Why are we so vested in television shows? As the endings come for 24 and Lost people are chatting it up. Did they really mean this or that? Is Jack on 24 going to just walk happily into the sunset? Did everyone die on Lost during the crash after the crash or before the crash (I didn't watch this show ever). Who's dancing, who's leaving, who's staying and who's getting divorced, who's singing, who's laughing all the way to the bank and who will be the new apprentice. I am hooked. I watch a lot of TLC (the learning channel) or for those of us (the loving channel).
I can see how houses are bought and sold, mansions big and small and decorating on a dime, a quarter or a million dollars. I can see a family with 8 kids, 14 kids, 19 kids and counting or little people or the Man with Half a Body. Why do we watch these shows? Is it just plain old curiosity, is it a desire to live like them or be them? More questions than answers for my brain to take in but I come back year after year. For me it is an escape into a world I know nothing about it. I find myself introduced to people I could never become because of genetics or wealth or circumstances that I have not experienced.
But most of all I like people's stories and what better way to see them than on reality TV. It shocks, it elicits compassion or outright horror. It makes my life look incredibly easy or extremely blessed. It makes me wonder how people make choices in their lives whether it be religious, selfish, amazingly empathetic to the plight of abandoned children with disabilities or taking in people of questionable character to give them a chance. It fills my days with wonderment and outright loathing but still I watch. Sometimes I have to turn away during a major operation or to not look at the horrible disfigurements that are on display. It opens the world to people to see things they never imagine or even wondered about. It invites you in and then lets you take it from there. It moves you or just plain annoys you.
Regular TV does the same but in the end you know it is fiction and never happened for the most part. It is what is supposed to be or at least wants you to think families are- all agreeable and never have any deep conversations. Then they hit you with a death, or murder and the whole perspective changes you and it gives food for thought and a way of connecting with people at work around the proverbial water cooler.
And if this isn't enough you can always watch the Daily Show, Rachel Maddow for the liberals or Fox for the rest.
But some days it is all too much and I shut the TV down and read or check my sites online which give me all the updates without the actual viewing. It gets to me in all forms these days. It makes me long for the days when I was a kid and I could go roam on my bicycle or my feet looking through windows at night and experience the wonders of the lives of my neighbors in my imagination.