Perhaps the manipulation that I find myself falling victim to most often is the “Coming Next Week!” trailer at the end of a show. We all know they edit in a way that makes it seem alluring, when it is really nothing more than trick to make you expect the most exciting show of the season. Despite knowing better, I always find myself believing that next week is going to be THE BIG WEEK where some major conflict will be addressed, or maybe the two on-again-off-again lovebirds will FINALLY be together forever, or a big fight will break out, or any number of exciting things that we know won’t actually be addressed until the season finale, if ever at all.
Lately, I have been especially fooled by MTV’s Jersey Shore. They can make a teaser that has bar fights, romance, and Snooki’s classic one-liners, all for a show that leaves you asking where the last thirty minutes went. They stretch each episode so that the only interesting moments can be compressed into a 15 second montage that is juicy enough to make you forget 21 years of experience of trailer disappointment.
ranks the tricky teaser as the number 1 “Cheap Trick TV Shows Use to Keep Us Watching.” They say it works because we approach shows with optimism, waiting for the inevitable twist in the plot that every season contains. However, most shows (especially reality shows) are so watered down, the plot twists are spread out over the episodes, so that we are still left waiting for the big moment… next week.
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