If I had to choose between film or television, TV would win hands down.
I love television. I’m not going to pretend like it’s just something that I occasionally do to kill time. I genuinely look forward to my shows, and feel sad when they go away. I consider owning several seasons of shows on DVD perfectly reasonable, and altogether necessary in some cases. I heard once that television was created merely as a means by which advertisements could be presented to consumers. In other words, television shows exist primarily as a nice wrapping around the real reason for the TV: commercials. While that may have some validity, these shows that we love to watch mean so much more than just a fun break, although they are good for that, too.
For me, certain television shows provide an escape the way that film does, but in a much more expansive way. A movie provides you with a story; at the most 3 or so hours laying out a storyline from start to finish. Films are wonderful for this reason, and I love them as well. But a show can do something that films in themselves cannot do… they can present characters that you grow with over the course of years, making them feel more like someone you know and admire, at least from afar, and can laugh with and learn from. That may sound like it’s coming from someone who has no real-life experiences or friends to be entertained by, but I can tell you as someone who enjoys having lots of real-life adventures with fun, non-fictional people, there’s something to be said about living other lives vicariously through these characters that can give a different kind of joy. It’s the same type of joy as the kind one gets from reading a long book. You grow to love them, get angry with them, and care what happens to them.
Then, there’s what happens behind the show – the writing, the actors, the design – that make me love it all the more. It’s so fun to watch the sets grow and develop around the characters, and see how the actors get to know and learn how to really become this person that they are portraying.
These shows provide not only entertainment, but common ground with strangers, lessons for life, and ways to make even the most mundane of situations enjoyable through familiarity. As Tina Fey said, “You can tell how smart people are by what they laugh at.” It’s really true, and you know what, T.V. can help you out there, too.
All in all, television brings me joy. It inspired me to get into this crazy business in the first place, and motivates me to keep trying to get where I want to go with it. I guess that’s all. Thanks for listening.