The happiest show on TV…

…is a blank screen.  According to a 31-year study of 30,000 people, TV sucks.  My wife won’t want to hear this, because she is tired of hearing me lecture about how I would rather do things than watch other people do things.  Of course, my idea of doing things is not always what the study says will bring most happiness, being somewhat of a hermit…

“TV doesn’t really seem to satisfy people over the long haul the way that social involvement or reading a newspaper does,” says University of Maryland sociologist John P. Robinson, the study co-author. “It’s more passive and may provide escape, especially when the news is as depressing as the economy itself. The data suggest to us that the TV habit may offer short-run pleasure at the expense of long-term malaise.”

Robinson and his research team compared the activities of people who described themselves as happy with people who described themselves as unhappy.  The unhappy people watched 20 percent more television than the happy people (no word on whether TV makes people unhappy or whether unhappy people tend to watch TV, but the correlation is unmistakable).  Those who considered themselves to be happy were more likely to:

  • be socially active
  • attend more religious services
  • vote
  • read more.

Surprisingly, physical activities and keeping active is not near the top of the list, although that would seem an obvious activity of happy people.

Interesting tidbit: the three articles I read on the study each quote different stats.  Geesh…sloppy journalism.  Here’s the original source:



  1. I think TV is one of the biggest disasters to hit our society. It has removed so much social interaction that used to happen. And modern kids are addicted to it.

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