Nothing of any of this in the "TV" image, which suggests nothing, which mesmerizes, which itself is nothing but a screen, not even that: a miniaturized terminal that, in fact, is immediately located in your head â€“ you are the screen, and the TV watches you â€“ it transistorizes all the neurons and passes through like a magnetic tape â€“ a tape, not an image. (51)
This quote struck me for a number of reasons; the first being the catatonic state one goes into when watching TV goes largely unnoticed. I guess it only goes unnoticed until your mom starts yelling at you to pay attention to her and not the TV, but everyone can relate to that zoned out state of interest. Baurillard alludes to this power of attention when he says that "you are the screen" and that TV has the power to "mesmorize", but I would go one step further. TV has the power to place the viewer in the show, not the show in the viewer. Some of the best sitcoms of all time (Seinfeld, Friends, Everyone Loves Raymond, The Office) have the uncanny ability to place the viewer in the show. We have all experienced the crazy in-laws of Everyone Loves Raymond or a Chandler type friend. I experienced The Office over the summer in truly remarkable ways. All this to say that the power of television to place the viewer there gives it more power than any other medium. A film is an image; television is life.