Beyond the Binge

Reel DirtRemember those commercials that claimed that “There’s no wrong way to eat a Reese’s”? Well, given that there are such lax social regulations regarding the consumption of chocolate peanut butter cups, I wonder why the public is so vociferous when it comes to how one chooses to watch a particular television show.

We exist in a society full of instant gratification, heavy interconnectivity, and spoilers. So I say: Dive in. You never know when you might be stricken blind.

People watch TV. That’s something you can bank on in this country. And there are so many different avenues for televisual consumption, one could get dizzy trying to enumerate them all. There’s watching live television, using the DVR, catching up during the week on Hulu or on a network’s website, even paying by the episode on iTunes and the like. And once the freshness window has closed on your particular episode, you might have to wait until it’s available on Netflix or buy the season on DVD to actually get to enjoy it.

However, if you’re late to the party and you hear all your friends and colleagues saying such wonderful things about a series you never could quite find time for, you’ve a decision to make. Once you do find the time to start getting into a series, do you try as much as possible to emulate the live broadcast experience? Do you take a week between episodes so you can digest the events of the drama that has just unfolded in front of you? Do you pause the show for a couple of minutes a few times in the course of watching to simulate commercial breaks? Or do you just jump in whole hog and watch it as quickly as you can manage?

That’s the question that plagues today’s latecomer: the one of bingeing. To binge or not to binge?

tv-binge-kidThere’s no wrong way to enjoy a TV show, but by all means, if you have the opportunity to watch several years’ worth of a series within the space of a weekend or two, why not?  I highly recommend it.

We exist in a society full of instant gratification, heavy interconnectivity, and spoilers. So I say: Dive in. You never know when you might be stricken blind.

Once you dive in, you have to preface all of your discussions about the show you’re watching with, “I’m only in the middle of the second season…” or “I just watched the episode where Hilary kills the cat….” The problem is, people who have watched the show may not have perfect recollection when it comes to the order in which things happened on the show. They may reply to those disclaimers with “Has John come back from the dead yet?” or “The first time Hilary killed her cat, or was it the time she killed her new cat after her lover got sent to prison?”

That’s why you binge. You minimize the amount of time you’re behind the curve on a certain show.

You wouldn’t let anyone tell you to wait a week between reading chapters in a book, would you?

binge-watching_netflixSome people are good about having discussions about a show they’ve already completed without giving away anything, but you can’t always count on that. While I was watching Battlestar Galactica (the new one, not the 1970s series; not enough frakking in the old one), I didn’t discuss it with anyone. I just spent four weeks not talking to anyone about it. Better to not bring it up at all or only talk about it with folks after you have eaten the whole enchilada, so to speak.

So don’t let anyone tell you how to watch your show! Binge! Binge like there’s no tomorrow. You wouldn’t let anyone tell you to wait a week between reading chapters in a book, would you? No! You wouldn’t pause a movie every half-hour so you could soak up what’s happened so far, would you? No!

Plus, with bingeing, you can skip over monthslong season breaks and hiatuses. If you think the showrunners meant to have the audience wait to find out if Bob is really dead or if that nuclear bomb really did destroy Philadelphia, then back off the TV/computer/iPod/iPhone/Android tablet for an hour and ponder what life would have been like if you had to WAIT THREE MONTHS (or more) TO FIND OUT THE ANSWER.

Screw that noise. Just watch the show.RedShtick-Top-ColumnStop

About James Brown

James Brown
James Brown is not related, affiliated, or representative to or of the estate of the Godfather of Soul. Any similarity is purely coincidental.

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