TV Recommendations

TV is getting better and better.

1. Temple Grandin (HBO). I’d read Oliver Sacks’s story about her and seen a BBC documentary about her. This was far more moving.

2. Work of Art: The Next Great Artist (Bravo). A competition. Each week the contestants are given a task (make a portrait, make art from junk). The person who does the worst job is eliminated. Bravo’s great The It Factor followed actors in New York and Los Angeles and made you feel the constant rejection. This has the same vibe in the sense that much of what the contestants make is heavily criticized (“a middle-school art project”).

3. Undercover Boss (CBS). A head of a big company works at a low-level job in his company. Week after week, it has some of the most touching moments I’ve ever seen. When this or that employee learns that someone noticed their hard work or talent, they start crying. Because it relied on deception (“we’re making a documentary about entry-level jobs”), I wonder if there will be another season.

5 Responses to “TV Recommendations”

  1. Robin Barooah Says:

    Hi Seth,

    I’m curious – have you ever done any experiments to see how TV watching affects your mood, sleep, or cognitive performance?

  2. seth Says:

    ordinary TV watching, no. In the 1960s a survey suggested that Americans stay up an hour later than people in other countries because they watch TV an hour later. After I read that I stopped watching the late night news.

    It’s an interesting question what effect it has on my mental performance but I don’t know the answer.

    Mainly I watch TV to make exercise more bearable.

  3. Robin Barooah Says:

    Interesting – I use audiobooks and music when I exercise.

    Anecdotally, I’ve found TV watching to make me feel less motivated, and I know others who find the same – and I’m talking about carefully selected advert-free TV – not just random channel surfing. I’ve personally considered experimenting, but don’t yet have the tools – and now, I don’t want to sacrifice my motivation to the experiment!

  4. Alex Chernavsky Says:

    Psychologist Martin Seligman claims, “The mood state that Americans are in, on average, when watching television is mildly depressed”.

  5. thehova Says:

    I saw a self-reported happiness study that showed that most people are very happy when they watch TV. And unlike the newspaper industry, the TV networks, cable companies, and satellite services are raking in the money.

    So watching TV must provide some sort of psychological benefit to a lot of people.