With TV being a major player in society, do you watch shows and movies with your family? How do you cope with the characters? –Samantha Hil
CSI is no longer one of my favorite shows. I never did watch a full episode of Desperate Housewives. The Good Wife offers me no entertainment value whatsoever. Which shows do I now tune into every week? Psych and NCIS are great. Call of the Wild Man is another favorite when I sit down with my daughters.
Yes, I enjoy a good medical drama. Crime shows have always captured my interest. But what is it about Psych and NCIS that keeps my attention when others can’t? Why do I no longer find any entertainment with CSI and Law & Order?
Prosopagnosia, or face blindness, caused this evolution in what I watch. Understanding that my inability to remember a face developed seven years ago easily explains my current choice of favorite TV shows. Shows I direct my attention to now have consistent and diverse cast members. They have both males and females in leading roles. Race varies among leading actors. If there are two people of the same gender and race, their age difference makes them easily identifiable. It’s also important the cast rarely includes guest stars. While it is nice to have an occasional added character on a show, the rotating and unexpected characters usually leaves me wondering who someone was and which role they were playing. Shows become confusing when you are not sure if it was this person shooting the gun or if this person is the cop we saw in the last scene. More than once I have watched a show and lost interest within minutes because of my inability to identify who just walked across the screen. For these reasons, I also find many movies difficult to follow.
I will take a book any day over sitting in front of the television. With a book, I can create my own images through written words. Memorable words are always easier to follow than a screen of rotating unfamiliar faces.
Prosopagnosia awareness has recently increased due to media coverage and confessions of famous people such as Dr. Oliver Sacks in “The Mind’s Eye” and most recently Brad Pitt’s announcement of his condition. I hope movie companies and television networks soon take notice of this disorder. I would love to join the water cooler conversations about last week’s episode of Grey’s Anatomy. However, when the characters all look the same to me, I am left with nothing to add to their conversation. I won’t stand at the cooler and tell you about the trouble I had attempting to follow the story line, or about how many cast members lacked unique identifying characteristics. Maybe I will interrupt and ask if anyone caught Big Bang Theory last week. Or better yet, have you heard Pink’s new song? Nate Ruess sings with her. Did you know he is from the band Fun.? (And yes, Fun. does have a period as part of their name.) I am still able to join in conversations with others regarding pop culture topics. I just attempt to change the subject until I find something both you and I are familiar with and can talk about.