So, binge watching is a thing. Thanks to Netflix, who started it all, we now have the ability to watch an entire season of episodes of our favorite programs.
Some might call it a good thing, being able to catch up on a program you might have missed the first time around. Others might call it a bad thing, spending so much time plopped down in front of the TV instead of being out and about, you know, dealing with the world and actual people.
I can see both sides of the argument. I’ve used the “catch-up” excuse to just be lazy and watch TV, but I tend to normally run what I like to consider “min-binges.” I’ll watch up to 3 or 4 episodes and then go do something. Maybe I get back to it that same day, maybe I get back to it a day or so later.
I think that doing mini-binges also helps alleviate a potential downside to binge watching: the loss of that heightened sense of expectation you get from watching a weekly series. If you can watch 3, 4, 10 episodes in a row, you never really get to feel that sense of anticipation that normally exists in the week-long gap you would normally have to live through.
You don’t get to stand around the water cooler at work and discuss how messed up that episode was, and how you think the writers will handle whatever happens next. You don’t get to throw out crackpot theories or argue about whether everyone on the island is dead, how Glenn could possibly have survived the dumpster episode, or if maybe next week Patrick Jane will finally catch Red John.
And, in a way, that’s kind of the saddest part of binge-watching: the societal aspect of “must-see” television can get lost, replaced by a bland discussion of completed plot points from what can now almost be considered a 22-hour-long movie instead of a season-long rumination on the subtleties of character and plot, of what happened last week, and what might happen next week.
Will I stop playing binge catch-up? Doubtful. Once I get behind, I want to get back to “now” as quickly as I can, and binge-watching is the only way to do that.
And it’s a good thing.
And it’s a bad thing.
I suppose I’ll end this post the way I began it:
So, binge watching is a thing.
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