When How It’s Made first came out (it was a Canadian show on Discovery Canada) in the early 2000s, I loved it. I used my ATI Radeon All-In-Wonder with a TV tuner as a DVR to record the show. It opened the door to industrial processes that were hidden at the time.
The show has since been a running success, being easily narrated in other languages. It shed light on obscure processes and was well curated to show a variety of items from food to raw materials.
It was also a great way to unwind.
The processes could be mesmerizing. In fact, there’s a whole genre of YouTube videos of a similar vein called “most satisfying videos” that show visually satisfying processes that usually involve laminar flows, varying colours, and the forming of shapes.
In thinking about effective ways to implement screen time with our daughter when she was younger, we came on the idea of using How It’s Made as a way for her to relax and fall asleep. Anything screen related for her was so stimulating that she would never refuse watching something. We called it “Boring”.
At first, it was a miracle. She would watch mesmerized and then conk out within a few minutes. Over time, however, the body adjusted to the medicine and it stopped being effective. She would of course demand “Boring”. Yelling for it.
Then it became a crutch. Then, she had already seen enough of them that she was bored and would complain. Or, we’d come across a more graphic episode like meat processing that could be the opposite of unwinding. She would love the episodes on chocolate making.
A few weeks after the miracle cure of “Boring”, it was an instrument of insomnia. She could watch for an hour or more and not fall asleep. Then, there’d be blaring ads including for horror films. Not inducing to sleeping at all.
In the end, the “Boring” experiment needed to be shut down to a more natural night time routine. I still get sleeping hearing the theme of How It’s Made.