So what if I spent the majority of my weekend watching the entire season of “Orange is the New Black” while deciding whether it was necessary to interrupt my viewing to shower? I wanted to see what came next, and then what happened after that, and after that. Then Netflix was like, are you still watching (read: are you still alive)? It wasn’t until my cat began clawing my legs purring what I can only imagine meant, “feed me damn it,” that I decided it was probably okay that I wasn’t going to finish the entire season in one sitting.
Cultural anthropologists are concerned for us, folks. They are especially worried about recent postgrads, because apparently, we’re the worst “passive couch potatoes” out there. Along with some help from Netflix, a survey found 73 percent of people who tune into their favorite shows via Netflix, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, or DVR are guilty of doing so in a binge style. Sixty-one percent of people in another study admitted to doing so regularly. This basically means they watch anywhere from two to six episodes back to back, only getting up to grab a snack, use the restroom, or to confirm that it’s still, in fact, 2014.
It is. I think. I’ve been binging on season two of “House of Cards” for an eternity now, so I couldn’t say.
But what’s the big deal? Why is this pastime slowly creeping its way into the realm of shameful behavior? It’s not like it’s anything new. People have been figuring out ways to binge watch their favorite TV shows since the ’90s. Whether it was through Internet sites, Blockbuster video, or weekend series marathons, most of us can remember being kids with our faces glued to the TV for hours because there was something we just had to watch. Although this is true for many of us, there is still a concern as to why this is something that has survived for so long. Why don’t we have the ability to just turn it off, save some for later, and do something productive like brush our teeth or mow the lawn? The habit has become all too common and has caused some serious buzz recently.
There is concern because some people argue that binge-watching television shows can dilute the effects of the drama and suspense that the creators worked so hard to provide for the viewer. We are addicted to immediate gratification and it’s only gotten worse over time. These people also argue that binge-watchers should allow the narrative to be spread out over a lengthier period of time and not be crammed into hours.
So you’re saying that the concern isn’t for my physical health, mental capacity to retain information, or the fact that if a fire broke out in my house I probably wouldn’t notice it because Frank Underwood was spitting some wise facts my way?
Nope. The concern is purely artistic in nature. They’re concerned with whether or not you’re “fully” experiencing the magic of television, or whether you’re savoring the series like a well-cooked steak or some shit like that.
But if you think about it, with Netflix specific series such as “Orange is the New Black”, “House of Cards”, or “Hemlock Grove”, every episode of the series is released all at once and Netflix did it that way on purpose. Doesn’t this make the concern void?
As far as I’m concerned, the other 27 percent out there who think binge-watching is bad can spend their time away from Netflix, Amazon Prime, or Hulu Plus planting trees or doing whatever else it is that they have in mind. Maybe they can help a few old ladies cross the street successfully, I don’t know. You do you and I’ll do me, as they say.
So the next time someone’s like, “Hey, maybe you should give it a rest, it’s been 24 hours,” just tell them that you appreciate their concern. Really, you do, but you appreciate their silence more because you just missed what Crazy Eyes said to Chapman and ain’t nobody got time to playback. There are 10 more episodes in the season and you only have the weekend.
[via Huffington Post]