Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Television Overstimulation

As it turns out, a person committing murder has a more calming influence than a person applying make-up.

Recently, I managed to binge-watch a complete season of Perry Mason within five days.  It felt strange afterwards to return to broadcast television.  I went to an episode of Face Off that I had on my DVR.  The style of the show sharply contrasted the style of the Mason show.  Face Off was suddenly too bright, too colorful and too loud for me.  It felt as if I had consumed a wildly hallucinogenic drug. 

A scene early in the show featured a makeup artist explaining his latest makeup design.  The man was simply talking while seated at a work table.  I'm sure that there's a simple and practical way to shoot a scene like that.  But this scene was not presented in a simple or practical way.  The scene was captured with a handheld camera that the operator jerked about restlessly.  It drifted to the right.  It drifted to the left.  Was the cameraman floating across a lake in a canoe?  The idea of centering the man in the frame and holding that position while the man talks is presumably too boring for the young viewers.  But it wasn't only about the restless camera.  The scene was broken up into a rapid succession of cuts.  As if that was not stimulating enough, a flash of light was inserted between the cuts.  Lastly, the makeup artist’s design ideas were illustrated with jazzy animated graphics.  This is television junk food.  The fast cuts, flashes of light and animated graphics are equivalent to loading supermarket snack foods with high fructose corn syrup.

This is a good way to suffer stress, mental fatigue and burnout.  Studies have shown that fast-paced television impairs brain functions, including planning, memory, problem-solving and inhibition regulation.  I would rather calm my brain with meditation.

I had to turn off the show.  It was far more than I could take.

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