Monday, September 20, 2021

Are Classic TV Fans Introverts?


On an average evening, MeTV attracts about 700,000 viewers. Add in a few hundred thousand more for each of the other nostalgia networks, plus viewers watching classic TV shows through streaming services and on DVD, and I think it’s fair to estimate that every night at least 3-5 million Americans are enjoying TV shows from the 1950s, ‘60s and ‘70s.


Can we find common denominators within a group that size?


In my book When Television Brought Us Together I surmised that there are classic TV fans from both sides of the political spectrum, but you’d find more on one side of the aisle than the other. Same with the divide between spiritual and secular, where the multitude in one camp may be even greater.


But I think it’s also likely that, if we separated viewership into introverts and extroverts, there would be many more fans in the former group. 



I have no data to back this up, but I believe it’s a reasonable deduction. Start with the obvious fact that watching television is something that can be done at home alone. Everyone has done this from time to time, but introverts are the only people that may prefer spending an evening that way to going out to a party or to a club or restaurant with a large group.


Of course, preferring to stay in or limit one’s social life doesn’t automatically make one a TV fan – those hours could be spent reading or honing one’s baking or gardening skills, among other options. But certainly the potential is much greater for homebodies to develop more of a passing interest in what is on television, and (if they have any taste) what shows are worth watching.


When you’re not around a lot of people all the time, it not only gives you more time to devote to an activity you enjoy, but also a chance to think about why it makes you happy. With the great old shows that means more reflection on why some shows were not just successful in their original runs but have stood the test of time. It means discovering favorite series and favorite episodes, and looking forward to certain guest stars or to seeing certain writers’ names in the credits.


While others may find television convenient only when there’s nothing else to do, those who take that extra time to delve into what Nick at Nite dubbed our classic television heritage will often find it becomes preferable to other options. Anyone is capable of reaching that status, but I’m convinced it would come more quickly and naturally to introverts – like me. 



Is any of this important? I don’t know. But perhaps it should be contemplated at a time when our culture is likely to start creating more introverts than it ever has before, especially after the pandemic. Thousands more people are working from home now. Schools are still closed, cutting off kids from their peers. Social media offers a means to stay in touch with friends and relatives without ever having to go outside. The more we find ourselves in isolated circumstances, the more some people will find they like it that way – or that social situations they used to endure now no longer seem worth the effort.


In my case, I didn’t need a virus or the invention of the internet to realize I favored more solitary surroundings. And once I did the classics became a subject of great interest and appreciation. However, I also enjoy watching them with some long-time friends who are also introverts. And I can bake a really good cheesecake too. 




  1. I don't know about others, but I know I am an introvert. I spend some time watching stuff with my wife, mostly new, current stuff. Watch the old stuff alone, usually.

  2. Today, you can watch your favorite classic series anywhere and anytime you want for free in many different formats so that you feel more willing to stay home and the experience becomes fun and exciting. This may explain why binge watching has become popular.

    Still, nothing beats seeing them on TV even if you have seen them many times before. For me, the best time to watch TV is in the mid-to-late afternoon hours. This is what my local network station CHCH in Hamilton, Ontario (halfway between Toronto and Buffalo) has during that time which I believe is better than what Antenna or MeTV have on their schedule:

    10:00 am Matlock
    11:00 Green Acres
    11:30 I Love Lucy
    12:00 Bonanza
    1:00 Hawaii 5-0
    2:00 Make Room For Daddy
    2:30 My Three Sons
    3:00 The Andy Griffith Show
    3:30 The Odd Couple
    4:00 Get Smart
    4:30 Family Ties
    5:00 Who's The Boss?(the only show in this lineup that I refuse to watch!)
    5:30 Happy Days

    When you have shows like this to look forward to every weekday this fall, (Except for Who's The Boss, which is horrible!), why would you want to go out at all, unless you want to tape them first and watch them later? That way you can have your own Must See TV every night! The socializing can wait!