What does it imply should you like rewatching your favourite TV exhibits?


Within the early 2000s, just some years earlier than Netflix started providing streaming providers and when time spent watching TV in America was at its peak, Cristel Russell had an statement: Amid the increase of recent tv collection, why did so many individuals select to rewatch exhibits they’d already seen? Russell, a professor of promoting on the Graziadio Enterprise College 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 members to parse their motivations for revisiting acquainted media. Revealed 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 folks to revisit sure media?

Going into this, I believed that it might be nostalgia, as a result of that might have appeared like essentially the most logical cause. Members would say [shows were] like consolation meals. They’d return to one thing that was acquainted, they usually knew they preferred it, however they didn’t essentially keep in mind the main points of why they preferred 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 main points. 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 want 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 they’d grown. It wasn’t craving for the previous; it was an appreciation of the current. The deep connection that you just make to [the show] supplies this self-reflexive second that you just’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 means that you can be like, “I’m a unique particular person than I used to be then.”

What different misconceptions exist which can be broadly accepted about rewatching?

I believed this is able to be a passive habits. I believed that individuals rewatched as a result of they needed one thing senseless. But it surely’s normally very participating and lively. They actually needed 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 subsequently you might be actually into it and taking note of it.

In the course of 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.” Identical to if you take a look at a giant menu at a restaurant and also you take a look at all these different issues that you just’ve by no means tried, however you at all times find yourself ordering the pad thai with shrimp. We generally tend to revert to the acquainted — that’s a human drive — and particularly at instances of disaster. I feel we noticed a few of that within the pandemic. However due to streaming entry, you may have so many selections that you just simply don’t know how you can 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 a whole lot of hundreds of various choices that I’ve on my Roku and Netflix.”

It’s attention-grabbing that you just level that out as a result of I’ve been noticing folks round my age rewatching the HBO present Women which aired about 10 years in the past, which isn’t that way back. However I feel for folks of my technology, we’re reflecting on our youth.

We additionally generally see how society has modified. It makes you understand the progress that society may need made, or no less than the modifications. I see it as progressive the place you see that you just your self have modified, however possibly additionally the world that you just reside in has modified. So it’s a bit of window to the previous. However this window to the previous means that you can see the current extra clearly.

What makes an excellent rewatch present? Have they got sure qualities or traits or is it extra so concerning the particular person’s style?

Actually, I’m nonetheless looking for the reply. In reality, I’ve a undertaking 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 feel 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 may make it stick throughout these generations, like friendships. Seinfeld is a gaggle of buddies. Pals is a gaggle of buddies. So there’s lots of components, which is why it’s so exhausting to reply these questions. And my job, as a researcher, is to attempt to distill it right down to the important components.

I feel seemingly it’s going to return right down to the essential Greek types like tragedy, comedy.

Does binge-watching impression the way in which that we revisit and reinterpret a present that we in all probability watched when it aired weekly?

I’ve one other paper known as Narrative Navigation, it’s additionally about TV, and in that one, what we seen was within the streaming age, folks 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 individuals would watch the ending first. Or they’d skip total scenes as a result of there’s a personality that they don’t like. Or simply watch the final season.

Most people 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 may go go to the spot that they simply noticed on the present.

What do folks get out of it by watching it in these methods?

Principally now they’re in management. Within the previous days, it was right here’s your Thursday night time lineup. And also you’ve acquired to attend till subsequent Thursday to see the following episode. Now we’re fed your complete three seasons of a collection , and so that you get to decide on the tempo at which you watch it. It’s not one dimension suits all anymore. It was linear. Even when they recorded it, most individuals watched TV fairly near when episodes have been launched. Now it’s all over.

What has stunned you essentially the most out of your analysis on rewatching?

Regardless of what number of instances folks repeated watching the identical TV collection, they’d at all times decide up on new issues in it. The reason being as a result of persons are hyper-responsive. In different phrases, they’ve absolutely devoted their consideration. We’re so distracted in fashionable life. That is truly a means 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 wanting on the characters. It’s nearly like an countless provide of novelty, regardless that you’re truly doing one thing that’s the identical.


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