Guilty Pleasures

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

"It's cheesy, it's over the top, and I love every second of it!"

There are shows or products that many people are ashamed to watch/use. That doesn't mean a character won't enjoy it and continue to consume it anyway, regardless of what's going on.

Guilty Pleasure may, but does not always, overlap with Closet Geek. "Guilty Pleasure" implies that a person feels guilty for enjoying a show or product that is actually not worthy of their appreciation—they believe that it is low-quality, but for some reason like it anyway. The Closet Geek hides their fanhood for fear of what other people will say, but they may believe that the things they like are legitimately good and worthy of appreciation.

No real life examples, please; this is an Audience Reaction trope, and as far as we know, Real Life does not have an audience. If you see "People find this to be a Guilty Pleasure", delete it. If you want to say "I found this to be a Guilty Pleasure" please take it to the forums or elsewhere.

Examples of Guilty Pleasures include:

Anime and Manga

  • Full Metal Panic!: The Second Raid: the OVA is about Tessa trying to get her teddy bear back before somebody else finds out about it. Belfangan Clouseau tries to keep his Anime habits a secret as well, mostly Played for Laughs.
  • Hen Zemi: Nanako seems quite non-perverted when compared to the rest of the cast, but as the series progresses she begins to like and admit some of her odder preferences. Such as enjoying the smell of her flatulence in the bathtub, or beginning to strip at a party when the lights went out.
  • A Running Gag brought up every so often in Crayon Shin-chan is Georgie's denial of watching a girls show called "Princess Heiressz", but it's his guilty pleasure and favorite show to watch.
  • In Dirty Pair, Kei has a simple one: cheesecake.


  • RED: Sara Ross likes to read trashy romance novels which she tells Frank Moses are terrible but so addictive. Incidentally, we later see Moses himself reading those same novels (though whether he genuinely enjoys them or is only doing it for research (or "research") is left unstated).
  • In the film Dragnet, Joe claims cigarettes and chili dogs are this for him.


  • In the Ms. Wiz books, Jack Beddows apparently carries around a few Beatrix Potter books and when asked about them he says they're for his sister. Then when the characters get released from the books (long story) he's in near tears when Peter Rabbit appears to have been run over by a bus.
  • Josh Newman from The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel is described as loving Shrek but would "die before admitting it to his friends".

Live-Action TV

  • Supernatural episode "Changing Channels", Sam earlier caught Dean watching a hospital show called "Dr. Sexy, M.D.", but Dean claims he isn't a fan of the show. Later on, "Dr. Sexy" actually appears.

Dean Winchester: [notices the doctor's footwear, slams him against the wall] You're not Dr. Sexy.
Dr. Sexy: You're crazy.
Dean Winchester: Really? Because I swore part of what makes Dr. Sexy sexy, is the fact that he wears cowboy boots. Not tennis shoes!
Sam Winchester: Yeah, you're not a fan...
Dean Winchester: It's a guilty pleasure!

  • Castle episode "Always Buy Retail". Castle compares having sex with his ex-wife to a deep-fried Twinkie.

Ryan: A deep-fried Twinkie?
Castle: Yeah, the guilty pleasure that you know is bad for you, so you only do it once, maybe twice a year for the novelty.

    • Also Beckett watching Temptation Lane, a soap opera that she used to watch with her mom when she was little. Castle sums it up PERFECTLY:

Castle: That's just so delightfully not you!

  • Eureka: Jo. "Sassy pumps for fall."
  • The Sing-Off includes a Once a Season "Guilty Pleasures" round of the contest, allowing the vocal groups to perform songs full of Narm Charm (such as pop hits from The Eighties).
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer have guys like Spike & Giles who watch Dawson's Creek & Passions and Angel who likes to sing Barry Manilow.
  • Big Time Rush: One episode in which the guys have a photo shoot for a Tween girls mag. Only one of them is familiar with the magazine and the others shockingly look at him, almost in disgust, and one even asks him is that Katie's. He replies that those"...magazines have great articles for guys too." Seconds later, as they are mocking him, another guy in the band reads a headline about heartthrob coverboy and becomes interested in what the interview with said hearthrob says. The guys get into an argument about what their opinions and the hearthrob's about what to bring to a desert island. So in mere seconds they go from mocking it, to liking it.
  • Friends: This is a question asked by Ross in the quiz to see who would get the better apartment:

Ross: What is Rachel's favorite movie?
Chandler: Dangerous Liaisons!
Ross: Correct! What is her real favorite movie?
Joey: Weekend at Bernie's!
Ross: Correct!

  • A few seasons later we find out Rachel also likes to read a steamy romance novel about a vicar's wife having an affair with a stable boy. She keeps this hidden under her pillow.

In All in the Family, Archie's usual leisure time is spent drinking beer watching football, like the typical blue-collar worker he is; but he also reads Dennis the Menace comic books when nobody is around, and may have a whole trunk full of them.


  • In the Vocaloid song "Magnet", Luka and Miku know they aren't "supposed" to be in love, but that only fuels them with more passion.

Newspaper Comics

  • Adam@Home: this strip for 2-22-11, Adam and his wife discuss theirs.
  • Clyde, the closest thing that Candorville has to a stereotypical black male, is often found selling these. On one occasion he used a similar approach to sell something highly secret—the main character thought it was drugs, but it turned out to be videos that were Guilty Pleasures.
  • FoxTrot:

Video Games

  • Ace Attorney: Edgeworth would never admit that he's a big fan of The Steel Samurai ( a cartoon with a target audience much younger than he is), even though he keeps an expensive miniature of the show's hero next to his tea set.

Web Comics

You should really be EMBARRASSED for liking this DREADFUL CINEMA, but for some reason you are not.

Gamal: What if they decide you're just a whiny narcissist?
Jeriah: Then they were probably too smart to be taken in by the whole guilty pleasure bullshit.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • Arthur: Arthur is secretly a fan of "Love Ducks". He keeps it a secret because (per the title of the episode) "That's a Baby Show". By the end all of his friends are into it.
  • Phineas and Ferb: An episode featured Candace going to a comic con dressed as Ducky Mo-Mo, a character she enjoyed since she was little, but was too embarrassed to admit she still watched it.
  • The Simpsons: Dr Marvin Monroe, a psychiatrist, admits that one of his "guilty little pleasures" is grabbing a bucket of popcorn and watching "Itchy and Scratchy" (a cartoon show with heavy violence).
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: The premise of the episode "Read It and Weep" was Rainbow Dash discovering that reading can actually be fun after lambasting it as an egghead hobby. She's driven to petty theft by the end of the episode in order to finish the book she had started.
  • Harley Quinn;
    • Catwoman is a Lady of Wealth and Taste with a Big Fancy House, and when stressed she soaks in a bathtub, while watching film blooper outtake collections on YouTube and snacking on Cheetos.
    • Poison Ivy: Watching Nascar, taking long showers, and Jazz Fest, all "vices" she has (that show she isn't as much an eco-friendly extremist as she claims) that she only admits when under the influence of Wonder Woman's Lasso of Truth.