Good vs Bad: How to Learn the Right Lessons from Television Shows



Few things are as unavoidable as television and when it comes to things that we consume frequently, it’s best to be careful. In fact, it’s comparable to food and water – you’re careful that the water you consume is properly disinfected, that your food won’t poison you – you want to do the same for what it is that you take in mentally, says

Critical Viewing

Bingeing a show can be great fun! Still, while you binge, you want to actually think about what’s on the screen.

Often, this means digging into characters’ actions, motivations, and consequences to figure out what the creators are really trying to tell you. Get into the nitty-gritty of who these characters are and what their choices are all about so that you’re not just watching on the surface – you’re asking yourself if what’s happening aligns with broader ethical standards. Think about the impact of characters’ choices, not just on them but on the whole moral compass of the story.

Take Breaking Bad for example. Walter White’s rollercoaster from chemistry teacher to drug lord? It’s like a crash course in the consequences of decisions, making you realize how crucial moral choices are. And that? That’s the real lesson after some serious character dissection.

Contextual Understanding

Then, it’s a good idea to not take everything at face value. You want to get into backstories and context if you’re going to avoid oversimplification.

For example, cultural elements shape characters’ moves, and recognizing that what they’re doing is tied to cultural norms, reveals a whole other layer to why they act the way they do. Likewise with historical backgrounds. When you try to connect the dots between what happens in a series and the real-world historical moments, you better appreciate the complexity of it all.

For example, knowing the historical background of The Crown really elevates the viewing experience. Suddenly, the royal decisions aren’t just plot points – they’re influenced by the bigger picture. 

Reflective Analysis

Then, why not really think about how a show hits you in the feels? It’s not just about entertainment; analyze those gut reactions to scenes or character arcs, because that’s where the profound stuff lies.

How? Often, it means asking yourself why exactly a plot, storyline, or even character breakdown matches up with something about you or your life. It’s like a reality check for your ethical principles.

Take The Good Place for example. With its deep dive into and reliance on philosophy as a storytelling tool, it’s not just a show; it’s a journey into your own values. Reflect on the characters’ ethical dilemmas, and suddenly, you’re thinking about your own beliefs so that it isn’t just entertainment but a path to self-awareness and growth.

Yes, television shows are generally meant to be entertaining! Still, there’s no reason why you can’t kill two birds with one stone and learn a thing or two as well. 

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