at times. You are rooting for them so much by the end, when they put on their thick coats of makeup for competition it has more of a war paint vibe than anything. It is absolutely gripping stuff.

Very sadly they don’t seem to be making any more seasons, they didn’t this past year anyway, but I hope they do make more because it is so rare for reality t.v. to be so uplifting and positive. I include it in “guilty pleasures” merely as it’s a show most people would classify as such without knowing much about it (I know I did going into it). To me it showed Canadian kindness combined with cheering is such an unlikely and inspiring salve! 

So from so trashy and so bad it’s good to genuinely uplifting reality, those are my tops picks right now! What are your Netflix guilty pleasures?


  1. I think the only one I've heard about is the riverdale one? And would you believe, even though I watch a ton of tv, I never turn the tv on??? ha, if my husband wasn't here, I don't think I'd watch any tv. which is weird, because there are so many shows I love. so to be honest i don't ever scroll through netfix and see whats up or whatever it is people do on there.

    but we all need our guilty pleasures! the only show that i "found" that isn't something my husband watches, but is something I haven't watched in ages either, is Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries. because i tend to just watch whatever he puts on, whenever he puts it on, if that makes sense. Though I've noticed he hasn't been into Fargo, but puts that on for me since he knows I love it.

    1. I always hear good things about Miss Fisher, I don't know if it's on over here though,or if it is I have somehow missed it! The Client List ended a couple of years ago but they just put it on Netflix, that's another weird thing over here, even before Netflix was a thing, like sometimes we get U.S. shows that you know ahead of time have been cancelled after a year or two (we get them later though it has gotten better over the years), so going into it you're like, a bit detached/trying not to get invested. Which you usually do anyway lol. ;-)

  2. I will definitely give Riverdale a go. I am looking for new shows as all the ones I love have finished or I have got a bit bored with them.

    1. I think you might like it! Especially the costume design, it's pretty impressive! :-)

    2. Also you can now binge the whole first series, whereas I was watching it as it was released one episode a week, it might be better as a binge! ;-) x

  3. Hahahahaha omg Steff! When do you have time to watch that all? You are always doing something so I am really impressed you watch TV too :) Much love, Iga x

  4. I've heard of Riverdale and have been kind of interested in it, but reading this makes me really want to check it out. And the other two seem quite interesting, too. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I don't have Netflix (because I live in the dark ages!) but Cheer Squad sounds exactly my kind of thing! And even better that it's bitchy drama-free

    1. The first month of Netflix is free and you can cancel any time, which I like, I hate the tied to an annual contract thing with Amazon Prime(though we always re-up!) ;-)