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Feeling guilty about binge watching that show? This professor brings a different perspective.

 Person holding smartphone and watching Netflix.
Person holding smartphone and watching Netflix.

Watching a familiar television show can feel like visiting an old friend.

Likewise, taste testing or binge watching new shows can give you an icebreaker or help you share a cultural experience with people around you.

Dr. Holly Holladay, associate professor of media, journalism and film at Missouri State University, says although we all might have watched more television or media in the last couple of years than in the past, it’s not a bad thing.

"I don't know that there's necessarily anything different about over consuming media versus somebody who's a veracious reader or who is really obsessed with tennis and wants to play tennis all the time. Other than that is great physical activity," Holladay said.

"We turned to something [during COVID], and media is a great answer to that, because for the most part, it's something we're already used to, and we're really narrative creatures. And in the same way, you would pick up a book, it's nice to have a film or a television series in particular that you can spend some time with and really invest your time in."

Media as the good guy

Holladay says throughout history, media has been feared and demonized. But it’s not the boogey man it is often portrayed to be.

"There were moral panics associated with media from the very beginning, whether that's newspaper or film," Holladay said. "When we were growing up, obviously it was video games."

These forms of media aren't isolating, like they might have been in the past, she argues.

"The idea of engaging socially with media is not a new thing, obviously at all. But even with video games too, my students talk about this all of the time, how they have friends all over the world that they play video games with.

"So I don't necessarily think that even the quote unquote, over consumption we were doing was isolating. I think a lot of it was, even in thinking directly from my experiences, social."

Don't feel guilty

Just as she doesn't believe in over consumption of media, Holladay also doesn't believe in the idea of guilty pleasure television.

"Part of my resistance to calling something guilty pleasures is a lot of things that we're guilty about are things that are made for and by women," she said. "You should just unapologetically and enthusiastically enjoy whatever it is you enjoy. Life is hard enough."

Nicki received a Bachelor of Science and a Master of Business Administration from Missouri State in marketing, in 2002 and 2004 respectively. After gaining experience in writing, marketing, special event planning, fundraising and public relations, she returned to the university to work in the office of strategic communication. There she tells the university’s story by sharing the stories of individuals at Missouri State.