WORDS OPEN OUR WORLD
Excerpts From My Desk
Why We Watch
I was surfing through channels when it hit me. The amount of reality television shows outnumbers scripted shows. This led me to ask the question. “Why do we watch them.”
According to Business Insider, Candid Camera, born in 1984, was the prototype of reality television. The concept of placing real people in compromising (usually funny) and unscripted situations gave the world its first taste of reality television.
… the genre exploded as a phenomenon in the late 1990s and 2000s with the global success of such series as Survivor, Idol, and Big Brother, and to this day many people continue to abandon their own activities for the voyeuristic other.
From cut-throat cooking competitions to overly drama-driven challenge shows, we have become a nation bent on this voyeuristic concept. We peep through the keyhole hoping to watch the worst of human nature.
Everyday Psych states that we enjoy reality television for two main reasons. The first is escapism. We can flee from our reality and watch others get degraded or humiliated. The second reason is less apparent. We love seeing everyday protagonists, the average Joe who triumphs. As a novelist, I will add that we love to hate the antagonist.
Television and movies have long mimicked real life or given insight into future possibilities. Teyhou Smyth, Ph.D., LMFT, offers, in Psychology Today, the notion that reality shows often lead people to reflect on what they might do in a similar situation, which can be a good exercise in values exploration.
There is no doubt that what we take in for entertainment and information influences the way we think about the world around us.
-Teyhou Smyth Ph.D., LMFT
I agree with Dr. Smyth’s statement. We only need to look at the reality host turned President to see the influence he has had, first as a television icon and then as the leader of a nation. Please note that political views are not the issue here. I’m merely stating that popularity and the size of viewership matter on how the information causes influence.
Home improvement shows attract. When it arises, and it always does, I find myself annoyed at the built-in drama. “Oh no! Termites have eaten through the beam, which will cost extra.” Something almost always goes awry. Someone found out long ago that drama sells.
Only you know why you watch reality television. I prefer a good sitcom or series to steal me away from my reality.
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EXCERPT FROM CHAPTER 15:
Cathy pulled into her garage, closed the door, and for some reason
looked around before opening the trunk. She let out a sarcastic smirk as she realized she had closed the garage door. She went right to the kitchen table and took out the death certificate copies. The drive home felt like it took hours. She kept seeing the words “nurse may pronounce” in bold blue letters on each copy. Again, she asked herself, How did I miss this? As she sat at the table, Cathy began to replay the last six years of her life. When did she fall asleep? When did she start to give up? She realized that when she now walked around Green Haven, she had stopped making contact with the residents and the staff, only interacting when necessary. She had
let go of her humanity to become an android devoid of caring.
“Damn you, Pharmatek. Damn you, Kyle. Damn me!” Cathy nearly screamed as the realization sank in.
Cathy knew she had unconsciously allowed herself to become plain
and unseen. She realized she had taken her dreams of nursing excellence, traveling to faraway grains of sand and the joyful sunshine of life, and replaced it with fear and smallness. Cathy removed her cheaters to wipe away the tears now freely flowing from each eye. She glanced around the apartment, only to see the life of singledom she had chosen.
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