Stupid TV

The TV Challenge continues…

What is the (pick one: stupidest, saddest, silliest, most disgusting..) thing you’ve ever seen on TV?

I don’t know, but it was probably on Jackass. Or Tosh.0 or Web Soup or America’s Funniest Home Videos. Or When Vacations Attack. Some show of that sort. I don’t really watch them.

Why? I just don’t find people jumping off roofs, singing badly, failing skateboard stunts, vomiting at parties, or being kicked in the nuts, etc., to be in any way amusing.

“So what?” you might be saying. “You just don’t have a sense of humor!”

Actually, I’m pretty sure that I do have a sense of humor. What I suspect that I lack is a sense of schadenfreude, a sense of delight in the misfortune of others. One writer identified schadenfreude as what makes the Road Runner cartoons or The Three Stooges enjoyable. Another describes it as being responsible for the thrill one feels when the CSI agents arrest the week’s criminal.

Nelson from The Simpsons

All I can say is, “interesting.” I used to enjoy the Road Runner cartoons because of the Coyote’s outlandish schemes, not because watching him fail filled me with any sense of glee. I enjoy CSI more for the chance to out-guess the writers than I do to gloat over the capture of the week’s suspect.

And speaking of gloating, I wonder if that’s really why I never understood the appeal of sports fandom. Is the thrill of “your” team winning really just the thrill at seeing (or imagining) the other team’s fans disappointed?

Maybe that’s just my interpretation. Maybe I’m just weird.

Or maybe it’s another example of masculine vs. feminine brain architecture. Tests have shown that the sense of schadenfreude is stronger in men than in women. A 2006 experiment allowed both men and women to administer electric shocks to opponents who cheated in cards. MRI scans showed that the men took much more pleasure in the act of administering the punishment than did the women. And notice this correlation: according to Wikipedia’s entry for Tosh.0, “In June 2010, the summer season premiere of the show was the #1 show on its timeslot among men within the ages of 18-24… the July 28 episode attracted 2.7 million viewers, again winning the time slot and also being the most-watched show on television that day among men 18-24, 18-34, and 25-34.”

So, yes, I’m clearly weird.

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