Turn off the tube and begin to turn on your life


by Kate Anderson

Would you ever watch a television show where the plot consists of a girl sprawled on the couch, with Dorito crumbs on her face and a remote in hand? Probably not, because it’s dull and uninspiring. It probably wouldn’t improve ratings if it were a guy either.

If a documentary were made of our lives, would we be dull and uninspiring? Would we look like Beavis and Butthead who watch television most of the day and go to school occasionally?

People watch the tube to learn, get excited, see action and to unconsciously strategize through the situations going on. We bother ourselves with the lives of fictitious people rather than being concerned with our own lives. Too many people can’t miss “Friends” or “Will & Grace” because it’s practically a part of their own system of stability.

Paging Dr. Freud: too many members of society spend more time figuring out people’s lives on television, rather than dealing with the issues and relationships in their own lives. It’s innocent. It shows concern and the capacity for rational analysis, but it’s too easy.

Television has a way of giving the viewer the wondrous all-seeing eye. We feel so smart that we know the characters’ secrets. We know who’s cheated on who. We can’t believe that character “A” doesn’t know that character “C” is in love with them and that character “B” is actually gay.

We almost feel confided in (alongside the other million Americans who turned on the television that night). I’ll be honest, I feel damn superior when something happens in a series or a movie that makes me more informed than everyone else on screen. I feel like the “wise one,” until I remember the funny fact that every character has sat down and memorized the script before hand and they are just that talented that I forget.

I don’t know about you all but it makes me feel a little bit ripped off when I remember that these characters are playing on my emotions to boost ratings and make millions of dollars a year.

This aerial view is something we lack when we look at our own lives. We don’t get to read the minds of all the characters in our situations, so our lives seem more difficult and frustrating. If we can’t figure out our own lives, at least we can get Rachel Green’s life squared away. There is actually a Web site where you can take a test and find out which ‘friend’ you are. That should help the viewers become so much more buried in unreality than they already are.

Don’t get me wrong; I’m a huge believer in entertainment. I love most of these shows, although I’m usually a few seasons behind and I’ve only seen “Sex & the City” once (and loved it). TV is great, and in college we deserve a break from the toils of our own lives.

Television makes us laugh even when we’re all by ourselves and it’s the best way to spend time with hung-over friends when communication just isn’t going to happen. Those are the best and most justified days for parking it in a nest of friends and fighting over the remote.

But let’s not forget that television is for the sake of entertainment. Let’s stop watching everyone else’s fake lives and do some real living ourselves.