Why A TV Show Ending Can Hurt Like A Breakup
There might be a scientific reason everyone was so depressed about the end of Game of Thrones, and not just because they hated it.
According to a 2006 study about the end of Friends, dedicated viewers reported that they found themselves feeling alone, depressed, and generally like they'd suffered the loss of a relationship after the show ended.
Those feelings were usually less intense than a real breakup because the "parasocial relationship" a viewer has with a TV character doesn't usually foster the same kind of dependence as a real social relationship, but if the viewer has few of those to begin with, they'll likely become more dependent on their TV friends than they otherwise might, which is how we got Rick and Morty fans.
For those lonely folks who really throw themselves into their relationship with a TV character, a show's end can be so devastating that it affects the stock market, so experts who study the phenomenon actually have tips on coping. One, obviously, is to get a real life, but failing that, they advise switching to a TV show that you only kind of like. In other words, a rebound show. But don't watch too many episodes at once. "Parasocial breakups" are worse if you binge watch because when you surface too suddenly from a world of magic dragons to return to your dumb and boring real world forever, you get the emotional bends, so it's important not to turn your rebound into your new obsession. You could also try going outside, but who does that?
Manna, regrettably, has a Twitter.
Top image: HBO, Warner Bros. Television