How to Successfully Watch Film and Television

Science has proven that watching Film or TV requires hardly any brain activity. However, watching it successfully is a completely different matter. This is because taking on such a feat does extend past the living room or wherever you choose to watch. Even though people usually watch movies or TV by themselves, everybody has a part to play in order to maximize one’s viewing experience. As a society, we have not yet learned the rules that will allow us to communally enjoy ye old tube.

These are all pretty basic. Follow these, and everybody will be happy.

1. No talking

For TV, you can wait until a commercial. For a movie, you should have been paying attention, and it is actually much harder than you would think to hear both the television and a whisper in your ear about what just happened. If worst comes to worst you can pause.


This sounds silly, but it happens. Sometimes you bring up a movie you want to see and somebody else says something like, “oh, is that the one where it’s all a dream.” Eff, dude. Think before you speak of a movie. Try to describe it either by the actors or the general plot. “Is that the one with Leonardo DiCaprio? Is that the one with George Clooney and Sandra Bullock?” “Is that the one where the police and drug dealers are going at it?” Those are more acceptable. Just think.

3. It is VERY ok to assume things.

Actually, you SHOULD assume things. If you don’t, you’re going to go off asking a bunch of questions that nobody else knows either. The point of a movie or show is to bring up questions and make you wait for the answer. Many times you will be very correct in your assumption. If you’re not, you’ll find out, and the show will go on. No need to ask other people a question that they most likely don’t know because they are watching the exact same thing and have just as much knowledge as you.

4. Show your emotions, but with caution

Laugh. Cry. Scream. Do whatever, but keep it short and not ridiculously loud. Different settings give different allowances for volume and duration. For example, if you are watching a horror movie in a crowded theater filled with… people who like to yell at the movie, you can scream or laugh longer than you can if you are in somebody’s living room watching something on a TV with crappy speakers. Just use good judgment.

5. If you come in at the end of a movie or in the middle of a show, you are NOT allowed to ask questions.

This. If I’m on season 5 of a really serious drama or at the end of a movie, you’ve missed too much to be caught up enough to enjoy what’s happening. If you don’t want to ruin said media for yourself, leave the room. If you don’t care enough about the show or movie that you are willing to watch just the end of it, then you really shouldn’t care about what happened up to that point, and you are free to join.

6. Do not ask everybody else what’s going to happen next

Like I said in number 3, everybody else knows as much as you do. However, this situation applies to information that is not yet received. If the main character is about to go open a door because he hears a sound, don’t ask something like, “what’s in there?” Nobody knows. That’s what suspense is. Also, you are going to find out in literally 2 seconds.

CASE STUDIES (disclaimer: these are fictional versions of people I know. I quite enjoy watching with both)

Improper Ways to Watch:

This is Brian.

Brian thinking

Brian is a texbook cinephile. He has the looks, the height, the smarts, yet people will not go to the movies with him. Let’s find out why.

Brian describes movies like this: “Oh, is that the one where Bruce Willis has been dead the whole time?” (Maybe I broke my own rule, but honestly, if you haven’t seen that one by now, you deserve to have it ruined). People walk away from him shaking their heads.

Brian walks in on the end of Christopher Nolan movies and asks, “why are there so many of those guys in water tanks?” Brian expects you to pause the movie and explain it to him. When Brian walks in on season 5 of Mad Men, he expects me to explain to him who Dick Whitman is.

When Brian hears a rustling or sees a shadow in a movie, he always asks everybody, “What was that? Is it going to kill them?” When said thing pops out two seconds later, he screams for 10 seconds.

Brian isn’t fun to watch movies with. He now watches everything by himself on his laptop with headphones.

brian on bench

Sorry Brian, but you bring this on yourself.

Proper Ways to Watch:

This is Thomas.


As you can see, Thomas has many of the same features as Brian. However, people love watching stuff with him.

Thomas never ruins anything. He described Catch Me If You Can as “the one with Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks.”

He walked in at the end of L.A. Confidential and immediately left the room so he would not ruin it for himself. I didn’t even notice him come in.

During Pineapple Express, his laughs were always to the point, yet they got the job done.

When Thomas thinks he figured out the plot of a movie, he keeps it to himself until the very end to see if his suspicions are confirmed.

We feel safe watching with Thomas. Everybody wants to sit next to him. Thanks Thomas!

Thomas thumbs up

Everybody, try to be like Thomas, not Brian.