When a favorite television show is not available, does it matter? Apparently so, at least according to a study in the latest Mass Communication & Society, which finds -- and this is scary -- "going without your favorite TV program can be just as damaging as losing a relationship with a friend or loved one."
That what the press release for the study says, though I've not actually taken time to read the research (I used to get MC&S, but no longer). The study "found that when television shows are temporarily taken off the air, viewers are likely to experience distress or a feeling of loss. This is particularly true for TV viewers who actively watch shows for a specific purpose rather than simply as a way to pass the time. This extends previous research into the effect these TV “breakups” have on emotional suffering by showing that the more important TV is in a person’s life the more distress the viewer suffers."
Those of you immersed in mass comm research will not be terribly surprised by this, but still it's kinda scary how much stock we put in our favorite programs, our favorite characters.
Study full cite:
How Do We React When Your Favorite Characters Are Take Away? An Examination of a Temporary Parasocial Breakup,
Julie Lather and Emily Moyer-Guse (Volume 14, Issue 2, 2011)