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Megan Ward Headshot

What Kind of TV Viewer Are You?

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It's the time of year where we learn the fate of our favorite shows and we get a glimpse into what pilots the networks are picking up for fall. I have always been amazed why certain shows like Jersey Shore receive a renewal, when others like Community sit in the wings.

It all comes down to the viewers themselves and an archaic ratings system (but I'm not going to go there.) Today, I'm going to discuss television viewers and the categories we all fit into. There are so many different types of viewers, I'm going to look at view specific "types," but feel free to add your own in the comments.

First, we have the "shipper" -- that is, someone who is desperate for a certain couple to get together, remain together, etc. These people are in it for the long haul. They love their specific couple and want anyone who gets in the way to disappear. Some common couples that people are obsessed with include: Bones and Booth (Bones); Andy and Sam (Rookie Blue); Castle and Beckett (Castle); Eric and Sookie (True Blood). The list goes on, but we're all guilty of it.

Some take it a bit further than others, tweeting show runners when they mess with their favorite couple. Some even go as far as to boycott the show until they get the relationship back on track.

I know that there were A LOT of angry fans when Booth and Bones were just suddenly having a baby, without seeing the relationship evolve. Personally, I love that Hart Hanson had the insight to make that move. His bravery in making such a bold jump is what helped keep the story fresh.

Next, we have the "rubber-necker" -- someone who admits to watching reality TV because it's like a train wreck they just have to watch. This type of viewer is often found watching reality shows such as The Real Housewives of... "anywhere," Jersey Shore, The Bachelor, anything with The Kardashians, Paris Hilton, or other annoying people.

Let's face it. These shows are as fake as they come. Those housewives are so far from real, they smell plastic, and I still hope the people on Jersey Shore are faking being that intellectually challenged.

It may seem like useless TV to some, but to these viewers, it's an escape. They eat it up like candy, and because of that, the networks throw more at us. It's an overflowing piñata full of mediocre television. That isn't to say all reality television is bad. I do enjoy some, like The Amazing Race and Top Chef. However, I'm referring to the shows that go to the edge of crazy and jump over.

Another type of viewer is the "Hater" -- the person who watches a show and does nothing but complain about it. I bet if you take a minute, you can think of someone on your Twitter or Facebook that constantly tears a specific show apart while watching.

Yes, I am a digital journalist. I criticize television -- it's what I do. These people watch a show religiously just to complain about how bad it is. If this show is SO astronomically terrible that you feel the need to tear it apart weekly, then stop giving the show ratings. Makes sense, doesn't it?

On the flip side of the "Hater" is the "Diehard" -- this is a person who watches a show religiously and cannot admit when the show isn't good anymore. They will defend the show with their last breath, simply because they love it.

"I just love it." That is not an explanation as to why you watch. At least tell me you love the characters, the writing, or even the incredibly attractive cast. Please be honest. You can definitely still love a show when it's not as good as it used to be, but at least admit when it's failing. Some examples of these shows (a couple which I am guilty of myself): Glee, CSI, NCIS, and House.

Glee is my guilty pleasure, my feel good, happy song weekly. It's not perfect, and Season 2 will go down as one of the rockiest seasons of a show ever. I love it because it makes me happy, but I can admit that it has distinct faults.

There are so many more roads I could go down with this, but frankly, I'm running out of allowed space. At the end of the day, we all watch TV for different reasons and in different ways. I am a smorgasbord of a couple of viewer types, but whatever type you are -- own it! Just remember that how we watch television shapes how the networks plan their schedules and contributes to the fate of the shows.