Positive Psychology and the Importance of Close Relationships in TV Sitcoms: That 70s Show, Entourage, and How I Met Your Mother


The positive psychology movement has spurred multiple lines of research devoted to studying how close relationships are beneficial to people’s lives. These relationships provide psychological nourishment, giving people motivation and confidence to branch out, take risks, and live a more optimal life. The characters on That 70s Show, Entourage, and How I Met Your Mother exhibit many of these behavioral mechanisms. While they playfully badger each other, they also provide instrumental and emotional support, which allows each of them to flourish in their life pursuits. These shows also demonstrate the overlap between dynamics of careers and social bonds, illustrating how relationships and work are not separate, but intertwined. The deep interpersonal bonds of friendship and love cut across all of life’s variables. The characters display the meaning of close relationships: they are the backbone of the life well-lived.


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