BCM310 Blog 2

Animal Documentaries Anthropomorphizing Nonhuman Animals

In this era, people are so used to sitting on the couch watching TV. There are a lot of different kinds of entertainment we can have in just one little black box in front of the couch. Are documentaries count as a kind of entertainment? It seems like documentaries are too educational, but still many people like to watch them. Turns out that many people do not take them as educational documentaries. They take them more like a reality show featuring wild animals.

The productions usually describe the animals just like us human. For example, they have their family, they are happy together, they get hurt and feel sad losing a fight. But are they really like that?  They are animals and they also have feelings, just like us. But the point is that is their feelings what we think they feel like. We are just assuming they should feel like that because if we face these situations, that will be what we may feel like.


Anthropomorphizing animals can certainly let the audience be more entertained. It is like showing Mickey Mouse to the audience but in a more realistic way. Actually, we can see not only documentary but many others like cartoons and movies humanize animals. These shows can definitely raise audience’s interest. Animals acting like human or doing things that human will do can make audiences feel more familiar with a different kind of species. Then they will have more interest in watching those animals doing things weird.

The audience likes to watch their reactions to different situations that the audience themselves can seldom or even never have a chance to meet. It is like watching a reality show to them, but just that the main characters are animals, not the Kardashians. Cause the animals will somehow do things different than us human when facing the same situation as we do, and sometimes these will be funny for us to watch.10c3e9526c717f607c6200292fbef6cc

Sometimes an animal may do some ridiculous thing that we do not have any idea what they are actually doing. Describing them as human’s act may let the audience have some idea on what they are watching and they may sometimes even have empathy on those animals. When they feel the sense of the animals, they will more attention when pay watch the documentary and will want to know what happens next. Therefore they will keep watching the show.

However, there are still some drawbacks on anthropomorphizing animals on TV shows. In those shows having anthropomorphized animals as supporting roles or even main characters, the animals are usually very friendly to the humans around them. The audience may think they are also really friendly in real life like they do in the show. The animals in the shows may be trained for the shows. But in audiences’ eyes, seeing these animals on the screen may cover the fact that there is still a danger of animals attacking people.

animals-bulls-fightingSometimes some shows will show wild animals acts that only make sense to the situation in the wild world. However, kids may not know that these acts are not appropriate in our society. The kids may imitate the animals’ act and rationalize the violence. If the parents do not instruct them properly, there may be effects on the kids’ behavior.

All in all, anthropomorphizing animals is an artifice for the show producers to assure that the shows will attract more audience and in the filming industry, this is a norm to make the show more attractive and entertaining to the public. So this is not anyone’s fault to do so.


  1. Handel, S. (2017, April 18). Why Nature Documentaries Are the Best TV Shows for Your Mental Health.  http://www.theemotionmachine.com/why-nature-documentaries-are-the-best-tv-for-your-mental-health/
  2. Evans, K. (2018, May 30). Watching Nature Documentaries Makes Us Ridiculously Happy.  http://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/watching-nature-documentaries-makes-us-ridiculously-happy-/all/
  3. Solomon, S. (2018, May 08). People Who Watch Nature Documentaries Are Way Happier, Says Study.  https://www.yourtango.com/2017300806/watching-nature-documentaries-makes-you-happy-says-science
  4. Pannell, L. (2018, April 28). The Death of a King. https://travelguideandphotography.com/2018/04/23/the-death-of-a-king/

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