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Sitcoms Are Killing Your Love LifeA new study on the impact of television on love and dating has pointed an accusatory finger of cynicism at one of the most beloved forms of TV show — the sitcom.

According to the study, to be published in an upcoming issue of “Psychology of Popular Media Culture,” love is nowhere to be found in some of America’s favorite situation comedies. Huffington Post reports that researchers at the University of Michigan surveyed participants on sitcoms, rom-coms and reality-based dating shows.

The goal: to see how each affects our outlook on the lovebug. The results: people who watch sitcoms are more cynical and more open to divorce papers or simply staying single.

The Research

According to the research, viewers who tuned in to reality shows like “The Bachelor” or “The Bachelorette” have a greater tendency to be romantic and believe in the idea of “true love.”

Sitcom watchers, on the other hand, hold an opposite view. These people “tend to have less of a belief in the idea of soul mates and lasting love,” HuffPo reports.

“The study is looking to prove how influential, even subconsciously, TV can be on a person’s belief system,” the report notes. “Researchers are making the case that, though we may not realize it, the messages we see on TV shows and in films influence how we view the world and how we live our lives. Sitcoms, unlike dating shows, paint a flawed view of love. Rarely do relationships last on shows like ‘The Big Bang Theory’ or ‘HIMYM’ [How I Met Your Mother] and when they do, they’re far from perfect.”

This last statement rings true. Look at the old series Mad About You, for instance. After a few seasons falling in love with the lead couple’s romance, the final season shocks us when the two decide to file for divorce. Quite an ending! Other shows like Seinfeld derived much of their humor from presenting love and dating in a disastrous light.

Why Do They Do It?

Usually sitcom writers like to keep relationships in turmoil because it gives their characters something to strive for, and keeps the energy that drives the show’s success alive. Many have complained that when you give the character what they’re looking for, the wind goes out of the series’ proverbial sails. Still, that creative energy may be having a detrimental effect on us as we go out into the world and create our own relationships.

If you’ve experienced divorce forms — or are considering them — how much of an influence do you think that television sitcoms have on that decision?

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