One day I realized I no longer watch tv shows and movies I previously did. I thought that was odd that I suddenly stopped watching them until I noticed what they were about. I watched romantic comedies during a time I was single and yearned for love. It was as if I lived vicariously through the characters on the film and it gave me hope I could have it too. Then I found love and no longer watched them, except to feel warm and fuzzy sometimes. So I was watching that genre to fill a void in my life, an emotional need. Once it was filled I no longer watched it. Then I watched Say Yes to the Dress because I wanted to get married. Then I got married and no longer watched it. It wasn’t a conscious decision either.
So I started analyzing my other movie and tv choices. Why did I watch the shows I did? Did they fill emotion needs too and I didn’t even realize. The answer for me was yes. I loved La Femme Nikita. The main character was a strong confident woman who helped others and stood up for what was right even if others didn’t like it; she was someone I wanted to emulate. Watching that show was empowering for me.
I’m sure a lot of people like to watch something on HGTV, a guilty pleasure maybe? Okay, maybe not, but I love the channel. I used to watch it all the time, dreaming of a better house in a better location. I got a lot of tips for renovating and learned about what you get for your money depending on where you live. Not only did it open my eyes, it also made it me want more than what I had. I realized it reinforced that idea that I was not happy where I was by comparing my life to that of others. I wasn’t appreciating all the benefits of where I was. Of course this was not a conscious decision, nor do I think everyone will be affected like I was. It made me think though. How do our movie and tv habits impact us emotionally? Maybe for some of us they don’t at all but I think it’s worth stopping and thinking about the type of content you watch and why you’re watching it. Maybe it’s simply an escape, a way to connect to others, or maybe it’s to fulfill an emotional need you didn’t realize you had.
Look at my analysis based on what I watched and then ask yourself the questions below.
Crime Shows: CSI/ Law and Order/NSIS and other crime shows… Does it activate your brain? Do you try to problem solve to figure out the story?
Inspirational/Documentary: Do you like to be uplifted and inspired to take risks, and make the world a better place?
Documentary, Informational: Are you watching to learn and be immersed in something new?
Foreign films: Do you like to learn about other cultures?
Humor/Action: Are you watching to de-stress and escape reality?
Drama: Are you watching to connect to characters and feel like you’re not alone in how you feel?
Romantic Comedies: Are you watching wishing you lived that life or had that experience?
Reality TV: Are you watching to add interest to your own life with the drama and excitement? Do you want to feel like you’re a part of something? Are you pulled into the drama of someone else’s life? Do you want to admire talent?
Horror: Do you like the thrill? Do you like the psychology behind the behavior (how could someone do that?) Do you like how it is counter-culture and on the fringe? Is it an escape from reality?
Talking about TV/Movies: Do you find yourself talking about tv shows with others? Maybe it’s your way of connecting with others and having conversation by finding a common connection.
Things to Ponder
What shows do you find yourself watching?
How do you feel after watching them?
What do you gain emotionally from watching them?
Are you watching this to fill a void/yearning in your life and live vicariously through the character?
Are you watching to feel less alone and feel connected?
Does your show line-up reflect places you need to work on in your life? What is one action step you can do to fill this need in real life?
Do you get nightmares/anxiety later from watching certain shows (even though you like them?)
I would get images and disturbances from watching thrillers/horrors. I would start to feel like the world was filled with people who make poor violent choices from too many crime dramas. I would feel discouraged after watching shows with too much violence and conflict, losing hope in the world.
Tv affects me easily and deeply because I relate, put myself in the character’s shoes, and reflect while I watch. I’m not a passive tv watcher. So I now choose carefully what I watch.
I stick to shows that uplift, empower, and inform. I’ll limit shows that do otherwise as a way to bond with others in my life.
May you find what your tv line up says about you and gain insight about yourself in the process.