3 TV Shows That Prove Schadenfreude Is Real

3 TV Shows That Prove Schadenfreude Is Real

It allows me to forget my own worries, setbacks, and responsibilities for an hour. Or two. Or seven...
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First off, I'll begin by admitting that I love TV. What makes that even better is that we're living in TV's "Golden Age". We have Netflix, Hulu, even Amazon Prime Video, all of which I love. My Roku is one of my most prized possessions. There are so many great choices and endless story lines, and all you need is a username and password from a friend and you can potentially have it all for free. Seem like a dream? I does to me. I love getting absorbed into a television show, learning all about new characters, analyzing their actions, and creating my own internal commentary on the events that I see occurring. It allows me to forget my own worries, setbacks, and responsibilities for an hour. Or two. Or seven...

But often I wonder why myself and so many others find television so comforting. Why do we enjoy becoming absorbed in a story, often absurd, contrived, or even completely fake, like The Bachelor or The Kardashians? Why do we enjoy watching a shows with a implausible storylines like the ending of Dexter, or the entire premise of Scandal? Why are we willing to dedicate hours to a program of our choice, oblivious to the outside world, the real world, sometimes even neglecting to set foot outside? Back when Glee and Gossip Girl was popular, I had friends who would stay indoors and spend all day devoted to these shows. Most shows don't necessarily teach us anything or better our lives in any significant way. Yet, we still devote our time, our emotions, and sometimes our money to these shows. Why?

The strange thing about watching television is that for the entire time you're watching you're show, you're only doing one thing, and that on thing is observing. Why do we like observing so much? For me, I like the choices. I like being able to pick and choose what I watch, deciding what's worth my time and what isn't. I think being able to choose is a big factor in the widespread devotion to television in modern culture. But I also think that, myself included, what most people chose for entertainment is often representative of the idea of schadenfreude. By this, I'm referring to the idea that we derive pleasure from the suffering of others. We like to see others going through difficult times, because it puts our lives into perspective. Here are some examples.

Shameless

One of my favorite shows Shameless is about a poor Chicago family held together by the eldest sister, Fiona in the midst of an intermittently present but alcoholic father and an often missing mentally ill mother. Clearly, their lives are all difficult. This show is extremely entertaining, but also puts my troubles into perspective. After watching an episode of Shameless I'm often inclined to laugh at my own so-called "problems" like having to write a paper for school, when the main character, Fiona just got thrown in prison for a minor mistake.

The Bachelor

This is a completely contrived, fake, and, in my opinion, "stupid" show. BUT I STILL WATCH IT. WHY? My opinion is that all watchers of The Bachelor literally enjoy watching heartbreak or at least enjoy watching a flimsy simulation of heartbreak. We also enjoy watching people fall in love or, once again, a simulation of people falling in love, even if we know it's contrived. The fact that we often enjoy watching individuals experiencing drama, heartbreak, and outbursts of tears suggests that many of us have an innate need to see others "fail" in order to feel relaxed or satisfied.

Narcos

This Netflix original follows the life and career of Pablo Escobar. While viewers enjoy watching his lavish lifestyle, we are also constantly on edge and nervous because his illegal operations are almost always threatened. He has to continuously defend his lifestyle and fight for the survival of himself and his allies. His life in hiding is not necessarily one to be admired and viewers can compare his lifestyle to that of our our own, thus recognizing the comfort and stability we have.

I'm not saying we're inherently bad for taking pleasure in others' misfortunes. But we need to recognize this dark tendency in ourselves. Schadenfreude can be dangerous. We should work on controlling our inherent schadenfreude while developing empathetic tendencies in ourselves in order to treat each other with kindness and respect. I believe as long as we attempt to limit our schadenfreude to television, it's dangers may be mitigated.

Cover Image Credit: streaming observer.com

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College As Told By Junie B. Jones

A tribute to the beloved author Barbara Parks.
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The Junie B. Jones series was a big part of my childhood. They were the first chapter books I ever read. On car trips, my mother would entertain my sister and me by purchasing a new Junie B. Jones book and reading it to us. My favorite part about the books then, and still, are how funny they are. Junie B. takes things very literally, and her (mis)adventures are hilarious. A lot of children's authors tend to write for children and parents in their books to keep the attention of both parties. Barbara Park, the author of the Junie B. Jones series, did just that. This is why many things Junie B. said in Kindergarten could be applied to her experiences in college, as shown here.

When Junie B. introduces herself hundreds of times during orientation week:

“My name is Junie B. Jones. The B stands for Beatrice. Except I don't like Beatrice. I just like B and that's all." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 1)

When she goes to her first college career fair:

"Yeah, only guess what? I never even heard of that dumb word careers before. And so I won't know what the heck we're talking about." (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 2)

When she thinks people in class are gossiping about her:

“They whispered to each other for a real long time. Also, they kept looking at me. And they wouldn't even stop." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When someone asks her about the library:

“It's where the books are. And guess what? Books are my very favorite things in the whole world!" (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 27)

When she doesn't know what she's eating at the caf:

“I peeked inside the bread. I stared and stared for a real long time. 'Cause I didn't actually recognize the meat, that's why. Finally, I ate it anyway. It was tasty...whatever it was." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 66)

When she gets bored during class:

“I drew a sausage patty on my arm. Only that wasn't even an assignment." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 18)

When she considers dropping out:

“Maybe someday I will just be the Boss of Cookies instead!" (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 76)

When her friends invite her to the lake for Labor Day:

“GOOD NEWS! I CAN COME TO THE LAKE WITH YOU, I BELIEVE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 17)

When her professor never enters grades on time:

“I rolled my eyes way up to the sky." (Junie B., First Grader Boss of Lunch, p. 38)

When her friends won't stop poking her on Facebook:


“Do not poke me one more time, and I mean it." (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 7)

When she finds out she got a bad test grade:

“Then my eyes got a little bit wet. I wasn't crying, though." (Junie B. Jones and the Stupid Smelly Bus, p. 17)

When she isn't allowed to have a pet on campus but really wants one:

“FISH STICK! I NAMED HIM FISH STICK BECAUSE HE'S A FISH STICK, OF COURSE!" (Junie B. Jones Smells Something Fishy, p. 59)

When she has to walk across campus in the dark:

“There's no such thing as monsters. There's no such thing as monsters." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 12)

When her boyfriend breaks her heart:

“I am a bachelorette. A bachelorette is when your boyfriend named Ricardo dumps you at recess. Only I wasn't actually expecting that terrible trouble." (Junie B. Jones Is (almost) a Flower Girl, p. 1)

When she paints her first canvas:


"And painting is the funnest thing I love!" (Junie B. Jones and her Big Fat Mouth, p. 61)

When her sorority takes stacked pictures:

“The biggie kids stand in the back. And the shortie kids stand in the front. I am a shortie kid. Only that is nothing to be ashamed of." (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed, p. 7)

When she's had enough of the caf's food:

“Want to bake a lemon pie? A lemon pie would be fun, don't you think?" (Junie B. Jones Has a Monster Under Her Bed p. 34)

When she forgets about an exam:

“Speechless is when your mouth can't speech." (Junie B. Jones Loves Handsome Warren, p. 54)

When she finds out she has enough credits to graduate:

“A DIPLOMA! A DIPLOMA! I WILL LOVE A DIPLOMA!" (Junie B. Jones is a Graduation Girl p. 6)

When she gets home from college:

"IT'S ME! IT'S JUNIE B. JONES! I'M HOME FROM MY SCHOOL!" (Junie B. Jones and some Sneaky Peaky Spying p. 20)

Cover Image Credit: OrderOfBooks

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15 Thing Only Early 2000's Kids Will Understand

"Get connected for free, with education connection"

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This is it early 2000's babies, a compilation finally made for you. This list is loaded with things that will make you swoon with nostalgia.

1. Not being accepted by the late 90's kids.

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Contrary to what one may think, late 90's and early 00's kids had the same childhood, but whenever a 00's kid says they remember something on an "only 90's kids will understand" post they are ridiculed.

2. Fortune tellers.

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Every day in elementary school you would whip one of these bad boys out of your desk, and proceed to tell all of your classmates what lifestyle they were going to live and who they were going to marry.

3.Bunnicula

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You could never read this book past 8 o'clock at night out of fear that your beloved pet rabbit would come after you.

4. Silly bands.

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You vividly remember begging your parents to buy you $10 worth of cheap rubber bands that vaguely resembles the shape of an everyday object.

5. Parachutes.

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The joy and excitement that washed over you whenever you saw the gym teacher pull out the huge rainbow parachute. The adrenaline that pumped through your veins whenever your gym teacher tells you the pull the chute under you and sit to make a huge "fort".

6. Putty Erasers

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You always bought one whenever there was a school store.

7. iPod shuffle.

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The smallest, least technological iPpd apple has made, made you the coolest kid at the bus stop.

8. "Education Connection"

You knew EVERY wood to the "Education Connection" commercials. Every. Single.Word.

9. " The Naked Brothers Band"

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The "Naked Brothers Band" had a short run on Nickelodeon and wrote some absolute bangers including, "Crazy Car' and "I Don't Wanna Go To School"

10. Dance Dance Revolution

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This one video game caused so many sibling, friend, and parent rivalries. This is also where you learned all of your super sick dance moves.

11. Tamagotchi

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Going to school with fear of your Tamagotchi dying while you were away was your biggest worry.

12. Gym Scooters

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You, or somebody you know most likely broke or jammed their finger on one of these bad boys, but it was worth it.

13. Scholastic book fairs

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Begging your parents for money to buy a new book, and then actually spending it on pens, pencils, erasers, and posters.

14.Go-Gurt

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Who knew that putting yogurt in a plastic tube made it taste so much better?

15. Slap Bracelets

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Your school probably banned these for being "too dangerous".

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