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What does it imply if you happen to like rewatching your favourite TV exhibits?


Within the early 2000s, only a few years earlier than Netflix started providing streaming companies and when time spent watching TV in America was at its peak, Cristel Russell had an statement: Amid the growth of recent tv collection, why did so many individuals select to rewatch exhibits they’d already seen? Russell, a professor of selling on the Graziadio Enterprise Faculty at Pepperdine College, realized the phenomenon utilized not solely to tv, however books, films, and journey experiences, too. “I believed this query had already been studied,” she says. “And it turned out it had not.”
Russell and a collaborator, the advertising researcher Sidney Levy, interviewed 23 examine contributors to parse their motivations for revisiting acquainted media. Printed in 2011, Russell and Levy’s paper helped outline the idea of a rewatch — volitional reconsumption — and defined why nostalgia isn’t the first motivation for returning to those exhibits.
This interview has been edited and condensed for readability.
What did you discover motivated individuals to revisit sure media?
Going into this, I believed that it might be nostalgia, as a result of that will have appeared like probably the most logical cause. Individuals would say [shows were] like consolation meals. They’d return to one thing that was acquainted, and so they knew they favored it, however they didn’t essentially keep in mind the small print of why they favored it. They knew that it was a humorous present, however they couldn’t actually keep in mind precisely what was humorous about it, or they knew that it was a film that made them really feel good on the finish, however couldn’t keep in mind the small print. They loved it that rather more as a result of now they have been rediscovering it as if it have been new as a result of they couldn’t keep in mind precisely.
If it’s not nostalgia, then what’s at play right here?
The definition of nostalgia is a craving for the previous. It’s a need to return to a earlier time. What I discovered in my analysis is that it’s not a lot [participants] have been craving for the previous. It’s that the rewatching expertise allowed them to understand how a lot that they had grown. It wasn’t craving for the previous; it was an appreciation of the current. The deep connection that you simply make to [the show] offers this self-reflexive second that you simply’re like, “Wow, after I first watched this, I used to be 20. And now I’m 40. And I’ve youngsters.” You see it in another way and that permits you to be like, “I’m a special particular person than I used to be then.”
What different misconceptions exist which might be extensively accepted about rewatching?
I believed this is able to be a passive habits. I believed that folks rewatched as a result of they wished one thing senseless. Nevertheless it’s normally very partaking and lively. They actually wished to be transported into their present but in addition into themselves and attempting to recapture the enjoyment that they keep in mind having. We name it volitional since you select it. You need it and due to this fact you’re actually into it and being attentive to it.
Throughout the pandemic, many individuals have been rewatching exhibits, partly as a consequence of the truth that manufacturing on new exhibits and movies had stalled. However what else fueled our choices to revisit TV throughout this time of disaster?
Consolation. I do assume there’s a component of, “I do know this isn’t going to disappoint me as a result of I keep in mind liking it.” Similar to if you have a look at a giant menu at a restaurant and also you have a look at all these different issues that you simply’ve by no means tried, however you all the time find yourself ordering the pad thai with shrimp. We tend to revert to the acquainted — that’s a human drive — and particularly at occasions of disaster. I believe we noticed a few of that within the pandemic. However due to streaming entry, you might have so many selections that you simply simply don’t know easy methods to make sense of all of it. So you find yourself simply being like, “Oh, I’ll take the one which I do know as a result of I can’t digest these lots of of hundreds of various choices that I’ve on my Roku and Netflix.”
“We tend to revert to the acquainted — that’s a human drive — and particularly at occasions of disaster”
It’s fascinating that you simply level that out as a result of I’ve been noticing individuals round my age rewatching the HBO present Ladies which aired about 10 years in the past, which isn’t that way back. However I believe for individuals of my era, we’re reflecting on our youth.
We additionally typically see how society has modified. It makes you notice the progress that society might need made, or at the least the adjustments. I see it as progressive the place you see that you simply your self have modified, however possibly additionally the world that you simply reside in has modified. So it’s somewhat window to the previous. However this window to the previous permits you to see the current extra clearly.
What makes a superb rewatch present? Have they got sure qualities or traits or is it extra so in regards to the particular person’s style?
Truthfully, I’m nonetheless trying to find the reply. In truth, I’ve a challenge occurring proper now that’s about what makes successful as a result of I do assume there are specific patterns. My co-author and I believe there’s one thing associated to the cultural zeitgeist — {that a} present faucets into a specific cultural zeitgeist and that’s what makes it change into successful when it first comes out.
There are common traits that can make it stick throughout these generations, like friendships. Seinfeld is a gaggle of mates. Mates is a gaggle of mates. So there’s numerous components, which is why it’s so onerous to reply these questions. And my job, as a researcher, is to attempt to distill it right down to the important components.
I believe seemingly it’s going to return right down to the fundamental Greek kinds like tragedy, comedy.
Does binge-watching influence the best way that we revisit and reinterpret a present that we most likely watched when it aired weekly?
I’ve one other paper referred to as Narrative Navigation, it’s additionally about TV, and in that one, what we seen was within the streaming age, individuals navigate the exhibits that they watch, and particularly the exhibits that they rewatch, very in another way. I rewatch issues from begin to end. We might discover that folks would watch the ending first. Or they’d skip whole scenes as a result of there’s a personality that they don’t like. Or simply watch the final season.
The general public we interviewed have been doing all this piecemeal viewing or skipping or pausing. Many have been even going on the web to e book a visit so they might go go to the spot that they simply noticed on the present.
What do individuals get out of it by watching it in these methods?
Mainly now they’re in management. Within the outdated days, it was right here’s your Thursday evening lineup. And also you’ve received to attend till subsequent Thursday to see the subsequent episode. Now we’re fed the whole three seasons of a collection abruptly, and so that you get to decide on the tempo at which you watch it. It’s not one dimension matches all anymore. It was linear. Even when they recorded it, most individuals watched TV fairly near when episodes have been launched. Now it’s in all places.
What has shocked you probably the most out of your analysis on rewatching?
Regardless of what number of occasions individuals repeated watching the identical TV collection, they’d all the time choose up on new issues in it. The reason being as a result of individuals are hyper-responsive. In different phrases, they’ve totally devoted their consideration. We’re so distracted in trendy life. That is truly a manner of focusing your consideration on one thing since you find it irresistible a lot. This hyper-attentiveness and hyper-responsiveness makes you assume, “I didn’t even discover, within the background of the backyard over there, they’re rising this flower.” The primary time you by no means even seen there was a backyard within the background as a result of we’re trying on the characters. It’s virtually like an countless provide of novelty, though you’re truly doing one thing that’s the identical.

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