Media and content surround us and our lives. Our generation especially connects with media intimately. It often influences the traits we pick up, sense of style and how we live our lives in general.
Our society consumes more media now than ever before — the rise of streaming movies and television has greatly contributed to that. We devour this content by binging entire seasons of television, seasonal rewatches, having movie marathons before a new installment is released and putting albums on repeat for days on end.
Interaction with media does not end with the art itself. Twitter feeds become clogged with replies and comments about what happened in the latest episodes of a television show and TikToks discuss theories to determine underlying meanings the casual viewer would not blink twice at.
This type of media consumption and interaction leads people to obsess over shows and the lives of the characters they follow. Soon enough, traits of our favorite characters start to become second nature and seep into our everyday lives. We start to adopt the very mannerisms and attitude that we spend hours watching and interpreting online.
These new traits can manifest themselves in various ways. Some people feel so passionately about the characters they see on the screen that they are more inclined to follow their career paths — like Meredith Grey from “Grey’s Anatomy” or Dr. Spencer Reid from “Criminal Minds” — who thrived in their professional lives in front of an audience.
The lawyers inspired by “Legally Blonde,” the journalists who loved “Gilmore Girls,” the doctors and nurses who have kept up with all those seasons of “Grey’s Anatomy” — can attribute their career choices in part to the shows they watched and characters that they connected with.
I can attest that an added draw of studying journalism was my admiration of Rory Gilmore growing up. I dreamed of going to Yale University and writing for the Yale Daily News. My 16-year-old self would soon learn that journalism was not a major Yale offered. Thus, ending a brief dream of living out the exact life and career of a fictional character.
I did still pursue journalism out of my own passion for storytelling and found a university that was well-suited for my academic interests. However, I have pondered whether I would have stuck with this major, had it not been for watching seven seasons of Rory Gilmore’s messy path to a semi-successful career in journalism.
Determining where passion ends and the tendency to imitate begins is difficult because people become so attached to their favorite shows and characters that it is almost impossible to separate the two. There is nothing inherently bad with getting inspiration from the stories and shows that you admire, but it is fascinating that so many people can include themselves in this phenomenon.
It will be interesting to follow this phenomena through to see how many people fall out of love with their life or career choices after stepping back and not constantly reminding themselves of the shows and characters they were shaped by.