Ensemble casts allow for multiple storylines that can run across different demographics including age, sexual orientation, race, gender, financial status and much more.
Many of the characters endure because they have compelling psychological aspects in their personalities which drive storylines, creating love-hate relationships leaving viewers wanting more.
Anti-heroes push emotional buttons as they lead lives of quiet desperation. Heroic characters allow us to project ourselves into their lives and feel the adrenaline rush of saving the day. Other characters show us that we are not alone in our everyday lives and there may be ways we can laugh at ourselves for being human.
Our curiosity peaks when a character has a secret to keep or a hidden agenda which drives viewership and ratings.
The emotional impact of these story elements and compelling characters keeps people glued to their screens individually or as a family. Click on these Emmy Winning TV icons. Discover the psychology behind the stories and its characters and learn something about yourself in the process.
There is drama in watching a man struggle with the emotions of being tied down by kids in a suburban home with marital problems and bills while struggling with a midlife crisis and an extra marital affair. All are analogies for the American way of life.
If the characters either male or female are great at their jobs we forgive their insecurities, transgressions and misbehaving and empathize with them when they struggle with a health problem or deal with the affects of a traumatic memory.
With the remote control in hand people can click through hundreds of channels each offering something new, different or familiar to emotionally connect with. That's where the term glued to the TV came from. Emotions bring us together lifting spirits or creating empathy for the characters they have learned to love and respect just as they would want people in real life to see them.
"One of the good things about modern times: If you die horribly on television, you will not have died in vain. You will have entertained us."
-Kurt Vonnegut, Writer
These hot topics reflect our Pop Culture in ways that allow us to get in touch with our own emotions by projecting ourselves into their lives, enabling us to feel something to bridge the gap between isolation and the sameness of everyday life.
Television characters are some of the most enduring because their lives mirror our own in such compelling ways, so much so that we voluntarily invite them into our household’s week in and week out sometimes for years.
To accomplish this a comfort factor must exist which mixes convention and invention, involving relatable characters in recognizable situations.
Sometimes a show may express something at the surface of the culture’s subconscious and it hits the air at the perfect moment when the mainstream was primed to accept it. Topics such as gay marriage, prejudice, drug abuse or other timely topics make the small screen into something very big in peoples' lives.