Did your mother ever nag you about watching too much TV? True, it’s not great exercise, but research suggest people who watch TV dramas are actually doing themselves (and their friends) a favor. So the next time you get teased for being a television junkie, use these talking points to silence the critics.
Here are 8 reasons to love people who watch TV dramas.
1. They have more empathy, according to research.
A research study found that people who watched dramas scored higher on a test measuring empathy and social intelligence than people who watched documentaries.
“…participants were randomly assigned to watch either an award-winning TV drama” (Mad Men, West Wing, The Good Wife, or Lost) “or a TV documentary” (Shark Week, How the Universe Works, NOVA Colosseum, Through the Wormhole).”
The results showed that “participants who viewed a TV drama performed significantly higher on the Reading the Mind in the Eyes Test, which essentially measures social intelligence. These results were published in the journal Psychology of Aesthetics, Creativity, and the Arts.
2. They always have something new to talk about. And it usually starts with “Oh my gosh!”
It’s funny how one forty-five minute episode can spawn half a dozen conversations. “Did you see…?” “Can you believe…?” “Do you think…?” And I love how many times these conversations take a meaningful turn and lead to a discussion that might have never happened otherwise.
3. They can communicate effectively with TV-based analogies.
I can barely talk (or write) without using analogies. It’s like Lorelai Gilmore trying to have a conversation with her mother without smarting off. Or The Walking Dead trying to finish an episode without someone getting torn to shreds (after Season 2 anyway). Or Lost trying to wrap up the series without confusing the audience half to death. I know the Lost joke is late to the party, but hey, I wasn’t blogging when that show came out.
4. They’re open to new ideas and perspectives.
Dramas are great at challenging viewers’ thinking by exposing them to new ideas and humanizing people who hold unpopular perspectives. TV shows are a safe way to expose yourself to dangerous circumstances and insert yourself into another person’s shoes. You find yourself asking, “What would I do in this situation?” “How would I react?” And you just might find yourself connecting with a character you would have avoided before.
5. They love stories.
I’m a compulsive storyteller, and I love being around people who appreciate the habit. TV dramas offer some of the best storytelling there is because their numerous episodes give the writers the opportunity to develop robust characters the audience grows to love.
6. They’ll join you for fun watch parties.
Watch parties rule, especially when twists and turns keep everyone gasping. A good drama gives you loads of opportunities to have friends over and to blend the real world with a fun bit of fiction.
7. They’ll team up with you for amazing Halloween costumes.
This Halloween, my wife and I were Burt Macklin and Janet Snakehole from Parks and Recreation. It was so fun because, everywhere we went, people who watched the show would freak out. And maybe that’s the best thing about great TV shows – they bring people together.
If you’re looking to add a new show to your watch list, here’s a ranking from IMDB of the “Highest Rated TV Series With At Least 5,000 Votes.” Browse through and see if there’s a drama that strikes your fancy.