Addictive TV- Serena Daya

I’ve been thinking a lot about how much actual television I watch.  I’m pretty sure my GPA in all of my schooling years would have been a hell of a lot higher if I hadn’t watched so much tv.  So why do I still watch about 3-4 hours of television a day?

I justify it by saying, “I’m watching the news, and I need to be informed.”  Which is true.  I watch the news 85% of the time.  I watch a lot of CNN, and my eyes are glued to the political commentary; even though it annoys the hell out of me, I still watch it.

I don’t drink much (I’ve been drunk twice in the last year), and I don’t smoke (none of the green stuff and never the ash stuff).  But I’ve come to realize that I watch television the way many people drink and smoke: to escape.  It feels good when I watch tv.

There’s no stigma attached to it.  I won’t lose my job if I watch too much tv.  The most I lose is time.

But when it comes down to it, time is all I really have.  Time in this place, in this moment; and, I am content to watching tv to fill up that time, because it feels good.

I know I watch too much tv, and I do a lot better now, than when I was in high school about monitoring why I’m watching tv.  If I’m done with my schoolwork, I give myself grace to escape for a little while.  If I am not done with my work, I have learned to recognize why I am trying to escape into the tv, and deal with that first.

I guess this is part of my growing up process.  Learning what my escape is, even if it doesn’t necessarily look like the typical “escapist, destructive” behavior that other people my age turn to.  I am no better than the person who smokes a cigarette to feel a little better about the day.  Television is just another vice, and I get to learn to deal with what affects me, without escaping from my reality into the tv.

Here is a link to an article which articulates television as an addictive medium, not unlike drugs and alcohol.

Article citation:

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5 Responses to Addictive TV- Serena Daya

  1. mediaphiles says:

    Growing up, and even now I have never been a huge “TV person”. Over the past couple of years I have maybe watched 4-5 shows all the way through their seasons consistently. I think much of this has to do with my childhood. Don’t get me wrong when I was younger I watched a lot of TV just sporadically and I know my parents used it as a mini distraction to calm my siblings and I down so they could get something down for a short amount of time. However, the ratio to the amount of time I was outside playing compared to inside watching TV is not even comparable. I was outside all the time playing with my siblings and other neighborhood kids until my mom had to drag us inside because it was too dark out. Just as you use TV as an outlet, I use soccer as a temporary escape.
    -Kendall Fischlein

  2. mediaphiles says:

    I feel like a lot of us can relate to picking a TV show over homework. I know I’ve done it plenty of times. I think because of Netflix, Hulu, etc it’s a lot easier to overload on TV because of the availability of shows. It’s hard to stop watching a show when you have access to the whole season. – Katie Thevenow

  3. mediaphiles says:

    You are better than me because I watch about the same amount of television as you but not nearly any of that time is spent watching the news. I too love the escape that watching tv gives me, especially after a stressful day of school it’s nice to just mindlessly enjoy your favorite show. I think as I’ve gotten older I’ve learned to time manage a lot better so I usually am motivated to finish my school work in order to catch up on my shows (terrible I know but it works for me lol). -Courtney Green

  4. mediaphiles says:

    This is super relateable, and I agree with Katie’s comment about how it is hard to put away a show when the entire season is easily accessible. The thing that gets me is on Netflix when the next episode of a show just starts automatically when you are done with an episode. It’s super tempting! I know I’m not the only person who has gotten the message from Netflix saying… Are you still watching? because of just letting the show keep playing itself. – Katie Nelson

  5. mediaphiles says:

    I easily watch just as much TV, but I don’t consider it a vice at all. If you spent that much time daily reading, would anyone call it a waste of time? Certainly not. So why is that the case with television? I think film and TV are just as much valid art forms as literature. Personally, I like them even better, because there’s so much more that factors into telling a story through these audio-visual mediums than a verbal medium. Great literary works of art and hugely influential cultural artifacts come in many forms, including film and TV. Why should something like Star Wars be held in lower revere than The Great Gatsby? Why should something like Seinfeld be considered less masterful than a Steven King series? People assume that watching TV means zoning out and escaping from real life all the time (and don’t get me wrong, I certainly use TV to distract myself from pretty much everything else in my life), but two questions: one, why is that not also the case with books? Do people not read to escape as well? And two, if you’re engaging critically with what you’re watching and taking something away from it, be it books or news or TV or movies, why is that bad? I suppose since film and television are still relatively new mediums compared to literature, they’re still not held in as high regard. That really grinds my gears. As far as I’m concerned, Breaking Bad, Fargo, Inglourious Basterds, and The Grand Budapest Hotel are just as much artistic masterpieces as any book ever written. So to me, spending a few hours a day watching TV or movies is not time wasted, but time spent engaging with culturally significant pieces of art.

    –Kevin Pabst

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