Why do we care about what fictional characters do on TV? We do not personally know these people. We do not know celebrities personally. Celebrities spit on us. A celebrity doesn't know us from Adam, yet we pay good money to see them doing things. They don't care about us, but we love them. Why? It defies logic.
Extrapolating from theories about childrens' dolls and puppy dogs, some psychologist or another says that if we cannot care for a character on the screen, we cannot care for a real human being in need on the street.
Contrary to this concept is the problem of too many people caring too much about celebrities and what they do, and their fictional personalities and not caring enough about other human beings.
But no, it is not profitable for anyone to mention this dilemma, so we just assume that emotional attachment to fictional characters is somehow the foundation for emotional attachments to real people.
Psychologists very unwisely recommend sex videos for couples who are too awkward to get on with their business in the bedroom. What ends up happening is the unattainable two dimensional ideal on the screen is given preference above the very real three dimensional experience that is readily available to the couple. In other words, one person or two in the couple may end up desiring what they cannot have, i.e., what is on the screen, and desiring less of each other. Why does anyone think this is good psychology?
Celebrities of Romance
Why do we care that celebrity X is sleeping with celebrity Y? Why do we care that they do this in a movie?
What good is it that they take their clothes off? I mean, it's not like they are taking their clothes off for your benefit. They are not having sex with you, they are doing it with some other person, and all you can do is watch what they are doing. What is the point?
But yet we watch these things and cannot turn away from them. We are illogical creatures, and it seems only by seriously addressing these things in writing and thought can we actually question the fundamental purpose of such things being produced en masse.
Please let them live
The hero is dying in a movie. Why do we breathlessly wait for them to come back to life? We don't know them. They don't know us. There's no reason for them to care about us. If they're a superhero like Batman, they don't even exist. Why do we get upset about what happens to them? Whether they live or die, it ultimately has no affect on your life.
A good test of the media's psychological power over you is to walk out of a movie halfway through, or at a random time. It tends to dominate the consciousness. You obsess over what happens next, and start postulating what the resolution is, and maybe, just maybe, you get your own ideas instead of letting the media spoonfeed you theirs.
When you leave the movie after a hero's death, halfway through the film, pretend you're from some backwater country that doesn't understand film or character arcs, and just go home. Maybe the movie actually ends with the hero's death, instead of the miraculous comeback the writers devised. Imagine how the story would continue if Iron Man didn't survive that...whatever.
Of course you wouldn't do that. Human beings want to have the closure of fictional stories presented to them "as originally intended." This really makes no sense. Maybe people just aren't creative enough to think about these things seriously. If more people did, they wouldn't waste money on movies. Or, at least, they wouldn't waste money on more than fifty percent of a movie.