Modern-day escape from reality
Taryn Beaufort | Opinion Editor | The USD Vista
Television series have provided entertainment to college students for years, but they have taken on different roles for University of San Diego Toreros. USD is home to a diverse body of students with different interests that are evident in their choices of TV shows. Not only do they look to their shows as sources of entertainment, but also to escape the stressful reality of a college student and enter the alternate reality of their favorite series.
Trevor Blasko stated that he is most attracted to drama shows or thrillers, such as “Breaking Bad” or “House of Cards.”
“What resonates with me in these shows are the complex plots that draw you in and keep you thinking throughout,” Blasko said. “I like a show that keeps you guessing or has characters that draw you in.”
Despite the underlying darker themes of the shows, Blasko explained that they are actually therapeutic.
“Watching these types of shows helps relieve stress in a way that allows you to focus on a complex and fulfilling story in a new world,” Blasko said. “Be it the realistic modern political world of ‘House of Cards’ or the fantastical realities of ‘Stranger Things.’”
Blasko, like many other students, balances all of the demands of a busy class schedule, assignments, and extracurricular activities. At times, managing all of their responsibilities can become too overwhelming, leaving students with the need to take a break.
“It’s an easy escape from stress by sitting in front of a favorite show or just getting lost in the action,” Blasko said. “There’s of course many other possibilities [for stress relief], but I’d say that [watching shows] is a large one for many students, or just using it as a means to hang out with friends by putting on a show while hanging out and talking as background noise or a conversation starter.”
Certain types of shows have risen in popularity among students; in recent years, reality shows, including “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” “The Real Housewives” franchise, and “The Bachelor” franchise have become more popular. Although the reality presented in these shows may be far from the reality of students’ lives, that doesn’t stop them from indulging.
Senior Madison Samuels has been an avid fan of reality shows for years, specifically “The Real Housewives of Orange County.”
“I like reality TV shows because I’ve worked on set for a reality TV show and got to see it behind the scenes,” Samuels said. “It’s so interesting to see everything that needs to be done for filming compared to the final product seen on the screen.”
Samuels said that reality shows have gained so much momentum among her and her peers because they cater to certain aspects of their daily lives.
“Our generation is so intrigued by social media and many of these reality stars have such a strong presence on social media,” Samuels said. “I will find myself looking up the housewives’ accounts while I’m watching the show to see what they have been up to in between episodes.”
This can also be seen in similar reality shows. Socialites will often post what products they use, where their outfits can be bought, or what they are doing on a day-to-day basis so fans develop seemingly intimate relationships with them.
Senior Mallery Kiefus is a devoted viewer of the reality TV series “Below Deck.” The series profiles young people who work aboard yachts and visit some of the world’s most beautiful places on the job.
“After a stressful day of school the last thing I want to think about is more homework,” Kiefus said. “I like watching something that helps me take my mind off of everything else.”
For Kiefus, watching TV is more than just a means to pass the time; it’s a chance to imagine herself at the shows’ destinations as they travel.
“If I could travel the world for a living, I so would,” Kiefus said. “When I am watching ‘Below Deck,’ I get to learn about various places bit by bit and get a sneak peak of where I would want to travel. It’s almost like traveling for free.”
Watching TV can bring many different things to each USD student. Whether it’s watching a riveting political drama like “House of Cards” or a pop culture-infused reality show like “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” students find that TV shows serve as a means of relaxation and escape. Traditionally, watching television was just another form of entertainment. Maybe one day, though, students will be watching TV on a yacht, instead of watching TV shows about yachts.