They say “TV rots your mind. TV is a waste of time. You should be studying.”
words by Aroob Raja
Almost every adult you meet will tell you these things, just because they don’t see beyond a teenager sitting in front of their TV and not revising or working productively towards a future that they fear. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m only speaking for a handful of teens here. But for those I am speaking for, we can surely agree that sitting down and taking a break from life is usually frowned upon by those who aren’t able to pull off skinny jeans anymore.
School, college – whatever it may be, can begin to feel overwhelming at certain points, and the natural instinct for our species is fight or flight. However, last time I checked, you can’t fight life, so the only remaining option is flight. Running. Leaving. Escaping. We need some sort of exit, and out of the many options society has to offer, television seems to be the most popular one.
Television is something we’ve been watching since we could, well, see. We used it to help us speak, to help us learn, even to help us to do mediocre tasks like cook, so why is it so terrible for us to want to use it as a form of escapism? Adults love to give us grief for watching TV shows, but what they don’t understand is maybe it’s the only thing that gets us through our day. Maybe we need it to lose ourselves, even for an hour, in order for us to get back on task. Adults, I’m sure, do it themselves when they’re catching up on last night’s episode of Eastenders, or staying up to watch tonight’s episode of Doctor Who, so why the backlash?
TV shows offer us an opportunity to forget who we are or where we’re going. They offer us a chance to become immersed in a world that isn’t our own. They’re literally the next best thing after time machines (or for all you Doctor Who lovers out there, the T.A.R.D.I.S). It’s an experience that should be impossible, but isn’t. We literally just sit there and our mind does wonders with what’s playing before us. Whether that’s being an agent of S.H.I.E.L.D and taking down Hydra, a citizen of Rosewood and finding out who A is, or surviving in a zombie apocalypse, we all deserve that time to live in a dreamland, and that’s exactly what TV does for us. Let’s forget about our responsibilities, worries, anxieties, and instead distract ourselves from it all.
Sometimes, our momentary escapism can lead to an engagement that lets us actively participate. Fandoms for your favourite shows exist where we literally just talk about the show. The plot, our favourite characters, our theories for what may come next. We develop an emotional attachment to our favourite characters. We can relate to them. We can see ourselves in them, and trust that if they can overcome the obstacles in their life, so can we. This moves on to appreciation of the cast themselves, which leads on to admiring them and seeing them as role models. No, this isn’t an “obsession” or “creepy admiration”. It’s us, as young adults, showing gratitude to those who helped us learn ourselves, better.
I guess, what I’m trying to say here is ‘you do you’. If watching TV shows helps you escape from reality and learn yourself, go ahead. Nobody can learn you better than you.