Fiction or Reality

The power of entertainment in our day-to-day lives

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I love television; I grew up watching lots of it. My parents filled our home with countless movies, like Sound of Music, Annie, The gods must be crazy, Sheena, Going Bananas and so on. We had a cabinet dedicated to VHS movies. Yes, I grew up in that era. Movies were not the only things we loved to watch around the house, I remember when Friends premiered, and we sat watching it together. Since I was so young, I didn’t quite grasp what the show was about. 

All I knew was there was this young group of people who did life together, and I loved the theme song. Fresh Prince of Bel Air and The Nanny were also part of our watch list. I remember the help we had at the time, who could barely speak English, burst into laughter whenever the audience of these situational comedies cracked up as well; wondering what she felt was so funny since English wasn’t her primary language.

Believe it or not, these television and movie characters had an impact on my life growing up. As a little child, who could care less about hygiene, I never washed behind my ears when I took a shower. Then one day, while watching an episode of the nanny, someone pointed it out that one of the kids had to wash behind their ears whenever they had their bath. I was quick to make that adjustment in my life. I didn’t even know it was a thing. In my adult life, I can now make real-life connections with those I watch on the silver screen or the people I read about.

One of my favorite characters of all time is Joseph, the one who had the coat of many colors. I have read the Book of Genesis countless times and always find myself connecting with this character. Joseph had dreams, I also have dreams, people didn’t believe in Joseph’s dreams, people didn’t believe in mine either. Joseph had to go through many detours in life, to land his predestined job, which was to become prime minister in Egypt. 

I have also been through many detours in life, and still on my journey to my destiny. So I always empathize with Joseph, whenever I read about him. I completely understand what he went through. His dreams were more significant than him, and so are mine. His story helps me believe that I can overcome adversity and get to where I am supposed to be.

Because of how I was brought up, I have a long-lasting romance with movies. After I watch a great film, I spend hours learning about the stories behind the characters. I have questions like—Was it a real-life story? What did the actors feel about portraying the characters? What goes on in the director’s mind, while piecing a story together? How did the writers, come up with this great script? I always love watching the behind the scenes of how a movie is made, it is all so intriguing to me. 

When one of my favorite film, Million Dollar Arm came out in 2014, I made sure I was front, line, and center to watch the movie. The movie taught me about perseverance, never to give up on my dreams, and hard work. The characters were serious, yet funny. They knew they had a huge task to accomplish, but never failed to live life, in such a simple childlike manner along the way. When we start taking life too seriously, we tend to miss out on the little miracles hidden in the journey.

In tough times, I go to my situational comedies for laughter. Shows like Friends, Frasier, The Fresh Prince, and Seinfeld are my favorite shows to watch. I fall asleep every night to Seinfeld. There was an episode when one of the characters, George, went on a rant and quit his job because his boss told him not to use his personal bathroom. After the rant, he left and went home to reenact what happened at work to his friend, Seinfeld. Seinfeld couldn’t make any sense of why a grown man, who still lives with his parents, would quit a job because of bathroom policies.

 He went ahead to make his thoughts known to George, with George then feeling stupid for his actions. Then he advises George to go back to work the next day and act like nothing happened (so crazy!). It was so hilarious to watch when George, walked into the meeting room and sat at the table, carrying on a conversation with the rest of the co-workers like nothing happened, hoping that his boss wouldn’t notice him. Of course, his boss did! That episode cracked me up so much that I was thinking, how can you be so stupid?

Movies, books, scripted series, music and any form of art, has a significant part to play in our lives because they affect us in one way or the other. As great movies and shows can have a positive impact on us, lousy entertainment can ultimately do the opposite. We also have to be cautious about the things we watch, so we are not left acting out what tries to influence us. Great entertainment, should inform, inspire, uplift, encourage, or take you on a journey to understand why people act the way they act. My love for the arts isn’t stopping any time soon, but my dream is that more inspiring and uplifting entertainment would be produced.

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