TV shows are more than fiction

Photo courtesy of Blake Israel

We have all been there: After a long week(s) filled with multiple assignments and assessments, we look forward to unwinding by catching up on our favorite TV show. For those 20 to 50 minutes, we become sucked into a story, and we escape completely from the stressors of the outside world. The experiences we share with on-screen characters are ones that help bring out our best laughs and smiles, give us new perspectives on different scenarios, and help us find the answers to many of our biggest questions. 

With the growth of streaming services, we can watch a show that aired over a span of multiple years in a matter of months, but that does not take away from the growth that we ourselves show during the given span. As we watch the characters navigate the various situations they find themselves in and grow, we also grow alongside them.

Last year, “Brooklyn Nine-Nine” concluded after running for eight years. In the pilot episode, Jake Peralta, one of the main characters, was introduced to the new police captain, Raymond Holt, as “[He] loves solving puzzles. The only puzzle he hasn’t solved is how to grow up.” Throughout the rest of the series, Peralta shows great character development leading up to the series finale where he makes large decisions impacting the landscape of the rest of his life. Captain Holt shared with Peralta how his journey has come full circle and how Peralta has solved the puzzle of growing up.  

Often, when we see the finish line of something, we reflect on the journey, and we see where we were at different times along the journey. TV shows are a prime example of this. After seeing that series finale, we may have remembered the time when we first watched the pilot episode and the person we were at that time. As we continued to watch the show, we also grew into the people we are today. 

Another major way that TV shows help us grow as people is by opening our eyes to some of the world’s most amazing secrets. In DC’s “Flash” TV series, Barry Allen is the paragon of love. 

No matter how dire a situation becomes, he never lets his faith in humanity and our love for one another waver. He always considers how he can protect everyone and does not let the situation cloud his core value: that the strongest thing people do is love one another. He demonstrates time and time again that our emotions are one of our biggest strengths, not a weakness.

As we continue to grow into the leaders of tomorrow, this is one of the biggest ideas we can take with us. We will move into stages where the ramifications of our decisions are beyond just us, but also to countless others around us. When we see examples of the power of love and emotions, we can use that in our daily actions and decisions. 

Additionally, college is a time where we continue to reach new heights, find who we are as people, and strive to answer many of our questions. It can be a momentous change from the previous chapter of our lives. 

That change is what can be the catalyst for the biggest growth in our lives and transform us into the people we hope to become. As Sheldon Cooper from “The Big Bang Theory” says after he saw the large changes that followed his winning of the Nobel Prize, “Interesting. So you’re saying the inevitability of change might be a universal constant.” 

Sheldon felt scared or overwhelmed by the sudden change, but realized that embracing change is essential to growth.

Each day we encounter a wide range of experiences that shape us into the individuals we are even when we think we are just turning on one of our favorite TV shows to do nothing more than relax. Whether it is watching Jake Peralta solve cases and growing in a light-hearted way, Barry Allen showing his love for humanity while saving as many people as he can, or Sheldon Cooper getting emotional when everything around him has changed, we see portrayals of the answers to many of our own questions.