My Life on Television

Rachel Jin, Staff Writer

Growing up, I’ve heard countless adults say, “TV is bad for your brain”, or that “TV brainwashes people”.

Though I was 99% sure that my parents’ warnings were just propaganda to motivate me to do something more productive with my time, I soon began to question my own Netflix-binging habits.

TV shows may be fun, but I wasn’t sure I gained much from watching Alexander Skarsgard sucking people’s blood or Scott Disick proclaim his superiority over the peasants. In fact, I wasn’t sure I learned anything from TV. I came home that night, dejected that my one favorite activity was nearly useless.

Over time however, I have found many of the ludicrous themes from TV shows relevant to my own life. There are certainly some life lessons that TV has taught me. I have come to realize that in every show, I learn something if I choose to listen.

1. Life is short. (Game of Thrones)

We all think we have all of our lives ahead of us to work, to experiment, and to be adventurous. We keep up an attitude of “I’ll do that later”, and before you know it the time has gone by. Next time you’re on the fence about trying something new, just go full Drake (#yolo) and do it anyways. You never know, this might be your last chance. I mean, one minute you’re drinking a friendly cup of wine at your wedding, and then suddenly you’re bleeding out of your eyes in Cersei’s arms as 6 million people cheer in front of their TV sets. You just never know.

2. Family comes first. (Supernatural)

In the pilot episode of Supernatural, Sam puts his entire life on hold to search for his missing father with his brother, Dean. Sure, he’s unsuccessful at first and comes home to find his girlfriend skewered and on fire, but he presses on anyway, and together they fight deadly monsters and come face to face with death in the name of reuniting their family. Of course, no one would actually have to do that, but always remember to call your parents when you’re in college and remind Mom that her cooking is superior to 10-cent Top Ramen.

3. 10 seconds at a time. (Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt)

This is a rule that I followed even before Ellie Kemper graced the screens with her bubbling, offbeat personality. Sometimes life gets too much for us to handle; we worry about our grades, about our relationships with our friends, about whether or not our morning donuts will eventually accumulate to heart disease when we’re 40. It’s hard to manage such things all at once. So I say don’t. Instead of focusing on your grades as a whole, just try to do really well on the next assignment, and then the one after that. It’ll eventually amount to something good, even if you don’t realize it yet.

4. Never apologize for being yourself (The Big Bang Theory)

Sheldon Cooper is condescending. Sheldon is demanding. Sheldon is even a bit of a show off. But one thing Sheldon never does is apologize for himself. Though people find it annoying, he always finds a way to justify himself and stand for what he believes in. He is socially inept, he never knows the right thing to say, and he is petty and irritable, but at the end of the day, it doesn’t even matter. He is proud to be who he is, and even with all these flaws we still like him better than we like Penny.

5. Good friends can help you through anything. (Friends and How I Met Your Mother)

Sure, you could end up with friends who are constantly scouting out “hot, bangable chicks” at the bar, or who still sleep with a stuffed penguin named Hugsy. They might give you humiliating nicknames like Swarley or sneak into your apartment to eat your food. But they really do care about you when it counts, and you know that they will always give you great advice and help you through your toughest struggles when you need them most.

Sometimes, you might feel guilty about watching 3 hours of Netflix without having started studying for tomorrow’s test.  While it’s hard to learn about the history of the Ottoman Empire by watching reality TV, know that you’re still learning something. See what lessons you can take from your Netflix marathons. And maybe next time you drop your $75,000 ring in the ocean, you won’t need Kourtney to tell you that other people have it worse off.