By Emily Davis, Contributing Writer
Everyone has their thing. Whether it be a good book, a television series, or a sports team, we all have something that can make our hearts race likes they’ve never raced before, or provide an escape from a stressful life. Many times, we hear about the negative sides of entertainment, but there are definitely some positives too.
Why shouldn’t we feel comfortable to express ourselves through what we love? And if what we love just happens to be Game of Thrones, The Hunger Games, or the Pittsburgh Steelers, so be it. It’s okay to get emotionally involved in a piece of entertainment.
We’ve all had those days where we just want to disappear into a different place. Luckily, with the entertainment that we have today, you can escape into any place you want to be in seconds. You can open your book to that dog-eared page, and get sucked into that world that you’ve been dreaming about all day; you can reabsorb yourself in that show that left you with a huge cliffhanger right before you had to go to bed the night before; or you can pop in your old copy of Beauty and the Beast, and be left thinking if it would be appropriate or not to chip the cup in your hand. The magic of entertainment is that you get out of it what you want, and if it’s an escape you’re longing for, it’s an escape you’re going to get.
Some people don’t have the money or time to go on an adventure, but they do have a library card and a Netflix subscription. Aspiring author Derek Berry says, “Sometimes, just because something never happened doesn’t mean it wasn’t real. Even if the persons in a book are fictional, they may live just as real lives as the rest of us. When we read books, we accept the stories as our own.” We live vicariously through characters in movies, television, books, or anything else because it allows us to experience a life we’d never have without them.
We live through fictional characters because we see something in them that ignites a passion in us. It could be because we see ourselves in that character, it could be that there are qualities of that character you aspire to, or anything in between.
Dianne Lotter, writer for the Huffington Post, says, “Fiction allows us a rare insight into the minds and hearts of its characters, its people. An insight that we often wish for in real life. When reading or watching a fictional story, we see and hear (almost) everything. You could go as far as to say that you get to know some characters better than you ever get to know the people around you in real life.” Many of us have some of the deepest bonds of our lives with fictional characters. It makes us feel like we aren’t alone.
Creators of these entertainments love the emotional drawl from fans. Bestselling author, Sophie Kinsella, is shocked and grateful that people would become so invested in her novels. She says, “I think it took me a long time to realize that my readers become emotionally invested in my characters. When I first wrote Confessions of a Shopaholic I thought people would relate to Becky and find her funny, but I didn’t realize how connected they would become to her. Of course, I am very emotionally connected to Becky, but I didn’t expect others to be! Over time I have met so many readers at book events and had so much social media interaction where clearly Becky, Emma, Poppy, etc. all are held dearly in people’s hearts. What’s it like? Quite humbling really.”
Having emotional drawl towards a work of entertainment isn’t all that uncommon. If you were to pick anything you are a fan of, you would find others just like you. Entertainment is a great way to meet people and make friends.
Jennifer Petrella states on her blog, “Having a shared experience like that with someone who values the ‘fandom’ just as much as you do, and understands it (and therefore all of your insanity surrounding it) is pretty much one of the most incredible things in the world.” Sometimes the easiest way to start a bond with someone is to talk about how amazing Captain Hook is on Once Upon a Time or to sit on a couch with them, binging the whole season of Jessica Jones.
Sometimes we might get carried away. When the Pittsburgh Pirates lost the wild card game, you didn’t talk to anyone for a day, and when you finished the last Divergent book, you skipped all of your classes and cried. Some people might think that’s unhealthy, but what’s the difference between that and someone crying because they dropped their phone in a puddle? We all go a little over the top for things we are passionate about. It’s only human nature. Just try to be more responsible and not call off work when you finally watch the episode of Game of Thrones when “you know who” dies.
People should be able to do what they are passionate about. If you love any sort of entertainment, why not let your emotions flow? If you’re angry, put that book in the freezer, and if you’re sad, cry your heart out, watch the next episode, and hope it gets better. Host football parties every Sunday. Scream, cry, and laugh. Because if you are emotional about something, and you care about it, no matter what anyone else says, it’s important.