‘I Killed My BFF’ out of context this may sound like a confession or a horror novel, yet it is a series that America loves about true friends who have become enemies a term known as “frienemies”, that have committed the ultimate crime – murder. A show that ran for three seasons from 2012 to 2014 is one more in a long line of real-life murder mystery investigation programs such as The First 48, Forensic Files, Dateline NBC and America’s Most Wanted. What is interesting about this show is that it continues to prove that America loves murder stories.
IMDb shows a rating for ‘I Killed My BFF ‘ of 7.8 out of 10 possible points by a mere 51 votes. In addition to the high rating what is most surprising is the demographics that make up this number. The highest viewership of this show or at least voters of this show are women between the ages of 18-29. Perhaps the reason for this viewership is the friend-turned-enemy twist that attracts women. By comparison, 1491 IMDB users rated The First 48 a total of 8.4 out of 10 possible points. Top voters for this show were Males ages 30-44. Time ticking away builds an extra element of excitement and purpose for the viewers. Forensic Files, a show that ran from 1996 to 2011 was different than others because it taught viewers about the science of forensic investigation. This show received a rating of 8.8 our of 10 from 1385 votes. The majority of voters were males in the 18-29 but only by one more voter than the category of male viewers ages 30-44.
Dateline NBC, a mainstream real-life murder mystery show that has been running continuously since 1992, has a 6.2 rating out of 10 by 988 voters. The largest demographic of voters includes more males than females yet the largest age demographic of voters was women 45+. America’s number one murder mystery shows without a doubt is America’s Most Wanted, a show that ran for 28 years from 1988 to 2012 on FOX and claims to aid in the capture of over 1130 bad guys. The rating of America’s Most Wanted was a 7.5, voted on by 921 users, primarily males ages 30-44. Regardless of the specific show, producers can be certain that if it involves a murder, an American audience will be ready to watch.
Beyond the shows like ‘I Killed My BFF’, there have been countless murders that have captivated America and the world including the murder of Nicole Brown Simpson, the murder of JonBenét Ramsey, the disappearance Natalee Holloway in Aruba. Endless news cycles and commentators visit and revisit the same evidence each time for a bigger audience. Perhaps America loves murder shows because they are outraged by the crime, or intrigued by the mystery and want to help solve the crime.
A 2009 study by Purdue University found that viewers of forensic and crime dramas are more likely than non-viewers to have a distorted perception of America’s criminal justice system. Research shows that viewing murder mystery shows develop a ‘mean world syndrome’ for viewers, where individuals believe the world to be a scary place and their sense of safety is heavily impacted. The question that was not asked during this survey was about the pre-condition of those surveyed. Information was not taken about whether these individuals themselves had previously had instances of crime, violence or trauma in their lives that made these murder-mystery shows more appealing. Whether it is ‘I Killed My BFF‘ or America’s Most Wanted, America loves murder and eats these shows up. As long as there is good in the world there will be evil and people will seek to resolve this conflict.
By Olivia Uribe-Mutal
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Crime and Investigation – I Killed My BFF
IMDB – I Killed My BFF
Purdue University – Researchers rest their case: TV consumption predicts opinions about criminal justice system