The vital element of drama

Christine Guerrini

The continuation of last year’s favorite shows are now in full swing. Shows like “Desperate Housewives,” “Grey’s Anatomy” and “C.S.I.” have all returned for another season of drama. These shows seem to be reaching their dramatic peak during the holiday season, hoping to gain the attention of people in need of a break during this chaotic time of year.

The thing that strings these shows together is not an actor, a producer or even an age demographic; it’s the element of drama. For the media, this seemingly negative state of existence is actually an essential ingredient for catching the interest of watchers. What is it about watching others fight, struggle and cry that makes viewers tune in?

Surely, the majority of television drama’s allure is that it is contained. It’s far away from you and me, on display for us to dissect, digest or dismiss.

For many, watching life through a television screen gives them the opportunity to take emotional risks without really getting hurt. Girls can fall in love with Dr. McDreamy (Patrick Dempsey) but don’t have to worry about him truly breaking their hearts.

Boys, on the other hand, can lust after Gabrielle (Eva Longoria) without Carlos kicking their butts. All the scandals are still a thrill; there are just no rumors in the morning.

Certainly, it’s easy to procrastinate on decision-making, too. Watching a show, you don’t have to make the choice – it’s made for you. Not only that, the drama in a plot might even mirror something going on in your own life. It’s common to second guess and criticize oneself. However, you can apply your moral judgment to the characters on the show. Then you can realize that you just made up your own mind. Pretty easy, if you ask me.

In many cases, the perfectly packaged simulation of real life serve as a way for us to forget our own troubles, or at least put them aside for a few hours. Compare life at Villanova to the outrageous escapades of a “Real World” cast.

Most of the small and meaningless problems that we have might seem a little less important. Is a little bit of bass at 3 a.m. really as bad as getting arrested in a strange city?

Is enjoying drama a little creepy or is it actually an interest in relieving the stresses of our own mishaps? For the most part, the presence of a controlled form of emotional turmoil is more of a release of the negativity in our lives.

Even though “misery loves company,” it’s not that we’re secretly sadists. We just like that it’s not really happening to us.