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WTF is a play cycle – Pt. 2

But Why Serializations?

Similar to our desires to be intrusive, we have a natural instinct of habit which modernly can perpetually turn into rituals and addictions. Maxwell Maltz, a plastic surgeon in the 1950s, found that it would take roughly twenty one days to create a habit or one episode of Absolutely Fabulous to get hooked. Regardless, of our desire to eat, sleep and break at specific times of the day we typically find solace in recapturing the emotions a certain piece of art gives us. A sense of a nostalgic trigger to help us remember the past.

Crystal Antonia Russell and Sidney J. Levy in their article: The Temporal and Focal Dynamics of Volitional Reconsumption, gives us reasons as to why we re-watch televisions shows or find comfort in series. The first being, that we really just enjoy that particular movie.


Typically you would think that continuous watching of a specific series or show would lessen the emotional appeal it has on a person but they believe that repetition is key to affection. We are tuned into what Russell and Levy call “reconstructive consumption” or simply, the more we watch something into familiarity, the less we strain mentally and the more we consider something to be good. This allows us to find smaller details and means within the plot.

We can also use series and re-watching for therapeutic reason. Russell and Levy note that using nostalgia isn’t an uncommon occurrence of therapy techniques. We are familiar with the storyline or characters of the piece and we know how we’ll feel in the end. Russell and Levy note this as an “emotional regulation” or that we will be granted the exact emotional payola we desired without any disappointment.

We can also use re-watching and series for existential reasons. Russell and Levy write “The dynamic linkages between one’s past, present, and future experiences through the re- consumption of an object allow existential understanding… Reengaging with the same object, even just once, allows a reworking of experiences as consumers consider their own particular enjoyments and understanding of choices they have made.” Which means currently re-watching an old show like, Our Town that your grandfather had taken you to you to years after his death, overlays that nostalgic experience with a new perspective of today. Everything that you have experience or learned since that time allows you to develop a new connection to that piece of work and allows you to look back on specific times with more understanding.

Pt. 3 – 10/4


– Beirut Balutis

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