Re-watching shows & films in Lockdown

My second article for the Head Girl’s Team blog takes place in our 3rd lockdown. Last time, I wrote about crochet – the therapeutic activity I took up that could ease stress during an unsettling time. This time, the lockdown has opened my eyes to something else that I am doing to alleviate the anxiety this pandemic has brought. Also, it seems a vast proportion of the country are doing it too… whether they are aware of it, and know why they are doing it, however, is another question! So here it is… re-watching our favourite TV shows and films.

My guilty confession is that I have watched Hamilton (the utterly incredible musical now available on Disney+) at least eight times. Bearing in mind this is a three-hour endeavour, and I know virtually every lyric to the 46 songs, I really do know everything that is going to happen before it happens. Another one, far worse, is that of Teen Wolf. I could lie and say that I am revising my Gothic English A Level, with werewolves needing extra critical attention, but that would be entirely untrue. This show, amassing to six seasons of what some may deem ‘trash’, was not brilliant television to watch over Christmas – and certainly not good for my intellect. However, it might actually have some benefits, which I will discuss later.

Some people hate re-watching things. Even more people will never re-read a book again– ‘What’s the point?’ they say. There is no anticipation, no shock or surprise, no enticing plot to keep you gripped. And yet people are turning to their old favourites, the classics they watched years ago and the rubbish, but strangely addictive, reality shows that they pretend not to be invested in. Consumer Psychologist, Kate Nightingale, explains why; ‘Our favourite TV shows are so comforting because they give us a feeling of safety.’ In our current climate, uncertainty is rife. When will the National Lockdown be lifted? How are they grading A Levels? The list is endless. That seems to explain why we have been seeking solace in our favourite shows and films, but New York Psychologist (Krystine Bacho) gives even more evidence, explaining the emotional science behind it too. She states that the feeling of nostalgia is comforting; it calms the feelings of stress and anxiety to such a point that it is equivalent to a hug. So, at a time when a hug from a loved one is still restricted, recuperating on a cosy sofa watching your old favourites sounds completely justified!

The positive effects do not end there, so back to Teen Wolf! When we re-watch something, we remember the time we watched it initially. We remember the great memories we had whilst enjoying them – thinking back to the ‘simpler’ times. I watched Teen Wolf in the summer of UIV (Year 9 ). The weather was lovely, I had made more friends when the year had doubled in size, and GCSEs had only just begun. If we think about it, why wouldn’t we want to escape our current reality and return to the past? Why wouldn’t I want to travel back to UIV instead of enduring the cold, wet December when we could barely spend Christmas with our family? It makes sense to me (but perhaps I am just looking for a way to excuse my poor TV choices!)

I don’t want to come off as though I am encouraging you to binge on your television boxsets, because there is some TV out there that is not worth our time, and there are clearly better things we could be doing. But I do think we should not feel guilty for re-watching and watching more TV in general, given our circumstances. If it can briefly let us escape our boring day, easing stress like a comforting hug and bringing happy memories to the forefront, then it is no bad thing.

Polly (Year 13)

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