Narcos (Netflix)

    8 TV shows you can’t discuss in the office

    26 February 2020

    The news that you can’t discuss football in the office, for fear of offending the delicate and dainty sensibilities of ‘the ladies’ has slashed conversation across the nation on Monday mornings.

    But the footie isn’t the only problematic thing on the box…

    The Great British Bake Off

    Cake is for everyone: Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry

    Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry

    To admit that you indulge in this saccharine show is to demonstrate your complete disregard for your fellow employees, especially the diabetic, the gluten-intolerant and the overweight, for whom mention of Paul Hollywood’s buns constitutes emotional torture. It’s also pretty obtuse of you to admit that, in an age where food banks exist up and down the country, you would of your own free will watch twelve-odd (and they usually are) people producing veritable feasts before your eyes, only a mouthful of which actually gets eaten. You hate the poor, is what I’m saying.

    Dr Who

    Jodi Whitaker arrives at a Doctor Who screening (Getty)

    Jodi Whitaker arrives at a Doctor Who screening (Getty)

    There once was a time when Dr Who was groundbreaking television — it was terrifying, approaching science fiction in a way no one else had done before. But it was, nevertheless, a children’s show. It remains so today, but with all the complexity of a gnat, a political agenda and a great deal more nerdiness. Out yourself as a super-fan at your peril.

    The Island, with Bear Grylls

    Bear Grills (Getty)

    A more blatant display of toxic masculinity you will never see — the show about the SAS at least makes sure all the participants are hot. Not so with this one, which is far too male to be allowed on Channel 4 of all places.

    More than that, though, in a post Brexit world, it is politically divisive to discuss islands. The Island is a constant reminder of the nightmarish fact that, like parted lovers, we are not and never will be geographically hewn to our European friends. It’s also a potentially harmful invocation of the post-Brexit apocalypse we all face, complete with sand storms, food shortages and crocodiles. But that’s not the only dangerous island-based show in town…

    Love Island

    Love Island’s 2019 winners Jack Fincham and Dani Dyer (Getty)

    It’s the show where perma-tanned huns and hunks with more abdominals than GCSEs get their kit off to lounge about a pool and talk about ‘cracking on’ with each other. Is this code for sexual intercourse or sharing cocaine? We cannot be sure, but the subject of Love Island must be broached with tact at work: you can ruminate intellectually on what has led such a shallow premise for TV show to take off among the masses – just don’t accidentally let slip any of the cast’s names, lest you give away the fact that you are, like the rest of the nation, glued to the series.


    Actors Pedro Pascal, Boyd Holbrook and Wagner Moura attend the Season 2 premiere of Netflix's "Narcos"

    Actors Pedro Pascal, Boyd Holbrook and Wagner Moura attend the Season 2 premiere of Netflix’s “Narcos” (Getty)

    The war on drugs is not your light entertainment. Cocaine, contrary to the previous paragraph about Love Island, is not amusing, and neither are fat Mexicans, 80s moustaches or cowboy hats. To glorify any of this is to place yourself on the side of violent crime — but you also run the risk of being a racist if you talk about any of these things negatively. So its best not to bring it up at all — think what Pablo Escobar used to do to people who talked too much, and then remember how much less cool your boss is than Pablo Escobar. The ignominy of being handed your p45 by a man in a Marks and Spencer suit is worse than being done in by a bloke in a tight Hawaiian shirt.

    Queer Eye

    Premiere Of Netflix's "Queer Eye" Season 1 (Getty)

    Premiere Of Netflix’s “Queer Eye” Season 1 (Getty)

    Once upon a time, the format for this programme was simply about dressing heterosexual men — they couldn’t do it themselves, and needed the help of homosexual men to push on. Not so now, where the point of Queer Eye is to fill the void of chef, interior decorator and spiritual guide, too. It teaches people of all persuasions, but who are all uniformly down on their luck, to break free of the humdrum monotony of their lives, to be individuals, and to aim to be happier, and more fulfilled. This kind of up-beat life advice is far too jolly for the Monday morning groan-fest at the water cooler. Maybe stick to Brexit.

    Question Time

    Fiona Bruce (BBC Question Time)

    Fiona Bruce (BBC Question Time)

    The ultimate bear baiting experience, discussing it is the same as admitting that you enjoy bloodsports but don’t have the means to partake in them. Are you a Tory? A fascist or a communist? Either way, you’re definitely a masochist if you watch it, and a sadist if you try to inflict talk of it on the rest of us. What you do in your own sitting room in the privacy of your own house with other consenting BBCQT viewers is your own business — but you wouldn’t wear a gimp suit in the office, so leave the rest of your kinks at home.

    This Week

    This Week, hosted by Andrew Neil

    This Week, hosted by Andrew Neil

    Breathe the name of this now cancelled programme in the presence of a fellow fan and you’ll most likely give them heart ache for the rest of the week. It’s the same for all of those who sat through it – they may have suffered through Michael Portillo’s shirts but they miss it to this day nonetheless, like Vietnam veterans. You don’t know, man, you weren’t there!