“It’s Just a TV Show,” So They Say

September 10, 2017 at 1:45 AM | Posted in TV | Leave a comment
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How many of us are glued to the TV screen or computer every week watching our favorite shows and be completely engrossed by the story we are watching? Have you ever shed tears while watching a show or curse and yell at the characters you see onscreen? For some people, TV shows are just a form of entertainment – a past time that they do after a stressful day at work or grueling hours in school. They don’t dwell too much on the story or get invested in the characters of the shows they’re watching.

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But for others, TV shows are more than that. Watching a show can be a life-changing experience for them. While it can be a form of escape for others, for some it can be very influential that it affects their decisions in life. For me, watching my favorite shows is inspiring. It sparks my creativity. It inspires me to be a better writer. That’s why I get annoyed when I read comments online that they find it funny that some fans of a show are so emotionally invested in the story and the characters. They usually say, “It’s just a TV show. You realize they are just fictional characters?”

Well let me tell you that it’s more than just a TV show. I’ve read enough articles, cast interviews and fan comments to know that these shows have had great influence on fans that they became a better person. Some even have launched successful careers based on the fictional characters they’ve watched and loved.

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One fine example of this is The Scully Effect phenomenon. The Scully Effect is attributed to fictional character Dana Scully, a forensic pathologist and an FBI agent from the hit series The X-Files, which I also happen to love. The phenomenon saw female fans of the show pursuing a career in medicine, science or law enforcement after watching Scully on the show.

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While I didn’t pursue a STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) career, the show still influenced me in the way I view women in society. I look up to Scully and see her as a role model for women. She is strong, smart, independent, can hold on her own and is not afraid to speak her mind. After watching The X-Files for years, I now look for shows with a strong female character in it. I get disinterested with shows or movies with underdeveloped, two-dimensional female characters. I especially get annoyed with shows or movies that have damsel-in-distress or objectified characters in them.

Another example of how life-changing a show can be is the fandom of Orphan Black, collectively known as Clone Club. As a fan myself, I’ve heard so many stories from fellow fans of how much the show mean to them, especially for the LGBT community. Many fans have said the show inspired them to embrace their sexuality and come out. To those who haven’t seen the show, Orphan Black has themes on female empowerment, diversity and inclusivity. Tatiana Maslany, who plays the lead character on the show about clones, also plays other characters, which includes Cosima – a young bisexual student – and a transgender named Tony.

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I’m sure there are other shows out there that have a profound effect on fans. That’s why it’s wrong to assume that TV shows are just a form of entertainment that should be taken lightly. There are many good shows out there that inspire people or spark meaningful dialogues about society, politics, religion, science and many more. And I know there are shows that hire consultants to make the story believable or scientifically accurate. Shows can question or challenge your belief on anything, or it can validate whatever you believe in. That’s how significant they are.

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