The pace of the television experience cannot be controlled by the viewer; only its beginning and end are within his control as he clicks the knob on and off. He cannot slow down a delightful program or speed up a dreary one. He cannot “turn back” if a word or phrase is not understood. The program moves inexorably forward, and what is lost or misunderstood remains so.
Nor can the television viewer readily transform the material he receives into a form that might suit his particular emotional needs, as he invariably does with material he reads. The images move too quickly. He cannot use his own imagination to invest the people and events portrayed on television with the personal meanings that would help him understand and resolve relationships and conflicts in his own life; he is under the power of the imagination of the show’s creators. In the television experience the eyes and ears are overwhelmed with the immediacy of sights and sounds.