6 Things I Learned From Watching TV

6 things i learned on tv

Life is an educational experience. The important thing is to find the nuggets of wisdom wherever you can. I consider it a good day when I learn something new, and no matter what age you are, there is *always* something to learn!

While TV is frequently denigrated as being the great wasteland, and draining our brains from our heads, I have found some nuggets of wisdom there too. You just need to watch with a thoughtful, open, mind.

I started a list, and maybe someday my list will be as famous as the book on the importance of all the things we learned in kindergarten…ok, that will likely never happen, but I can dream!

Just do it!

Reese - Person of Interest

There you are, minding your own business, and suddenly someone, a stranger, breaks into your home, place of work, or car. As your life flashes before your eyes, the stranger tells you that you are in danger, and you need to immediately go with him or her. Quick; what do you do? No, silly, do not shriek like a little girl or pass out! Just do it! Lingering pauses can be deadly. Moving fast is your only option.

In fact, consider the words of Reese on Person of Interest recently, “I’m standing here and you are still alive.” Darn straight! If he meant to kill you, it would already have been done. Even if it is a kidnapping, are you really going to argue with someone with a gun? Reese did not have a gun, so maybe that emboldened the potential victim to hesitate, but why take the chance?

Fewer than 10 seconds

Beckett and Castle - Castle

Countdown clocks are always stopped with fewer than 10 seconds left, as long as it is the hero who is about to be blown to smithereens. So, don’t fret as the time gets short, it will be taken care of.

In the Castle episode “Countdown,” the envelope was pushed even further. As they waited for the nuclear bomb to explode, with no hope of getting away in time, Castle rips out all the wires right when the counter reaches zero, disarming the bomb. Now that is good timing.

Gloat somewhere else

Callen and Deeks - NCIS: Los Angeles

When you win, and you are the bad guy, don’t stop in the middle of your crime and gloat. Go somewhere else to do your dance of joy! Otherwise, you will likely end up dead. How does the song go? “You never count your money while you’re sitting at the table.”

In fact, this happened in a recent episode of NCIS: Los Angeles. One thief fights another thief, and wins, and since he is in the middle of the desert, figures he is free and clear. Oops, not so safe after all. He should have waited until he was home to celebrate!

Never give up

Dean and Sam - Supernatural; Daniel - Stargate SG-1

Our parents told us this, and we in turn tell our children – persevere, be like “The Little Engine That Could,” whatever you do, don’t quit, don’t give up! Sure, we all have our moments of doubt, we hesitate and wonder if we might fail, but TV shows take it to a whole new level. Not only do you not give up in life, but it extends to the afterlife!

My favorite example of this is from Stargate SG-1. In the episode “Ethon,” a character asks Daniel Jackson if he ever gives up. His answer was classic Daniel: “Not until I’m dead… and sometimes not even then.” Daniel had ascended to a higher plane of existence at more than one point, and still continued to help fight the bad guys.

Two other good examples are the Winchester brothers on Supernatural. Sam and Dean have both been to hell and back, literally, and keep on fighting! They have arguments, they separate, they disagree, they feel like giving up, but in the end, they continue on, making the world safer for you and me!

Don’t try this at home!

Using stunt professionals, TV shows are able to have their characters do amazing feats. Sometimes I sit there with my mouth agog, or on the edge of my seat, wondering if the hero will escape or succeed with their amazing plan!

During a recent Burn Notice, Fiona performed an amazing stunt, crawling under vehicles sitting in traffic to plant a tracking device. As the light turned green, and the vehicles began to move, she managed a precision sideways rolling maneuver, under a truck, and out of traffic. There were two young boys who witnessed what she did, and as they stared at her with gaping mouths, she told them: “Don’t try this at home!” Darn right, Fiona!

Don’t touch

Jackson and Mitchell - Stargate SG-1; Daniel Jackson - Stargate SG-1

Have you noticed that some people just seem to have a need to touch things? Everything? Curiosity is an admirable trait, and most scientists are curious – that is part of what makes them successful. But, we all know that curiosity can be dangerous – after all, it killed the cat!

Clearly at a crime scene, you don’t want someone touching things and contaminating evidence. So, police procedurals usually don’t have this issue. But, science fiction and fantasy shows do. My favorite example is Dr. Daniel Jackson of Stargate SG-1. On more than one occasion his need to touch things ended up causing problems. In the episode “There But For The Grace of God,” he touched the quantum mirror and ended up in an alternate universe, barely escaping with his life. In the episode “The Ties That Bind,” he ended up getting quite a shock after touching an alien device. It was humorous that in an earlier episode he had told Mitchell “the new guy” to not touch things, and yet here he was with Mitchell, and doing just what he had warned his colleague not to do!

These are the things I have learned from TV – do you agree, disagree, or have other important life lessons to suggest? Please let me know in the comments below!

  • Anonymous

    Ah, the wonderful things that TV teaches us, eh? Loved all your examples, they made me giggle. 

    • ptjackson

      Hi! Yes, truly educational….. LOL… glad you enjoyed my examples!

  • Lee Ann

    Taking notes . . .

    • ptjackson

      Hi Lee Ann! We do learn so much, don’t we? Thanks for reading!