Vicarious Television

Sometimes I forget that I am a person. No really. It’s true. When I am watching TV shows, some that I have been watching for years, or others that I have just started following. What is it about TV shows that makes us feel as if we are a part of the action? I get personally connected to characters, I find myself hoping that this couple gets together, or wondering if this guy is going to get the promotion…it is weird because these are not real people. So then why am I so involved?

Perhaps this is just a “me” problem, but somehow I think it is a “we” problem and I am not the only person that experiences this phenomenon that I am going to refer to as vicarious television. 

I can find myself being sucked into this illusion, particularly when my own life is not going as well as I hoped or planned. Sometimes I like to escape and I will turn on the television, or my computer and catch up with some old familiar friends. Of course these people on the television are not my friends, I have never talked to them, nor do they actually exist, but somehow they seem to know so much about my life. There is rarely a week I cannot turn on a Grey’s Anatomy episode and hear some wise words from Dr. Bailey that seem to apply directly to my life even though she is addressing Meredith. Vicarious television (and brillant writing?). 

This is a dangerous phenomenon however, and I would like to send out a warning. STOP! No more living vicariously through television shows, no more holding reality to the expectations of TV romance or drama. It is dangerous to watch The Office and see Jim fall in love with Pam, and they flirt and then (spoiler alert!) end up together. This does not always happen in real life. Happily ever after is not reality and that complicated relationship you have that seems to mirror Carrie and Big is not going to end in a fancy carpeted closet with a $500 pair of heels and lots of kisses. 

So I make my plea, stop living vicariously through television shows – they are not real, at least live vicariously through a friend or family member, those folks are semi-grounded in reality. 😉 

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