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ChangingMinds Blog! > Blog Archive > 09-Oct-16


Sunday 09-October-16

Why do I get sad when TV series end?

I got asked this recently. This is what I wrote...

Same reason you got sad/emotional when you left high school. And when somebody dies. It?s about attachment and loss.


As a part of identity development we form attachments to people, things, places and so on in our lives. Our sense of identity is not just about us, but the connections and attachments we make. This is who we are.

When you meet people, you may tell them about your job, family and so on. These are attachment items. So also are TV series, which are produced specifically to cause attachment, so you keep watching them (and the adverts, of course). Key aspects that causes attachment include:

  • Characters that you like (and even some you don?t).
  • A storyline into which you project yourself.
  • Tensions and excitement that you don?t have in your life, but which you can sense vicariously.

See more of the theory of attachment at:  Attachment Theory


When attachments are broken, you feel a sense of loss, like a hole in your identity where the formerly-attached item is missing. This can tip you into a grief cycle, where you go through stages such as denial, anger and trying to find a way back.

Loss is not all bad. It reminds us of good times. It brings us together. There is also an odd pleasure in it as we experience deep emotion which can be better than flat boredom. This is one reason why TV series kill off major characters now and again.

Loss also makes us seek replacements, such as getting a dog when our children all leave home. In TV series, we tend to look for replacement watching, often of similar types of series. This is how, for example, when a person gets hooked (=attached) on a superhero series, they end up watching lots of such series.

See more about grief at: The Kubler-Ross Grief Cycle


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