COLUMN: TV no longer a “guilty” pleasure


Ian Stoubaugh

Ian Stobaugh, Columnist

Before the pandemic, TV was sort of seen as something to watch when you wanted to be lazy, or if you needed a distraction. Watching shows and movies is something almost all of us do, and we’ve all most likely binged a show at one point. However, it used to be a thing to feel guilty about. If you stayed in bed all day watching a season of your favorite show instead of doing an assignment that was due next week, you were lazy and avoided what you needed to do. And yes, while it is better to get on top of what you need to do, it isn’t wrong to take a break and watch TV.

However, with the outbreak of COVID-19, there isn’t much to do when you’re stuck inside. Everyone was talking about the shows they were binging, what shows kept them entertained, and what shows they watched that they never would have watched before COVID-19. There was also a good amount of people who started to watch shows for the emotional connection instead of the pure entertainment.

Before the pandemic, I would watch shows and become attached to the characters, the plot, the set, or whatever caught my eye. I could go on about why a certain character was my absolute favorite, and why their side character wasn’t so good. I could talk about how the sets of a certain show add to the emotional component of the show, and how it subconsciously helps the audience make a connection with the characters. But whenever I would talk about this with someone, they would seem lost or like they thought I made it up. Now, however, I’m finding that more people are relating with discussions surrounding these parts of the TV shows and movies we consume.

I will say, however, that there has been an overwhelming amount of people who have started watching TV more purely as a distraction. It helps us cope with the feelings that come along with the pandemic, and it gives us a way to experience a secondary source of human interaction. But even with this type of habit, people are becoming less guilty for sitting in bed during their free time and binging a show or movie series. It’s not seen as lazy as much as it was before 2020, and I think that’s a good thing.

While it isn’t a great idea to watch something for hours on end, without doing anything else that needs to be done (meaning self care, school work, etc.), it is important to take a step back sometimes and take a break. That could mean a lot of different things–it could mean writing a short story, learning to crochet, or taking time to water your plants. But sometimes, it means taking a breath and doing nothing. It’s okay to sit for a few hours a day and stare at a screen while one of your favorite stories plays out. It shouldn’t be something to feel guilty about.

Ian Stobaugh is a freshman German major. He can be reached at [email protected] or at 581-2812.