Why We Should Re-Watch Our Favorite TV Shows

Why We Should Re-Watch Our Favorite TV Shows

The next time you get criticized for starting your favorite TV show again , ignore it - because most of the time, it's the best thing you can do.

161
views

I have said this thousands of times, and I will say it again: "The Wire" is the best show of all time and God's gift to the Earth. I've written not one, not two, not three, but four articles about various reasons why "The Wire" is the best show of all time, and am currently on my fourth run through the show. I am legitimately not myself on a given day if I don't have my daily dose of something related to "The Wire."

But I digress - this isn't an article about "The Wire,' but rather the latter phenomenon of why we love to re-watch our favorite TV shows all the time. Many of my friends watch "The Office," "Friends," and "Grey's Anatomy" over and over again, dozens of times. Why do we do this, when we know exactly what will happen every time? In the words of The Atlantic's Derek Thompson: "Why do we spend so much time with stories whose endings we already know?"

Well, one of the answers is pretty obvious: because a show is just that good. Why waste your time watching a show your friend is raving about that you might get into, when there's a show you've seen before that you know you'll get into? It saves our time and we get the most efficient investment, knowing with absolute certainty that we will enjoy it.

Does watching a show over and over again make it lose its spark? You may be asking this question to a repeat watcher such as myself - and my answer is a definitive no. Thompson perhaps frames this more eloquently in stating that "familiar fare requires less mental energy to process, and when something is easy to think about, we consider it good." In psychology, the mere exposure effect says that the more we're exposed to something, the more we'll like it.

But, of course, it goes deeper than that. Watching shows again brings back nostalgia back to our lives, and allows us to remember the past. The root of the word nostalgia is the combination of two Greek words nostos , which means homecoming, and algos , which means pain. Initially, when the term was invented in the 17th century, it was seen as a disease - one theory believed that Swiss mercenaries were depressed because they were impaired by homesickness.

Clay Routledge, a psychologist at North Dakota State University, declares that there are two forms of nostalgia - historical and autobiographical. It is the latter that we often find when we re-watch TV shows - "a nostalgia for [our] individual past." Watching shows we liked as kids and teenagers can make us feel young again. Routledge also found that subjects exposed to popular songs from their youth thought had more feelings that "life is worth living."

Routledge's studies, which validate our very own experiences, are direct evidence that re-watching TV shows is therapeutic. Nostalgia is, at its most basic form, deeply relaxing. Remembering the past, where we can re-tell and recall episodes of our lives with complete certainty is clearly much easier than the present of living our lives, where we constantly stumble into the terrifying unknown. Old TV shows "can't surprise us. We know how they end, and we know how we'll feel when they end. This makes the re-consumption of entertainment a bit like 'emotional regulation.'" As much as any of us are prepared to handle surprises, the fact is that most of the time, they're not exactly easy to deal with.

Lastly, although the plot of our favorite old TV shows is always the same, how we watch and how we interpret never are. Every time I watch through "The Wire" is a different, unique experiment - the first time, it was for the plot, the second time, it was about the societal implications, and the third time, it was about how to treat people on an everyday basis. Thompson shares a similar experience in re-hearing his favorite song, Jeff Buckley's rendition of "Hallelujah": "Replaying his music nine years later was like opening a time capsule and watching its treasures react to fresh oxygen."

Re-watching is an act of more than just "mere nostalgia or therapy. It's pop culture as palimpsest - an old memory, overlaid with new perspective."

Watching "The Wire" for the fourth time, it's in the context of just getting the job that the show drove me to apply to and be passionate for. Starting next year, I will be a teacher. A lot of things have happened in my life since my third run. It's not the same process of watching by any stretch - every scene I have already seen three times, I see it a different way. I learn something new - not only about the show, but about myself.

The next time you get criticized for starting your favorite TV show again , ignore it - because most of the time, it's the best thing you can do.

Popular Right Now

11 Things You Understand If You Hate Physical Contact

Please keep your hands and feet away from me at all times.
39423
views

We currently live in a world where EVERYONE LIKES TO TOUCH EACH OTHER. People enjoy hugs, high fives, tapping others on the shoulder, pokes, ect. For someone like you and me (I'm assuming you too since you clicked on this article), this is the WORST thing in the world. Whenever I think of someone touching me (even just a poke) without my permission my reaction is like Sofia Vergara in Modern Family.

I mean, when I take that love languages quiz, physical touch is always on the bottom of my preferences. So I thought to my self, you know I can't be the only person in the world that hates physical touching. So here are 11 things every person who hates physical touch will understand:


1. When people tickle you

I don't care that it's just for fun and jokes; I'm not laughing because I want to, you are literally forcing me to laugh. I hate you, get your greasy hands off of me before I make you get them off of me.


2. When people think they need to tap your shoulder to get your attention

As if simply saying "Hey" followed by my name wasn't enough. I don't need your grubby little fingers touching me. Now I'm annoyed with you before this conversation even started, what do you want?


3. When someone you barely know reaches in for a hug

I don't know who the heck you're thinking you're about to hug because it sure isn't going to be me. Hugs are reserved for people I know well and like, not you. Okay release me now, I am not enjoying this. LET ME GO.


4. When people tell you that you aren't an affectionate person

Are you aware there are ways to show my affection without constantly being all over you like a koala bear? Yes, I'm affectionate, hop off.


5. When someone is in your personal space

We could be best friends, we could be complete strangers. We could be lovers, I could hate your guts. We could be in private, we could be in public. I don't care what the situation is, if you're in my personal space uninvited GET OUT. There is no reason to be so close to me unwarranted.


6. You don't know how to comfort people

When you see an upset loved one, most people think they you should comfort then by pulling them into a long lasting hug. But, that's the kind of things that your nightmares are literally made out of. So, you stand there confused how you should comfort your friend/relative while also not sacrificing your touch moral code.


7. When people say you "look like you could use a hug"

Um no. I never could use one, get off of me. I will let you know when I want one.


8. When you're hugging someone wondering how soon you can release

Please end my suffering.


9. When you arrive at a social gathering and people rush to greet you with hugs

Let's not.

10. When you try to leave a social gathering by just waving to get out of goodbye hugs

Please no one make me hug you.


11. That one person who is allowed to hug you/touch you

This person, typically a significant other or best friend, gets to break all the "no touch" rules and we gladly accept their hugs and cuddles and public displays of affection. But only them, no one can copy them.

Cover Image Credit: YouTube

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Poetry On Odyssey: I'll Miss You

Don't leave me

30
views

I'll miss you when you go away

I'll miss you when you start to walk out the door

I'll miss you when the door shuts behind you


Please don't leave me

Please don't make me feel this pain

Please don't make me wait again


I need you to know how much I care

I need you to know what this does to me

I need you to know I wish you could stay


So please don't go

But don't let me hold you back

I know this is the best for you

Just know I'll miss you

Related Content

Facebook Comments