Oprah leaving = more lonely ladies = me realizing how pathetically obsessed we can get with our TV shows

May 24, 2011 by Anup Shah

The Body Odd – If you’re one of the zillions who is tearful over the thought of life without “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” now you have a scientific excuse for your sadness. (You get a scientific excuse! And you get a scientific excuse! And — OK, that’s enough.)

A recent study showed that when a favorite TV show goes off the air — even temporarily — its absence can leave the show’s most fanatical viewers feeling lonelier. In ‘Oprah’s’ case, we’re thinking the rather emotive women featured on the blog ‘Faces of the Last Season of Oprah’ will be among those having the hardest time dealing with the loss of the show, which ends its 25th and final season on Wednesday.

If you’re blue over losing Oprah — or the characters from shows-gone-by like “Lost” or “Arrested Development” — that feeling can be explained by a term coined in the 1950s by a pair of psychiatrists: You’ve developed a “parasocial,” or one-sided, relationship with the people that live inside your TV (or inside your computer screen, if Hulu is more your thing).


Last night Conan joked that Oprah will become a bored housewife who watches daytime television all day after she retires. I can’t say any show ending has left me feeling lonely. I think the closest I’ve gotten is when Michael Scott left The Office a few weeks back (even though that show’s kind of gone to shit). I definitely don’t think I’ll ever watch it the same way. So uh, yea maybe I too am prone to the ‘TV relationship.’  And for icing, this quote from one of the researchers in the article felt disturbingly accurate…

“We watch these shows, and we start to think of them like a friend.” Not to say many of us actually believe we’re friends with Oprah or other TV personalities; but the people in the media we choose to spend our time with likely have qualities we’d seek out in friendships. “It’s kind of the same things that drive real relationships with people,” (the researcher) explains.


Filed under: Sports/Pop Culture — @ 5:14 pm

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