Throughout my almost 20 years of being alive on this earth, I can easily say my connection with television has changed over the years. I have some very prominent memories of watching TV as a child, and now, all significant parts of my daily ritual.
One of the first memories that come to mind is rushing home from school of an afternoon into my Nan’s house to switch on ABC kids to watch the afternoon away until Mum came back from work. There were many shows kids born in the late 90s – the early 2000s remember all too well. A few of the well-known favourites I remember quite clearly including Angelina Ballerina, Franny’s Feet, Postman Pat, Bottletop Bill and Round the Twist. These are a few of the most memorable of shows from my primary school days along with two, all be it very different, shows that still have me traumatised today.
Grizzly Tales for Gruesome Kids being one, already tells you from the name that it was terrifying for a little girl who much preferred shows about girls putting on a new pair of shoes and travelling the world (Franny’s Feet). Watching back on it now, it wasn’t half as bad as I had initially thought, but I can say it wasn’t a pleasant experience. However, there was one show in particular that I knew, as soon as it came on, the TV was off. It was the show Soupe Opera. It was weird in every way, and I can easily say that it is a show that didn’t especially make me like the idea of vegetables or fruits like I think it was supposed to. After first watching it, I thought never again, and that’s when I switched the TV off to try to do some homework. Emphasis on try.
In a Penn State Article by the Applied Social Psychology faculty, they detail that many childhood memories are closely related to watching Saturday Morning cartoons (2014). This is a memory I can closely relate to myself, watching them with my Dad every Saturday before getting on with the day, playing board games, or going to the park. They further suggest that there was a time slot for cartoons reserved for Saturday mornings that is now part of a daily routine (2014). My Saturday ritual vanished throughout the years as the cartoons became everyday viewing and those laughs on a Saturday not forgotten but appreciated.
Nowadays, I find watching television more as comfort while I do other things such as cook, study or write a blog. Yes, I may have Netflix on in the background now as I write this. I find the TV is more or less, for me, used to fill the silence while I do other things in my busy life. Yet this is a new ritual I undertake as a part of my daily life.
Watching TV socially or as a solo experience, as Saxbe et al. establish in their article, that television is an essential part of a persons life whether it be with family, friends or by yourself (2011). Spending time with family while watching TV is the most common form of bonding and becomes a natural part of the lives of many. Ritualistic television watching is a significant component of the lives of many, with the many, not realising it is a ritual at all. With this in mind, do you have a ritualistic relationship with TV?