This kind of played out in my life when I was younger because I wanted to be just like Lizzie McGuire when I was in elementary school. Every episode, Lizzie would wear something or say something, and I would repeat what she said or tried to get an outfit that looked like hers.
So I do think that media content today still has characters that society want to emulate and what is interesting is that the older shows like One Tree Hill are being watched now by today's high school and college kids because they are able to understand what is going on with the characters. So memes play a role in these characters, which make them relatable but at the same time easy to want to be like.
Another thing is the emotional effects of when someone watches a TV show. For example, when Keith gets shot by Dan in One Tree Hill it was a heartbreaking scene to watch because by this point you have truly gotten to know this character and you fall in love with who he is as a person, so to think that he no longer exists on the show anymore is weird. So it is kind of like this mixed emotion of feeling sad and eerie a little bit. That being said, I think that is our similar reaction to how we deal with real life situations with family and friends passing away, it's hard to move on from someone that impacted your life so much.
I also think that the way I watch shows on TV is a mix of instrumental viewing and ritualistic viewing. There are some shows I watch just to watch them, like Food Network during the holidays (I sometimes watch them when I'm eating... sorry not sorry). But then there are also times when I record something and plan out when I'm going to watch it, which is typically any of The Real Housewives or the Kardashians for me. So I do believe that as a society we are headed down the path of having both those things in mind when watching TV and even movies sometimes.