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What Television Offers to Viewers

Updated on June 24, 2018

Television Program called Friends

In the article entitled Watching TV Makes You Smarter, Steven Johnson (2005) justifies his claims that television shows contain remarkable benefits. Johnson’s exploratory work surprises academicians and viewers how television shows make them become smart and what the impact of television shows on people’s brains are. Consequently, they discover that television shows contain violence, obscenity, and foul language that may threaten the viewers. Some critics attempt to dispute his argument and maintain that television programs do not help viewers developmental prowess. Instead, viewers become mentally unresponsive due to exposure on television shows. Though some television programs contain violence, obscenity, and foul language, Johnson contends that they help viewers improve brain functions.

To begin, television shows help brain operations function well. Johnson (2005) strongly claims that television shows offer helpful advantages to the viewers (213). Television shows such as Lost, 24, and Fringe that require viewers to engage in multiple viewings, for example, will enhance viewers’ brain functions. These programs comprise multi-faceted plots with suspenseful acts that attract many viewers to think about what happens next to the scenes (Hibbing & Rankin-Erickson 186; Healy 74). In horror films and suspense programs, viewers are able to exhibit brain functions when they predict what happens next acts with interesting plots and heart-pounding scenes. Through careful analysis, Johnson proves that television shows have a positive impact on people’s brain functions (Singer 49). Albeit some critics will reason that these television shows are threatening, Johnson repudiates them with pieces of evidence and other studies proving that televisions are reasonably healthy for the brains.

Undoubtedly, some television shows undergo a dramatic change in imparting knowledge. From the olden times, television programs were more structured than the shows presented today. Johnson emphasized that television shows before were controlled and that the plot narratives were predictable. For example, the rules of the television shows like The Love Boat and The Newlywed Game were charted and plotted, which did not require critical attention. Viewers did not exert much effort understanding the series of events of the story. Unlike the television shows today such as Lost, Fringe, and The Apprentice, these sophisticated and contemporary programs would demand further analysis that could allow viewers to develop critical thinking (Armstrong 17). As such, watching some television programs that would engage the viewers to develop their critical thinking is effective to make them smart.

Furthermore, watching television shows makes viewers become smart. Strange as it may sound, television shows offer a positive impact on the brain functions, which make viewers become smart (Jensen 63). This idea is simply explained through the Sleeper Curve, which theorizes that television viewers can easily follow and grasp the demand for the complicated plot narratives of the stories. The Sleeper Curve suggests that television shows activate people’s brains in order to function actively. Johnson’s illustrations with the television shows such as Dragnet, Starsky, and Hutch, and The Sopranos explain how the television viewers will follow strict linear narratives with three different threads. These programs do not simply project an artistic substance, but they also provide certain forces to facilitate the brains to functions well (Johnson 216; Andrejevic 38). Once they learn these new threads, they can also understand new complicated concepts that activate their brain cells. Even if the shows obtain some complicated plot narratives, they can even grasp the ideas embedded in the television shows since they are aware of the film techniques.

In the end, television viewers should change their standards in rating what effective television shows to consider. Even if The Sopranos and 24 contain violence and vulgarity, they are more important in brain development. Johnson’s argument encourages viewers to acknowledge the complicated and engaging television shows because viewers can exercise the parts of their brain to build social networks and to fill in some omitted thoughts and concepts in order to connect numerous narrative threads. Johnson taught his viewers that parents look into the details of the television shows instead of ignoring those television programs to watch. In other words, they should focus on the program’s plot development instead of creating a negative idea of the television shows.

Television Series called Heroes

Works Cited

Andrejevic, Mark. “Watching Television without Pity the Productivity of Online Fans.” Television & New Media 9.1 (2008): 24-46.

Armstrong, Thomas. “You’re Smarter than You Think: A Kid's Guide to Multiple Intelligences.” New York: Free Spirit Publishing, 2014.

Healy, Jane M. “Endangered Minds: Why Children Don’t Think And What We Can Do About It.” Simon and Schuster, 2011.

Hibbing, Anne Nielsen, and Joan L. Rankin-Erickson. “A Picture is Worth a Thousand Words: Using Visual Images to Improve Comprehension for Middle School Struggling Readers.” The Reading Teacher (2003): 758-770.

Jensen, Eric. “Enriching the Brain: How to Maximize Every Learner’s Potential.” John Wiley & Sons, 2009.

Johnson, Steven. “Watching TV makes you smarter.” New York: The New York Times, 24, (2005). Print.

Singer, Jerome. “The power and limitations of television: A cognitive-affective analysis.” The Entertainment Functions of Television (1980): 31-65.

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