The Charmed Life: A Telly Addict’s Story

Having always been one for enjoying a guilty pleasure or two in terms of television programmes, I’ve recently found myself engaged in a quite horrifying habit. Every day at 3pm I am forced to sit down and watch the latest episode of Charmed, which E4 have decided to start showing in reruns on weekday afternoons, much to my dismay. Yes, dear friends, I am dismayed because I CAN’T STOP WATCHING IT.

For those of you fortunate enough to be removed from the little bubble of my life (i.e. my luckless housemates, who I have forced upon several occasions to catch up on the aforementioned programme with me – LUFF YIZ HUNNIEZ) the basic plotline of Charmed involves the adventures of three witches, Piper, Phoebe and Paige, a.k.a. The Charmed Ones (all capital letters, to show how important they are and stuff).

Originally, there was a sister named Prue, but the actress playing her turned out to be quite the little head-wrecker, so she was killed off and replaced with the fabulous Rose McGowan (Paige). She was drafted in as the daughter Piper and Phoebe’s mammy had had with her Whitelighter – a guardian of sorts who is assigned to a particular witch or coven of witches in the mortal realm who has the power to heal, and always seems to possess the most amazing eyes.

The elders oversee the magical realm and they were all like “OH HELL NO, NO INTERBREEDING LADS” and made it so that Paige had to be given up for adoption, reuniting with her other two sisters 25 years later. Cue happy sobs and ecstatic clapping.

It’s basically the best programme I’ve ever seen, and at the same time, the worst. For example, Paige and Phoebe are absolutely gorgeous, and always dressed in class wee outfits – they even pull off the ‘leather on leather’ look. And then Piper, as the eldest sister, seems destined to have a ‘What Are You Wearing?!’ moment in every episode. And don’t get me started on the two long strands of hair that crowned her face long after the rest of the world had come to their senses about this ‘style statement’. HIDEOUS.

Then we have the storylines. Some of them are heartbreaking – the saga of Phoebe’s love for Cole, the demon-turned-mortal-turned-Lord of the Underworld, made me shed more than one tear. I was an emotional wreck when Piper and Leo’s baby was born – Leo being the Charmed One’s Whitelighter, they got to break all the rules that had split up their mother from Paige all those years ago. I’m not quite sure why.

At the same time, I watched an episode last week that saw The Charmed Ones save a band of leprechauns from a demon who was trying to steal all their luck to take over the underworld. Oh. My. God. Tell me, what is it with Americans that it seems perfectly acceptable, despite the plethora of Irish actors over there looking for work, to employ a person who is clearly not even EUROPEAN to play an Irish person. God, the attempts of our accent were painful. All ‘fiddle-dee-dee’ and the usual sweeping generalisations. For example, the leprechauns travelled everywhere by rainbow (I know, I know). In order to make a rainbow appear, they would tap their canes off the ground and shout ‘Go n’eiri an bothar leat’ – which can translate into anything from ‘May the road rise to meet you’ to ‘Glaaack, I’ll see ye later down the pub for cans’. An interesting episode, to put it lightly.

Yet I keep watching. I don’t know whether it’s the family bond I enjoy, or seeing what wacky clothes these crazy girls will be wearing next, or whether just because it’s mindless entertainment that I find enjoyable, because I am shallow as a puddle. I don’t care. ‘You shut your mouth, how can you say I go about things the wrong way?’ Yeah, that’s right, I know the theme tune. Charmed fan forever, baby.

Claire O’Connell

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