Romance is dead, at least when it comes to TV sitcoms.
According to a study found in an upcoming issue of "Psychology of Popular Media Culture," love is an ingredient seriously lacking in some of our favorite TV sitcoms. Researchers at the University of Michigan conducted a survey designed to test how the shows we watch on TV, specifically sitcoms, rom-coms and reality-based dating shows, affect our outlook on that famous four-letter word. The results: people who watch sitcoms have a decidedly more cynical view on love and romance -- sorry, "How I Met Your Mother" fans.
According to the research, viewers who tune into reality shows like "The Bachelor" or "The Bachelorette" have a greater tendency to be romantic and believe in the idea of "true love." For sitcoms fans, however, the opposite is true. People who watch sitcoms regularly, especially those with romantic subplots like "Friends" and "HIMYM" tend to have less of a belief in the idea of soul mates and lasting love.
The study is looking to prove how influential, even subconsciously, TV can be on a person's belief system. Researchers are making the case that, though we may not realize it, the messages we see on TV shows and in films influence how we view the world and how we live our lives. Sitcoms, unlike dating shows, paint a flawed view of love. Rarely do relationships last on shows like "The Big Bang Theory" or "HIMYM" and when they do, they're far from perfect.
While we could certainly argue that these sitcoms are showing a realistic view when it comes to romance -- who really goes on helicopter rides or picnics under the Eiffel Tower for their first date? -- and not necessarily a cynical one, sitcoms are forcing viewers to take a more pragmatic, less idealistic view of love. And that might not be a good thing. In general, those sappy, true-love believers tend to lead happier lives and maintain healthier relationships than people who might call themselves more sensible when it comes to romance.
But hey, don't worry about it, sitcom fans. All this means is that you already know the real truth ...
[h/t NY Mag]