Find comfort in familiar media

Ethan Hurwitz, Sports Editor

When you are feeling stressed or anxious, what is your go-to move?

For some, it is lounging on the couch and cracking open a good book. For others, it may be popping in some headphones and listening to your favorite artist. Others may turn to different forms of media, like television or podcasts.

Finding comfort in a favorite movie or television show has become more common during the COVID-19 pandemic. 60% of Americans spent an increased amount of time huddled with a blanket and some popcorn to enjoy a movie according to a 2020 OnePoll study.

I have been doing the same thing for years and it has worked every time, without fail.

Billy Madison,” Adam Sandler’s breakout 1995 role as a spoiled man-child who goes back to elementary school to earn the respect of his father, is my favorite movie of all time. I cannot go a full day without making a reference to a number of hilarious scenes, much to my family’s displeasure. One of Billy’s most famous lines, “Stop looking at me swan,” even found its way as my senior year quote in my high school yearbook.

But whenever I turn on a TV, why do I stay in my comfort zone and stick with “Billy Madison?” Why don’t I explore the depths of streaming services and change up my movie choice?

Re-watching a movie or television show is comforting for people, as they already know the outcome. It allows them to become familiar with the lines and actors and become fully immersed with the film. According to healthcare network Patient, people will consistently repeat these actions to become more familiar and thus, fall in love with it.

Former opinion editor Xavier Cullen wrote last year how celebrities and social media influencers are not your friends. While I agree with the overall concept, I do think that there are some things that these social media users and actors can help with your stress levels.

People consume social media in a number of ways. These parasocial relationships, which are relationships that are completely one-sided, are extremely common with content creators and in this case, actors and actresses. While these celebrities may not be in touch with you on a personal level, they have a drastic impact on one’s life.

While these relationships aren’t reciprocated, that does not mean they should be looked down on. If you want to enjoy your Friday night watching a TV show, we should not shame a person for appreciating an actor, but we need to be realistic that the actor does not know who we are. We cannot expect to be on a personal level with our favorite celebrities, but we can consistently enjoy their work and let it impact us in a special way.

Say you just broke up with a significant other and you are feeling down in the dumps. Finding outlets to remove yourself from that situation can help ease your mind and recharge your emotions. Obviously, the podcasters that you are listening to are not providing real therapy to you as you heal, but in a way, they are.

Inadvertently, they are easing your mind, which is why people build these connections online with these forms of media. Whether it is binge watching your favorite Netflix show, listening to an album for the 50th time or just reading a novel you’ve opened a dozen times, it helps provide a comforting feeling that we are used to.

There is no better way to connect with someone than over a bond of a movie or show, according to Psychology Today. Making these connections over a favorite media outlet can help strengthen your bond with others, as well as yourself. Being able to find a correlation between a movie you enjoy and a real-life experience can make the movie more personal to you and in a way, more immersive.

I truly think that I have seen “Billy Madison” over 40 times. I have “Revolting Blob” shirts in my closet, a trio of stickers from the movie on my computer and I even have a running tally of fantasy football names over the past four years that relate to the movie. Some people may call it an obsession, but finding a movie that puts a smile on my face has been something I’m proud of.

Whether someone disagrees with me and thinks what I have said is “one of the most insanely idiotic things” they have ever heard or if it is someone who thinks this piece is as cool as Myles Davis, I think that we all can find a familiar media outlet that brings us some joy and inner peace.