The Psychology of Television Viewers

As I posted in my previous entry for today, I was shocked and a bit dismayed at the death of a favoured character on Ghost Whisperer. But that’s as far as my emotional response went.

Sure I’d really dislike it if the character were permanently written off or if his presence were changed in any way. I’d even be upset if the show were canceled, because like anyone else, we watch these programmes and become emotionally invested in what happens to them. Up to a point. It’s the same when I read a book.

It astonishes me, then, when I read of people sobbing hysterically and losing sleep when a character on a television programme is allegedly killed off. That seems a bit extreme. I admit I’ve come to that point once in my life, but I was a teenager then and we all know how emotionally volatile teens are.

It makes me wonder what the psychological make up is of these individuals who react so extremely to fictional characters.

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2 thoughts on “The Psychology of Television Viewers

  1. I remember Childline put on extra lines over the rumoured character death in Harry Potter. I remember commenting to Harry-Potter-Fan friend, in a roomful of Harry-Potter-Fans, that no one should care if the entire cast get eaten.

    In retrospect, I wouldn’t have changed my words, even if they hadn’t bypassed my internal edit-box. People need to get a grip on the definitions of ‘fiction’ and ‘reality’.

  2. I care about characters in books and such, but not to the point of obsession… i.e. I’d quit reading a series or quit watching a tv programme just because a character is killed off. I mean face it, for many actors and actresses, this is a job. If they get tired of it, they’re entitled to move on. Just like the rest of us.

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