November 10, 2017

Binging on Inspiration, Complexity, and Laughter

Gideon Fox ‘19

According to Business Insider, the average American adult watches 1,825 hours of television a year, which is about 76 days. With people watching more than two months of T.V.  annually, there has to be something that draws them to it.
Everyone has done it before. Come home from a long day, drop your bag and fall onto the couch. All you want is for your favorite character from your favorite show to entertain you.
That character could be funny, or literally anything that entertains you. When we “binge” watch” T.V., we feel like the characters are actual people with traits just like anyone else.
Some people like the characters because they aspire to be like them. Junior Emme Young, for instance, loves her favorite character, Meredith Grey from “Grey’s Anatomy,” because Young aspires to be a nurse.
“She’s my inspiration to be a nurse,” Young said. “Watching the way she interacts with patients inspired me.”
Sophomore Aaron Brown, meanwhile, look for complex characters that perhaps engage in bad behavior for positive reasons, like Walter White from “Breaking Bad.”
“[White] does whatever it takes for the fam,” he said.
An overwhelming amount of people said they identify with Michael Scott from “The Office” or with Chandler Bing from “Friends.” All of their reasons related to their humor.
A recent study from Scarborough USA+, a division of Nielsen, a company that does research on what people watch, said that 66 percent of millennials enjoy comedy more than any other genre.
But what draws people to comedy?
People want to be funny and try to be funny and, therefore, want to watch people be funny, even if it doesn’t work, like Scott and Bing.
“[Chandler] tries to make dad jokes that usually aren’t that funny, but people laugh anyways,” junior Maddie Herman said.
Could it be that it is simply entertaining and fun?
Junior Jamie Gutterman believes so, noting that watching comedy “is super enjoyable because it allows me to take a small break from my life while still enjoying myself.”
Others, like junior David Wingens, feel that laughter really may be the best medicine. Wingens enjoys Chandler Bing the most because, “He masks his emotions with comedy.”
That, is essentially why the majority of people want to watch comedy: It can change way someone feels. If someone is in a somber mood, comedy may do more than just mask their feelings. It can completely change their mood. Once someone starts laughing it is impossible to stop.

So next time you fail a test or are in a bad mood, go home, sit down on your couch and watch “Friends” or “The Office” and laugh it out.

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