Putting things in context makes them so much more interesting. I think it's why I've always loved art history. Seeing a beautiful painting is, of course, enjoyable, but it's even more enjoyable to me if I understand the context in which it was created. I've discovered I feel the same way about TV shows, apparently.
Last fall, I read Tina Fey's book BOSSYPANTS. It was very funny and wise and I really enjoyed it. I hadn't watched 30 Rock. I'd blown past it a few times here and there, but it never kept my attention for long. I just started watching it from the beginning (thank you, Netflix!!!!!) and I'm loving it. It cracks me up, but the best episodes are the ones that I know about from the book. When one of the writers calls Liz that really bad name that men call women that rhymes with runt? You see Liz grappling with how to handle it in a funny way, but it's even more interesting because I know how Tina Fey grappled with it real life and enjoy it even more because I see how she made art out of her life.
Several years ago, my youngest (hereby known as Thing Two) complained about a field trip to a museum. "You go into a room and there's a picture of a lady and then there's a picture of a flower. You go into the next room and there's another lady and another flower. Booorrrrinnnng."
I explained to him that there were probably reasons that those particular flowers and particular ladies were meaningful and that if he just understood the context it would make it more interesting. He seemed doubtful. The next time that he and I were at a museum together, we stood in front of Leonardo da Vinci's portrait of Ginevra de Benci and I explained to him about Leonardo's unique use of figure and field, the atmospheric quality of the painting, the use of light and shadow, the softness of the lines and Leonardo's use of symbolism.
I asked him if that made it more interesting. He gave me one of those smiles that seemed to say that I might shut up if he agreed with him and he said yes.
I'm taking that as a win.
Have you ever had a TV show/movie/book/piece of art become more interesting to you once you understood its context? Or does it not matter to you?