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June 1994


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Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
Brian Gary <[log in to unmask]>
Wed, 29 Jun 1994 13:00:21 EDT
Film and TV Studies Discussion List <[log in to unmask]>
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Reply to:   RE>Psychology - and TV
On Fri, 24 Jun 1994 14:16:39 CDT Robert Hanczor said:
>Anyone interested in a discussion of the applicability of psychoanalysis
>as a method of television criticism?
Further reply to:  Dave Trautman
TV Producer, Instructional Technology Centre
Faculty of Education, University of Alberta
Edmonton, Alberta, Canada
Mr. Trautman brought to light many interesting topics in his article.  One of
which I will elaborate on:  what Carl Jung called a problem of familiarity.
 Mr. Trautman took into consideration the fact that television suffers from
this problem.   He wrote, "People feel that they know all about television,
and its effects, simply because they have experienced so much of it."  This
is true, but the ramifications of this are spawned from an even greater
perspective.  The problem is not only, people feel they know television as an
entity in and of itself, but that people also feel that they know what they
view insofar as they know who they view.
An effective illustration of this is the countless interviews with television
actors and personalities where they recount the innumerable instances when
they were approached by an ardent devotee.  Invariably they relay a story
whereby the admirer began conversing with them in demeanor that is exhibited
primarily when engaged with someone you are familiar with.  To paraphrase
Paul Newman, he said it was as if they had known you for years.
Closer inspection of this would reveal that it stands to reason.  I read a
statistic (I apologize to those of you who have a penchant for statistical
accuracy because I do not have a citation for you) that stated that the
average American household had over two televisions in it.  Primary locations
for the sets were in the living area and master bedroom.  Subsequent
televisions were placed in:  kitchens, dens, porches and other bedrooms (not
necessarily in that order).
Television has then successfully invaded the most intimate recesses of
peoples lives.  In effect, television becomes an extension of the household.
 You see Donahue or you see Bernard Shaw or you see Candice Bergen, you see
all of these people on a regular basis.  More regular in fact than you
probably see members of your family.  It is reasonable to perceive how people
would feel a bond with television personalities especially when they are not
fully cognizant of the one way interaction that is taking place.  People do
not fully recognize when the are interacting back with the TV.  How many
times have you caught yourself yelling at your favorite team's coach or
trying to dissuade that character from opening that door in one of those bad
horror films.  Now, with the dawn of fully interactive TV on the horizon,
television will then become an active member of the household.
Mr. Trautman summed up his article by writing, "I see television as the
tribal fire around which we gather to hear the myths of our age."  I
disagree.  Within that simile, television is not the tribal fire, but solely
the storyteller.
Brian Gary
Playwright, Freelance writer