Watching a familiar television show can feel like visiting an old friend.
Trying out or binge-watching new shows can give you a conversation icebreaker or help you share in a larger conversation.
How much is too much television, though?
“During COVID, we each turned to something, and media is a great answer to that,” Holladay said. “We’re really narrative creatures. In the same way you would pick up a book, it’s nice to have a television series that you can spend some time with and invest your time in.”
Media as the good guy
Throughout history, media has been feared and demonized, noted Holladay. But she said it’s not the boogey man it is often portrayed to be.
“There were moral panics associated with media from the very beginning, whether that’s newspaper or film,” Holladay said. “When we were growing up, obviously it was video games.”
People feared the lack of exercise, isolation and desensitization to violence associated with different forms of media.
Most media forms today aren’t isolating, and are increasingly social, she argued.
“My students talk about this all the time: They have friends all over the world they play video games with. So, I don’t necessarily think that even the quote unquote over consumption we were doing was isolating.”
Don’t feel guilty
Just as she doesn’t believe in over consumption of media, Holladay also doesn’t believe in the idea of guilty pleasure television.
“Part of my resistance to calling something a ‘guilty pleasure’ is that much of it is made for and by women,” she said. “You should just unapologetically and enthusiastically enjoy whatever it is you enjoy.”
Never have to let go
Holladay recently published an article about how we interact with media – in particular television shows.
“We are granted all sorts of access to our fan objects because of streaming services, social media, rewatches and all of these ways that we can continue to engage even after a show concludes.”
Rewatching a series can be a comfort activity for many, Holladay said.
“When a series has been on the air for five, eight, 10 years, you’ve really gotten to know these characters. They feel like friends and family who are really important to you,” she said. “We have a tendency to pathologize that, but it’s such a normal thing.”