Fake views: why most of us lie about the TV shows we’ve seen

No one likes to admit they’ve missed a major cultural event. Which is why 52% of us falsely claim to have watched the likes of Stranger Things or Game of Thrones

Name: TV bluffing.

Age: It probably dates back to the first regular BBC broadcasts in 1936.

Appearance: Imagined.

What are we talking about? We’re talking about talking about TV shows.

Which shows in particular? Popular shows such as Game of Thrones. Have you seen it?

Yes. Have you? I have. What about Stranger Things?

Yes, that is also a show. That I’ve seen. Are you certain? What’s it about?

It’s about things that are strange, to a generally larger degree than other things. I can see I’m talking to a bit of an aficionado.

I’m lying! I’ve never seen a single episode! Don’t worry, you’re not alone: in a new poll from RadioTimes.com, 52% of respondents admitted to lying about having seen a TV show, with Stranger Things and Game of Thrones the two most lied about.

What came third? Breaking Bad.

Never seen that, either. Why are we all bluffing? To avoid being left out during conversations with friends and colleagues.

That’s so depressing. How did it come to this? Probably because viewing habits have become so atomised. “With so much choice in a truly golden age of TV it’s almost impossible to see everything,” says RadioTimes.com’s editorial director Tim Glanfield.

And yet we still need to talk about stuff at work. Exactly, only there’s no such thing as water cooler TV any more.

My office doesn’t have a water cooler. Just a fridge full of kombucha. It’s also possible that people lie about having seen something so people will stop telling them they absolutely must see it.

Yeah, I had that with Schitt’s Creek. Oh my God, have you not seen Schitt’s Creek?

Er, yes, I have. Who’s your favourite character?

The woman. A diehard fan, then.

I’m lying again! How can I be better at this? Try pretending to be an episode behind, and shouting “No spoilers, please!” with your fingers in your ears.

I think I could carry that off. Or stick to generic comments – such as: “That guy can really cook!” – that could apply to Breaking Bad or Bake Off.

Would it also work for Stranger Things? Probably. I’m sure somebody makes a meal at some point.

I thought you you’d seen it. I have. Season 11 is the most hilarious yet.

Do say: “Did you catch yesterday’s Homes Under the Hammer? Best. Episode. Ever.”

Don’t say: “Head office are a bit concerned that you’ve never watched The Crown, because you’re the series producer.”

The GuardianTramp

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