Reality television - a nail in the coffin of morality?
My name is Mike and I have a confession to make.
After lambasting both TVNZ and TV3 loudly in the past for the sheer amount of reality television shows on our screens I found a non-cooking one which spoke to me.
Sure, it's about another one of my interests, but it seems like this show should have enough to entertain even those curmudgeons who refuse to view any reality shows.
The show that's forced me to admit breaking my self-imposed reality ban? My Tattoo Addiction on TV3
I have three tattoos and have no regrets over any of them. In fact, I love them and want more. I think it's almost impossible to stop at just one.
But these people, it turns out, have tattoos that make you wonder what on earth was going through their heads when they got them.
With introductions such as 'Matt got his last 14 tattoos while drunk in Ayia Napa' it's virtually impossible to resist. And, boy, Matt must have been drunk to get them.
Not only did he get the company he worked for tattooed across his chest, he got the most offensive swear words inked in random spots all over his body.
But Matt's fed up with having 'fantasyboatparty.com' on show every time he takes his top off, so he's getting a giant eagle to cover it. At least it looks like an amazing design.
And, I know you're going to find this hard to believe, but Matt isn't the worst.
Carl got his first tattoo just over a year ago. He is now covered in tattoos. Wait, he's now covered in MILEY CYRUS tattoos.
He has her signature on his hands, her name across his knuckles, songs and album names on his arms, her name on his neck and portraits on his arms.
"I have questioned my sanity," he says. You're not the only one, Carl.
But his obsession isn't over - he's off to get another one. I'm sitting there thinking 'please let it be the one of her swinging naked on the wrecking ball' because that would give me a boost that no anti-depression pill ever could.
Unfortunately for me and the other viewers it's just another portrait. It must be time for another sucker... er, I mean tattoo addict to show up.
And here we go. It's Fran's turn to get some work done on her unique project.
Fran seems bubbly but confesses she's just lost her fifth cat in a year (sadly, there is no follow-up to this fact so we don't know if she had old cats, is incredibly unlucky or is the victim of a cat serial-murderer) so she's getting their portraits tattooed on her back. Obviously.
These aren't straight portraits either - Mr Spock has bandages because he was always hurting himself. And Mr Brush has a monocle and bow-tie because "he was a very English gentleman but he was also set on world domination."
But the pièce de résistance is Tinkie, her baby. If Fran was a lesbian cat, she says, Tinkie would be the cat she would marry.
It turns out Fran is also a tattooist, and a pretty good one at that. She covers up her dad's racist tattoo - now that he's no longer racist - with a beautiful Japanese design. Finally a positive to come out of this.
By this time, though, I'm starting to realise that these people, who all consider themselves pretty normal, are there to make us laugh at them. To snigger at their decisions. For television reviewers to mock.
This is where the real guilt comes in. I'm watching it to make me feel better about myself. Actually guilt probably isn't a strong enough word. I'm ashamed.
I'm ashamed we live in a world which exploits people, some of whom I would imagine have problems way beyond their tattoo addiction, just so television stations can turn a profit.
And now I'm disgusted. Disgusted I let myself fall into the trap of enjoying people being exploited for my pleasure. And disgusted that shows like these continue to air when television could be highlighting so many positive things.
My name is Mike and I have a confession to make. I'm never going to watch or review a reality television show which exploits people ever again.