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TV… & why I stopped going to the movies.

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I grew up loving movies, and every single magical thing about them. But a few years ago, something strange happened: I realized I wasn’t watching them anymore. Sure I’d catch the big blockbusters and a few Oscar winners every now and then, but that was pretty much it. After much soul-searching, the reason became compellingly clear: I had started to prefer a medium that was far more addictive: television.

Why would one choose a TV show over a movie? It’s pretty simple: emotional investment. Watching one of your favorite series week in week out over the course of several years gets you completely invested in the characters’ lives. You grow with them, hurt with them, love with them… and yes, eventually die with them. It sounds dramatic to be sure, but think back to the last time you were absolutely gutted when one of your favorite characters was mercilessly killed off, or your all-time favorite show came to an end (or even worse, got unjustly cancelled by a money-hungry network). That loss might not be real, but your investment in that journey over an extended period of time certainly is. There’s a tangible void and a sense of emptiness in your heart that only the next TV obsession can fill.

Movies on the other hand just don’t hook me the way they used to. Why would I want to meet a bunch of new characters, barely spend two hours with them, and then never hear from them again? We are of course assuming the film in question will not be trailed by a sequel (or 12), a reboot, a prequel, random spinoffs and God knows what else The Powers That Be can muster up (and hey, anything’s possible if their eyes light up with enough dollar signs).

All I can think of every time I watch a film today is how much more invested I would be had I been obsessing over these characters and their journeys over many seasons. Perhaps the general public loves going to the movie theatre for the exact opposite reason: turn your brain off for a few hours, enjoy a wild ride, and then forget about it the second you walk out with no strings attached. But me? I love to obsess on a weekly basis for years and years and then suffer through that absolute gut-punch of a loss when it’s all over. It’s strangely masochistic, and yet… I wouldn’t have it any other way.

5 comments

  1. Wow I absolutely LOVE this post! I echo everything you said about the emotional investment. And the example you made about characters being killed off: SO TRUE. In fact all I could think of while reading this is just how much Greys means to me. I could never feel that way about a movie or franchise. 👍🏻👍🏻

    1. Grey’s indeed! They’ve become family at this point (God knows the number of hours I’ve spent with Meredith and co)

  2. Nad, as you know, I share your love for TV shows. It’s nothing quite like the experience of watching the journeys of characters over multiple seasons. But I am still attached to seeing movies in the theater. They still leave an unique impact on me despite my investment in TV storytelling.

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