How TV Ruined Your Life

2011 ,    »  -   69 Comments
Ratings: 8.24/10 from 117 users.
How TV Ruined Your Life

Comedy series in which Charlie Brooker uses a mix of sketches and jaw-dropping archive footage to explore the gulf between real life and television.

Ever wondered why life doesn't measure up to those youthful lofty expectations? From love and money to fear and progress, Charlie Brooker explores a different universal theme each week as this six-part series attempts to explain where it all went wrong and just how wildly the TV and movie ideal differs from life's grim reality.

Marking the point where the mad daydreams of TV and the sorry reality of real life collide, the series employs a mixture of archive footage, sketches and interviews that will have you wiping away tears of laughter while nodding in recognition, which means you’ll probably have your eye out if you're not careful.

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69 Comments / User Reviews

  1. Gary V

    A great doc if your British & old enough to remember the TV programs (as I am). Very nostalgic & sarcastically funny too. I think that there is supposed to be a cautionary moral tale about how TV is bad for you in there somewhere, but it's just too funny to care about. If your not British then you probably will not relate to it as much I do & will not find it quite so funny. Give it a watch & see what you think of it, It will give you an insight to British culture & humour.

  2. kris sto

    I managed to watch 7 minutes.....

  3. gabbledegook

    I agree with Gary V best if your British and of that "certain age" some of the clips took me back and a very funny take on scaremongering tv

  4. Cameron Hughes

    This is why I don't watch TV.

  5. Earthwinger

    Charlie Brooker is a legend! As has been said earlier, his humour probably doesn't travel very well, but if you're familiar with British tv, and you appreciate extremely caustic humour, then I'd recommend it.

    I always liked Charlie Brooker quite a lot, but since I saw his tribute to the sadly now deceased Oliver Postgate, he's shot up in my estimation. For any other Brit folks here of a certain age, if you missed it the first time around, you'll find his tribute to Postgate on Youtube. I don't mind admitting, I shed a few tears when I watched that.

    To all those that find Brooker a tad obnoxious, spare a thought for him, and bear in mind the quagmire of drivel that has to wade through so he can critique it. No wonder he's grumpy! ;)

  6. adilrye

    Ironically...isn't/wasn't this shown on TV?

    I can't lie, I love TV. I love keeping up with shows. And I know that millions of Americans (and Canadians) structure their weeknights based on tv shows.

  7. Sieben Stern

    amazing - both hilarious and biting at the same time. he pulls no punches in poking consumer culture in it's eye.

  8. DomCar

    why do you love the fact that Americans and Canadians structure there weeknights based on TV shows? Not a dig or a criticism, I'm just curious.

  9. Marion Bruns

    ... good to know that there are more of us out there that aren't fond of the television set.

  10. Guest

    Yup tv is $hit awful but at least the bbc still makes a few good programs like this. I only take the cable tv box since they said they would charge me 45 dollars more a month on my communication bill if i did not take it home....? Thats $540 per year extra to refuse their cable box. I guess the goverment does not want people to get their information from the internet but from their corporate aproved news media outlets on cable tv. The devil now charges people who dont want to watch their hypnotize propaganda idiot box. I think I agree with Charlie Brooker tv is more dangerous than any terrorist could be to mankind. At least we have the internet to counter balance the corporate media/marketing mind enema cable tv provides us with 24/7 on 156 channels. Thx TDF for the links to the 1% of video media worth watching for entertainment.

  11. Thomas Paine

    Oh, please. Computers with internet access are super TVs. You are not special or unique.

  12. Earthwinger

    Although I'm guessing your comment is intended to be a negative one, given the nature and intent of the series, it could equally be regarded as a ringing endorsement of the show. ;)

    To be fair, the first two parts aren't exactly vintage Brooker, but the later episodes, particularly the two that look at aspiration tv and love, are just pure class!

  13. leonardobdas

    This is should be in the comedy section too....LMAO

  14. leonardobdas

    "he says: [Miley Cyrus] is perhaps the only convincing argument I've ever seen for China's unofficial policy of discarding female infants at birth." AHAHHA now that would not go well in american television.

  15. Joseph Carl Ruger

    Good fun

  16. Norm

    This doc is right on the money and beneath the humor, there is a sad truth to almost everything he said!

  17. wald0

    American television makes fun of Miley all the time, along with all the other plastic disney kids. There is still a considerable sub-culture in the US that hates pop-culture bubble gum. The networks have learned to cater to the teen agers and pop-culture junkies because these are the people that consume, consume, consume. But outside of prime time programming there are still a few entertainers like Bill Mayer and John daily that have something of substance to say, and for them Miley and co. catch no slack.

  18. leonardobdas

    I can see Maher and Stewart say whatever they want, absolutely in their cable tv programming. BBC2 as far as my knowledge is a public service tv PBS. It is commercial free and largely government owned, not 'unregulated' cable like HBO or Comedy Central. English culture allows for a level of satirical pessimism that would be very hard to digest for Americans if Regis and Kelly Ripa started to slam about how miley cyrus should have been aborted.....

  19. Clix (????)

    I love your approach where you're trying to cut to size some pompous egos here, but there is a vast difference between the two. TV's a vastly passive experience, and the internet significantly not so. Even youtube requires some level of interaction. No value judgement here if one is better than the other. They are, however, two significantly different experience.

  20. przemyslaw wiejak

    This is a horror!

  21. KsDevil

    I serve my lord and master, the TV. I am nothing without instruction from TV. All hail TV. Excuse me, but the TV is calling me and I must obey.

  22. adilrye

    I never said I loved it, just pointed it out

  23. esmuziq & frames

    hahahahaha this guy is hilarious

  24. David Foster

    I am gross and perverted
    I'm obsessed and deranged
    I have existed for years
    But very little had changed
    I am the tool of the government
    And industry too
    For I am destined to rule
    And regulate you

    I may be vile and pernicious
    But you can't look away
    I make you think I'm delicious
    With the stuff that I say
    I am the best you can get
    Have you guessed me yet?
    I am the slime oozing out
    From your TV set

    You will obey me while I lead you
    And eat the garbage that I feed you
    Until the day that we don't need you
    Don't go for one will heed you
    Your mind is totally controlled
    It has been stuffed into my mold
    And you will do as you are told
    Until the rights to you are sold

    That's right, folks..
    Don't touch that dial!

    ~ Frank Zappa, I'm The Slime, 1973

  25. communism_works

    I was cheering the SS too... oh, so sad.

  26. Mad

    Thanks for you sharing this, a must see for any TV head

  27. PaulGloor

    Amusing... now are you afraid to watch TV ?

  28. lievesley

    awesome ;0

  29. Nick Arrizza

    The fear based memories can now be completely erased leaving you feeling resilient and renewed. Check out the Mind Resonance Process (MRP).

  30. Nick Arrizza

    The fear based memories can now be completely erased leaving you feeling resilient and renewed. Check out the Mind Resonance Process (MRP).

  31. Nick Arrizza

    Fear based news is inherently traumatic. Trauma causes a hypnotic dissociation i.e. makes individuals less conscious by sending them into a form of waking hypnotic trance. The more exposure one has to such news trauma the deeper the trance. Another way of saying this is that the individual becomes less present and hence less connected to the reality of their situation. This makes them less discerning and hence more vulnerable to further manipulation. A new process called the Mind Resonance Process (MRP) can completely reverse this trance like state helping individuals wake up and reclaim their empowered state.

  32. eyecandy_babydoll


  33. Grim Berge

    Amazing series! Btw Brooks looks like a white Laurence Fishburne:) And the questions he asks, have many similarities to Fishburnes character in The Matrix, - Morpheus.

  34. Remco Gerritsen

    Saw the documentary on BBC2 and each night I enjoyed it very much, laughed a lot:D

  35. Rachelnico

    Hilarious, I really enjoyed this one.

  36. who_me_yeah_you

    At the risk of not finding better, Girl you'll do...ROTFLMOA

  37. thedude44

    Where can I get my laser-cow?

  38. Snoik

    12 mins: QED, but also Threads, which followed americas the day after. Now Threads has to be the worst thing a 12 year old could've watched. The image of Ruth walking past that woman holding the infant, who doesn't move, but her eyes do. (I should learn to type comments after watching i guess?)

  39. Snoik

    Ep 3 at 07 whole scene: thats my career advisor. Note to Charlie Brooker... the 1st sign of madness is: shouting at the tv. 2nd sign of madness: buying a revolver and shooting the tv.

  40. dave.eggermont

    Don't say it didn't, it did!

    Loved it.

  41. fonbindelhofas

    LOL awsom!

  42. Imightberiding

    Good stuff! Very funny, brilliantly sensible observations.

  43. Guest

    Yes, they could have added a few seasons.

  44. mike hussey

    wow... Really very nice.. I love this very much...

  45. SirSweetieSarah

    ............and even ron weasly isnt safe!

  46. WhatIsThatSong

    Does anyone know the title of the song playing in the background from approx. 2:30 - 3:45 mins in the Fear episode of this series?

  47. evcs21

    @David Foster. Just think if Zappa witnessed what is transpiring these days!

  48. Mantas Dobkevicius


  49. UnderSiege

    "Ginger Beer" such a brilliant, hilarious spoof...meticulously portrayed by ALL
    "Now send in your parents so we can have them strangled". [paraphrased?]

    That must be satire at its finest!

  50. Dick Beninya

    I've watched a lot of documentaries, quite a few here. This is the one that got me to subscribe. Even though it is long, it is informative, and entertaining. Lot's of food for thought. Never seen Brooker before but if this is any indicator he is my kind of comedian.

  51. AIDY

    Excellent choice of subject for satire.

  52. pusspussbangbang0555

    did you brew this or find it outside some Welsh clinic Clearly an allussion to the dumping of body parts or foetuses Ive lived in France for the last ten years and I don't understand . Please enlighten me

  53. pusspussbangbang0555

    Here in deep france, the aspirations of the young is how to get out of this patriachial subordination Television and MTV in particular give an immpression that the streets are paved with gold,so, the young leave ,get their baccalaureat and stay in the citys Dessertification is a serious proplem here ,but all politiciens never address the problem; Create emloyment by using the natural resources at hand,seems to be anathema to all concerned, but not to the Brits, we live here and will continue to promote the positive aspects of the regions such as la Creuse,correze and the Haute Vienne .Marine le Pen hates all "foreighners" She thinks because we are white ,we will support her, in her endeveur to alianate races, she is sadly mistaken, we as ex-pats have no voice in the generals, but we make our voice heard in the municipals, Our voice can change French politics,at the cost of a few broken windows,a scuffle in the bar ,but WE ARE HERE TO STAY

  54. HFgm

    Charlie Brooker deserves a Nobel prize for his series, especially this one. Is there a Nobel prize for speaking the truth?

  55. Shane Grayson

    This was a fun and informative documentary, or was it? How do I know that he is not another "boob-tube" lying to me? My entire sense of TV reality is broken!

    Great film mate! Too bad it had to end :(

  56. porichkid

    funny but true

  57. porichkid

    funny but true

  58. David Gonzalez

    are you hugging the tv?

  59. Sam

    Thought provoking hoot.

  60. Raf

    Haven't had a TV set in many years, everything that this man says just rings the perfect bell. Amazing piece. Should be shown in schools :)


    Hysterical. Absolutely hysterical. I never bought a TV when I left home. The opportunity didn't knock and as more time passed by, I actually started to enjoy not knowing what everyone else knew. I read books instead.

    Edward Bernays (Father of Public Relations and advertising) features in a LOT of the documentaries about how we have been manipulated for the last 70 years. It is nice to know about Edward Bernays, but... it's a boring fact.

    Mr. Brooks on the other hand - made me laugh so many times - I could not fail to see exactly how Edward's disciples carried on after they got the hang of it.

    Don't miss this one. It's great.


    I totally agree! There are a ton of people who need to start the de-programming process.

  63. pevs

    This show is damn funny, and the subject matter is important.

  64. bluetortilla

    Not having grown up with British public TV, I feel I got whacked anew with this creepy stuff. So I'd say TV ruined my life, again.

  65. blaice

    Only seen the first portion, but I absolutely love this satire. Granted, to the very naive, I suppose it's not a satire haha. Love it.

  66. Anna

    I grew up without television. Always thought kids from countries with television were smarter than we were. They were a lot more sophisticated. When TV came, I was an adult and found it a great comfort when feeling stressed, lonely or depressed. Then I thought it was wrong to find comfort in a machine. For the past 20-odd years I have lived without TV by choice. It is not informative. Just an illustrated headline service. Better to scan the headlines of newspapers, and read informative books. Watch documentaries.

  67. julian

    "Your mind is wet under the programming shower- ...the broadcast of lies"

  68. Jesus

    °...I'm an american, a Californian from Mexican descent . I am not educated past high school.... Where to start...

    psychologists were puzzled by the reactions on a particular group of people who have at some time had a near death experience (NDE).

    These people did not show the typical responses.

    Rather, they were characterized by unselfishness, cooperation towards the common good and were markedly non-material.

    It is theorized that Mortality Salience elicits fear of the "unknown" in most people.

    But in people who have experienced death already, this is a known phenomenon -- what has been termed a Death Reflection.

    With the Death Reflection, the Anxiety Buffer is not needed, implying that the terror of death has been overcome

  69. Jesus

    Bow. Books are very old media. The days for books are gone. People don't have that much time to read, because reading is active; you have to do something. Television is perfectly okay. You have nothing to do; you simply sit and see.

    So something that is active is not going to spread very fast - rather, something that people can simply sit and see. And eyes are more powerful than ears. When you listen to something you tend to forget it, but when you see something, you remember. Seeing is the most primitive language, so through TV the most primitive has become the most modern.

    Children see... their language is pictorial. If you talk about mangoes, you have to show them the picture; the picture comes first. Through the picture they learn the word cat. By and by the picture is forgotten; superimposed by the word. Then we talk about a cat, never realising that there is no corresponding picture inside.

    Mind has become more verbal on the superficial level, but deep down it remains pictorial. If you think of love, you start visualising... imagination starts working. Hence the appeal of pornography - because you can see something. And it has been realised for centuries that the eyes are very potential. That's why we say, 'Never believe a word that you have heard. But if you have seen it, then it is true.' But why? Why so much preference for the eyes and not for the ears?

    Whatsoever is seen, people think is true, so TV is used by all sorts of people; because when people see, they believe. Seeing is believing. The moment you see, you cannot doubt - hence all the

    advertising that goes on. In fact TV shows are not meant for shows; they are just in between two advertisements. The real thing is the advertisement.

    When you are relaxed and in a passive mood, anything that is said to you or you see, impresses deeply. You are vulnerable, almost in a hypno-sleep. And when you are watching for hours together, the eyes become focused, hypnotised. TV is the latest hypnosis. People become almost glued to their chairs; they cannot move - and then the advertisement.

    In the past also, we have always talked about seers. Those who have realised the truth, we call seers. In India, philosophy is called vision - darshan. The truth has been seen. But why seen? Why not heard? Why not touched? Why not smelled? Why not tasted? Because eyes are just a member of this whole operation of senses, but they are very dominating.

    Almost eighty percent of your personality is dominated by the eyes, so the book is almost out of date. Now people would like to see, and soon people will be seeing books also; they will not be reading. Sooner or later books are going to disappear. There will be microfilms of books so you can just put them on the projector and see the books moving on the screen; you can simply sit.

    Film is one of the most potential things that man has yet invented. It has given people their childhood again... again they can think in pictorial language.

    So go back home and think about it, mm? And continue meditating....

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