What’s the Difference?

Lately, it has really been getting on my nerves when people criticize someone for being too into a television show. You don’t know how that show touches them, or helps them overcome something in their life. The bottom line is you don’t know the person and don’t have the right to criticize them.

I say this because I, and many of my friends, are these people. I know of someone who met the main actress from her favorite television show and told her how much the show means to her because in her life she has gone through similar things as the female lead in the show. How would you feel if you told that girl that she was too obsessed with the show and that it was just a show? You wouldn’t know that she has painful, personal ties to the show from your first impression of her.

I usually get the strangest responses from people when I tell them that my favorite TV show right now is The X-Files (I also like all of the CSI‘s and stuff, but my first answer will be The X-Files). Just the other day, an old friend who hadn’t seen me came up to me from behind(I was reading with my headphones in and didn’t hear her), hugged me, and asked what I was reading. I was reading the novelization of I Want To Believe, the second X-Files movie. When I showed her and she just stared for a minute, I said “I’m kind of obsessed with it” and she just said “You need to be filling your mind with better things.” Ok. Pause. This is when the “Don’t judge a book by its cover” saying comes in handy. Just because you may remember the X-Files as some scary, 90s cult TV shows (which it is, yet I happen to like it) doesn’t mean that it is absolute crap (or as my mother likes to call it, “that mess”). It means something to somebody. You wouldn’t like it if I criticized or judged something that you liked, now would you? No.

I don’t understand why people can’t see TV shows the same way they see books. Books have stories that have great meaning, with things that we can apply to our lives. If they didn’t, what would be the purpose of our high school Literature classes? I just can’t seem to understand why people have the hardest time seeing TV shows as having a good story that can be applied to everyday life. There are numerous talented writers and producers who come up with the ideas for the shows that our out nowadays. What makes them different from a book author? If the writers of House or CSI went and wrote down the whole season as a book, what would make it different from any other excellent work of fiction at Barnes and Noble?

I think that books and television shows can both have meaning, just in different ways. People dismiss television shows as invaluable because they are on TV, and as everyone knows, nothing good is on TV (sarcasm). Maybe I’m wrong, and there are people somewhere who won’t dismiss an obsession with a television show as a dumb addiction. However, where I live, that is not the case. TV scripts are as good as a fiction bestseller. Storyboards are graphic novels in their own way. The next time you see someone freaking out about a television show, think about how you act when you talk about your favorite book.



3 thoughts on “What’s the Difference?

  1. Your dismay at the questioning look of your friend seems a little misplaced, because isn’t that a judgement? I don’t know what the conversation you had with your friend continued to cover, or whether you were able to deal with your love of X-files (and all things CSI) and question her on what these “better things” were. As recovering Comicbook/Fantasy/TVaddict I’ve never allowed myself to get to the point where I could be called obsessed (in my opinion), but I’m very aware of why these “fruitless pursuits” are important to me: Comics allowed me to escape to a world where right and wrong was easily defined because my own adolescent world was in turmoil; Fantasy books continued my internal investigation of what it meant to be a hero, and maybe I had what it took to make an impact in the world that I inhabited; and TV is just a time waster, I have not justification for it. It’s just fun. I hope you find what you are looking for.

    1. Well, this person who had the “questioning look” in response to me reading my book wasn’t only that. There was more, but I didn’t go into detail in the post. How comic books and fantasy novels were for you is how some TV shows are for people. I have met former cancer patients and people who struggle with eating disorders, and other illnesses who have stated how The X-Files has given them the strength they needed (particularly the female lead of the show). Also as I said with the other girl who met the female lead from the show Castle, she had personal experiences that almost mirrored the main female character of the show. Now I know that not everyone has the same “connection” to the show or whatever, but I think it would be wrong to tell her that she is “obsessed” with that show and needs to get a life. That’s what my main problem is with people hating on certain TV shows. I simply used the example with my friend as an example. When it comes down to it all, they all are stories, and we learn from stories, and yes, they can also be an escape. If there was a TV series of say something that the Bronte sisters wrote, or based off of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s work, or even J.D. Salinger (these books because are all viewed as “classics” today), wouldn’t it be kind of messed up to tell someone that they are *too* into them, though we regard books like these as classics and use them to teach examples from in schools everyday? The point being that stories are everywhere, and there is always going to be someone who is obsessed with them, someone who seems “over the top”. TV gets a bad rap because it’s acted out in front of a camera, and that’s wasting time, yet reading isn’t? I love to read, don’t get me wrong, but I just don’t see why television shows can’t be seen as the great stories that they are without someone being “a crazy fan” or something. I’m guessing I’m going to have to start providing a detailed explanation to everyone who just thinks that I’m wasting my time with the television shows I like, because there is a reason for everything, and I just don’t see why people can’t just like what they like and be left alone. Stories are an escape, and whether or not they are written or acted out, they are meaningful to people.

  2. True, some TV shows are trash, like reality television (save for my wee fascination with Rachel Crow from The X Factor), but other ones that have real stories really mean something to some people.

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