You are what you watch
by Victoria Stark
On a dark and chilly night in October, I finished up a binge-watching session of The Walking Dead and got in my car to drive to my mom’s house for the weekend. My car had been locked, inside my garage, and I had clearly seen the backseat when I climbed in. But I couldn’t keep my eyes from flicking to the rearview mirror the entire drive, fully expecting to see a Walker, one of the show’s zombies, smiling a toothless smile back at me.
The tense drive ended and I grabbed my bags and calmly walked — Read: ran as fast as I could — from my car to the front door. As the door creaked open, I was about to breathe a sigh of relief from having made it from car to home without any zombie encounters… when I saw it. A Walker! In my mom’s entryway! I dropped my bags and screamed, stumbling backwards until I realized the zombie was not chasing me, but was in fact being held back by simple Scotch tape. Because it was a Halloween decoration taped to the wall.
The media we take in can have some crazy effects on our subconscious. After I finished Gossip Girl, I wore headbands and tights for a solid 3 weeks before remembering that I lived in a Southern California beach city. I don’t plan on getting married until much later in life, but listening to certain country songs turns me into a lovesick teenager whose life would be complete if I could just find my cowboy. And I hesitate to share the effects on my dancing style that rap music has.
That said, I don’t think watching The Real Housewives of Orange County is going to make you into a brunch-having drama queen any more than an episode of The Big Bang Theory is going to increase your IQ.
But the content we take in does have an effect on how we see the world and how we act, even in little ways.
There’s a reason my mom didn’t let me watch movies with profanity in them as a child — a cussing kid is not cute. Yes, the influence of TV and movies can definitely be taken too far, like a real-life Breaking Bad. But for every viewer that unfortunately began to embody Jersey Shore in their real life, there’s someone who embarked on their own version of Eat Pray Love soul searching.
Every show or movie isn’t going to have a family friendly PSA embedded in the plotline, a la Boy Meets World or 7th Heaven. But every piece of media does have a message – it’s up to you which ones will influence you in your life off-screen. Personally, I’ll try to live up to the legacy of my honorable Game of Thrones kinsmen in House Stark.Gossip Girl, Hollywood, Television, The influence of Hollywood on life, The Walking Dead, Victoria Stark