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Whedonesque - a community weblog about Joss Whedon
"Three months of this. And he dusts our only lead."
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December 09 2015

The social surrogacy hypothesis: Why you still miss Firefly. "It's basically because your brain processes these people as your friends. And, understandably, you miss your friends."

This is what I tell my mum when she asks why I rewatch my favourite shows. I will always keep going back to Buffy, Firefly, Gilmore Girls and many others, because even though they're fictional, you build a relationship to these characters, sometimes more so, sometimes less. So I miss them, simple as that :)

Edited to add:

It's even more extreme with Harry Potter, where my generation (I started reading the books when I was about Harrys age and was 19, so only 2 years older than the character, when they finished) feels like they grew up together with the characters. I will always go back to those books :)

[ edited by Illy on 2015-12-10 12:28 ]
"sniff".miss Firefly.
Wow, actual research coming from Miami U?
Dolph Greenburg from Sociology would have been proud.
Here I thought all we had to offer the world was Paul Ryan.

(I miss Firefly,
yeah, even Jayne.)
Yup. I think comfort-food TV is better than actual comfort food. (Although I'd rather have both.)
That's an interesting theory, but I never really considered Mal and company my friends. I mean, I'm quite certain that if I were ever, in some magical fashion, able to meet Mal, he'd find me useless. We would not be friends. I still miss the show because I'm still angry that it was cut short when it shouldn't have been. That someone with the power to do so was incapable of seeing the potential in the show and that if seemed it was actively targeted to fail. I miss the episodes I didn't get.
I don't actually still miss Firefly. I can watch it whenever I want, and it's more than a decade on now.
I believe the social surrogacy theory. People are comforted by familiar faces and voices, pure and simple.

It's interesting that they use Firefly as an example. It's not like Buffy or Harry Potter or other series which were around for years and years. I'd guess that most people take fourteen days or less to finish Firefly it for the first time. Then again, I felt like the Scooby Gang were my friends after watching about four episodes of Buffy. I guess it's like how it's possible to develop intense friendships in a short space of time under the right circumstances.
I don't think this theory applies to me (I just like good stories well-told), but I cannot say it doesn't apply to anyone. In its worst manifestations, we've seen delusional fans who come to believe that they really do have relationships with the actors or their characters, and sometimes those delusions have led to tragic outcomes.

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