It goes like this…
You are seated together on the sofa, each with a glass of wine, engrossed in the story. You are often surprised by something that happens in the storyline and you talk about it, not always agreeing. You think you know what is going to happen next, but you are usually wrong. When one of you hasn’t followed the plot, the other explains. You marvel at how the creators have ended the series.
And there it is: you have been complicit in the experience and have lived through the story together.
Can your marriage be saved by a DVD Box Set?
This question was asked by Judith Woods1, in an article for The Telegraph. She discovered that her marriage benefited from spending hours watching the Mad Men series* with her husband (the article is somewhat humorous). The reason is that they found something to do together when they stayed home.
“…when you spend so long in the company of characters over a short period, you become much more emotionally attached to them…; and as life imitates art, it strengthens your feelings towards the person you enjoyed the experience with.” 1
– Judith Woods
The quality of the series contributed to the experience, but in the end the marriage benefited from watching and talking about the series together.
What are the characteristics of the popular Box Sets?
”At any moment where a viewer has fully formulated an opinion about a character, that character, in a way, is dead.”
– Beau Willimon, the writer of the series House of Cards* 2
It helps if the script and the characters of the series are appealing to both women and men. The story must be devoid of clichés. Often the characters are not likeable, and sometimes are downright bad. Most importantly the storylines must challenge conventional thinking and the unfolding events must be unpredictable.
The DVD Box Set fits in with today’s trends for digital media and cocooning3, where we prefer to stay at home instead of going out.
And finally, what does your choice of DVD Box Set reveal about you?
When the Obamas were visiting the Camerons in 2011, journalists tried to analyze the titles of the Box Sets on the shelves behind the women in this photograph. Their verdict? Although there were some bestsellers, some were a little dated4 (well, they’re just like us, aren’t they?).
In Part 1 learn about the phenomenon of the DVD Box Set.
* You can find below a summary (sourced from IMDb) of the series mentioned in this article. While many are from the US cable channels, there are more and more coming from the UK, France and Denmark, for example.
Mad Men (2007-2015) – A drama about one of New York’s most prestigious ad agencies at the beginning of the 1960s, focusing on one of the firm’s most mysterious but extremely talented ad executives, Donald Draper
House of Cards (2013-) – A Congressman works with his equally conniving wife to exact revenge on the people who betrayed him.
1 ‘Can a box set save your marriage?’, Judith Woods, The Telegraph (viewed 21/09/16)
2 ‘An insider’s guide: in the house of the puppet master’, Karl Quinn, The Sunday Age, 16 February 2014, p18
3 ‘Cocooning’, wikipedia
4 ‘Can a box set save your marriage?’, Judith Woods
Box sets – GETTY IMAGES
Samantha Cameron and Michelle Obama – Secrets of SamCam’s £64,000 No10 Revamp… -dailymail
Featured Image – http://theweek.com/article/index/239101/mad-men-season-6-everything-we-know-so-far