In defense of entertainment as art


I was in a room full of very smart people for a recent leadership workshop on work/life balance. One of the exercises was to list 12 things you do every day, and then put a check mark next to those things that make you “your best self.”

#7 on my list was “watch TV.” I put a check mark next to it.

When it came time for the class to discuss and reflect, my check mark was met with a few judgy laughs — “You really think watching TV helps you to be your best self?” That kind of thing.

I defended my check mark — as a creative person, I tend to take my entertainment seriously. And yes, I do watch TV every day (and a few movies a week, too).

I get so tired of the old “TV rots your brain” mentality. I’m not impressed when people climb up on their moral high horse to look down at me and say “I don’t even own a television.”

We are living in a golden age of TV — any critic worth his salt will echo this sentiment. TV is no longer a reality show garbage dump or a laugh track graveyard — there’s real artistry at work there. Don’t believe me? Maybe you’ll trust the opinion  of David Lynch (director of “Blue Velvet” and “Eraserhead”) who told a French newspaper,

“Television allows you to tell a story over time, something cinema doesn’t. For me, the two formats will always exist, it’s like painting in a square or rectangular.”

The lines between entertainment and art are blurred in shows like “Breaking Bad,” “Mad Men,” “The People vs. O.J. Simpson,” Game of Thrones,” “Penny Dreadful,” “Stranger Things,” the list goes on and on.

The production values, writing, costuming, acting and cinematography on these shows is food for creative souls. It’s beautiful, challenging, thought-provoking and intellectually stimulating.

So yeah, I am working on my best self when I’m watching TV. Deal with it.


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