Prime Time television and reruns...

a tv show can teach you stuff

A television show you love is more than a habit. It is an identification with characters or setting or a way of thinking. When Lost ended recently, it was an event. I learned from Lost that things I assume to be true or real may not be. I learned the value of storytelling and its emotional impact over time. Living in northern Minnesota, the scenery and location of Lost in Hawaii has additional ties after living on Oahu for a year. Those same desires to find locations happened with Magnum PI and Hawaii 5-0. Lost has more exotic locals, in forests, jungles, camps away from the beaten trail.

A good television show isn' predictable. It has elements of humor. Classic tv shows like "Hogan's Heros" or "Bonanza" have a location like a prison camp or a large ranch in Nevada, and central characters who are involved in conflict and adventure.

"Seinfeld" has favorites like the "Soup Nazi" and the "anti-dentite' and a sarcasm which typifies our age. It has a different vehicle in reruns every day; compared with a weekly routine with familiar theme music and flashed images like NCIS.

I like NCIS for its tech stuff and fast witted humor. It mirrors current events and looks at how agencies interact, relationships to authority, problem solving, and character development.

Dancing with the Stars is about music, color and reality. It shows people in shape with discipline, timing and expression. This series is about teaching, encouraging and pleasing people. Dancers demostrate vulnerability, pride and earn respect.

HOUSE tries to solve health issues as a team while dealing with hospital politics and personal issues. This show teaches communication, friendship, and problem solving, with a cynical in-your-face humor slicing through boundaries, titles and healthy relationships.

THE MENTALIST and LIE TO ME are teaching shows from different angles studying details of human behavior. I like the MENTALIST for its humor, rebellion spirit, and chess-type conflict moves that entertain with poignancy. MONK is a behavioral series with a sadness. Behind the character development of Adrian Monk and co-workers you learn attention to detail and problem solving (with humor) involving patience.

In our culture something is revealed about us talking about shows and why we like or dislike them. THE OFFICE has a cultural revelation all its own, a humor and raw truth that is painful. For anyone who has a middle manager or been one, this cast of characters is beyond my writing ability.

Whether we watch THE PRETENDER, MISSION IMPOSSIBLE, TO CATCH A THIEF or EVERYBODY LOVES RAYMOND, tv is woven into our culture and identities. We watch shows in our homes or wherever. The times they're scheduled influence our behavior and actions.

With the advent of DVDs there is another level of control, watching a season at a time without commercials. (Tivo also changes things.) There is caution about getting involved in a new show, and a learning curve after getting 'sucker punched' by a series you left or was cancelled by low ratings.

A tv show is a package, in a more condensed way than a movie. A series is an ongoing menu of meals forked over gradually or preserved for future entertainment. A movie is a one time event, or collection like STAR TREK .Its longer length gives time to delve in different ways into the story.

With season finales there is a collective sigh and a long wait. There are reruns. This whole article is done and I haven't mentioned sports, news, informercials or soap operas.. Oh well....

and then there is the weather......:)  

www.hulu.com is a great site for online watching.


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2 comments

Benjimester profile image

Benjimester 7 years ago from San Diego, California

Haha, "the anti-dentite." I loved that one. What about Firefly and Babylon 5. Gotta get the Sci-fi in there :)


Teresa McGurk profile image

Teresa McGurk 7 years ago from The Other Bangor

Enjoyable hub -- TV can indeed be as educational as we let it be (we can always learn more, even as we are being entertained).

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