Growing up, attending boarding school during my formative years, we heard repeatedly binging was a bad thing. Specifically, people -meaning administrators-were very concerned about binge eating. At a boarding school, eating disorders were the norm There was this set of twins that really struck me with how blatant they were with their eating issues. No one talked about it but everyone could see the twins get a tray full of food, sit down and then cut up the food. They would at most take four bites. Yet, because they had cut up their food, it appeared as if they were readily eating. A nifty trick they would try to pull over so many people.
At the same time, I had friends who would do the extreme opposite: binge eating. I would look at these two extremes and wonder if there was a middle road to take. Moderation! What a concept. I have always been a moderate. But now I am thinking binging is good!
Binge watching that is. I no longer watch television shows on a week-to-week basis. It used to be that Thursdays were must see TV night. I remember one night at a conference, everyone stopped their networking bar activities and went up to their hotel rooms to watch the season finale of Grey’s Anatomy. The same thing happened one year where we all went to see the season finale of Lost and were treated to that scene where we first saw them in scenes post-island! What a thrill that was. We all looked at each the open-mouth and screamed. We dissected the scene for a few minutes and then went back downstairs to the “networking” activities. That was appointment television. We used to have our set nights where we would watch the shows as they were being telecast.
Today, however, why should we set aside Thursday nights or any other night, to catch a show? I really can’t think of a reason. I love binge watching. By binge watching, I can see continuity of storyline more readily. There is too much going on in the world and in my life, to be able to pick up from where the story line left off last week or a month ago. By sitting down and watching episode after episode in one sitting, I can catch the small hints throw in to each episode. As such I would argue that the viewing experience is richer. Now with binge watching, we can pause, rewind, and GIF our favorite scenes. I am still learning how to do that but isn’t this a richer, more interactive viewing experience?
By Binge watching, I get to turn television viewing into a larger event. Must see TV takes on a stronger meaning and hold when binge-watching. Before I fly across country, I download 6-8 episodes and watch them on my flight. I don’t even notice the turbulence that way. Well, I still notice little bits of shaking but the binge-watching keeps me focused.
Now there was a recent University of Texas study there are links to be found between binge-watching TV series and feelings of depression and loneliness. This study made headline news making binge-watchers seem like a lonely bunch. So what? If you are lonely, binge-watching has got your back. I could have used the ability to binge-watch many, many years ago when I was a lonely teenager in the South Bronx. I have always seen television as both educational and as an escape. When kids couldn’t play on the streets for fears of being shot, they had to stay indoors. Binge-watching presents a solution in that situation. Too dark, a rationale? When you binge watch, you can still interact on Facebook, Twitter or through texting. I am not too sure there is such a thing anymore as lonely television watching.
There are those who also decry binge-watching claiming it is a sign of addictive behaviors. Sure, maybe. But binge-watching doesn’t hurt others. At least I haven’t seen it thus far.
I will say this. If we are worried that binge-watching makes us too sedentary and eventually we will get obese and die from a heart attack, then lets just binge watch while working out on a treadmill. One need not binge watch just from a couch. That is so last decade.
One of the drawbacks of binge-watching: spoilers! But I a the type of person that reads the end of the novel first. So, I am good there. Also another drawback? I have not seen many commercials and thus have no idea as to what is being popularly sold. yet, I must say I don’t think I mind not watching commercials that have a creepy Puppy Monkey Baby. Have you seen that? Eek. No thanks. I will stick with binge watching and be entertained.