I binge-watched before it was cool, okay? Ever since Netflix became a thing, binge-watching TV shows have become the basic thing to do. Go to yoga, get some Starbucks, and binge Orange Is the New Black (and maybe chill, too?) So college.
No, I prefer to binge so hard that I barely leave my bed and I just order takeout until I’m broke.
Several studies came out this past year that said binge-watching television can affect your mood. I definitely believe this. Whenever I’m binging a drama I can feel myself slipping from reality and getting lazier by the minute. No, I can’t go be productive; I need to finish this episode. Maybe if I just finish this season I can take a break and finish that thing I need to do! It’s an endless, unhealthy cycle.
Something else I’ve noticed in the past year or so is the TV world’s obsession with “binge-able” shows such as Orange is the New Black. I watched it fast. I wanted to know what happened next! But after I finished, I thought about it: was this show really that great, or did it just consume my thoughts? I think it’s the latter.
Then I started thinking about other shows I’ve binged. Would I be as interested in them if I could only watch one episode a week? Probably not.
Example #1: In college, I watched six seasons of Bones in 1 month. ONE MONTH. I was obsessed with Booth and Brennan. Season 7 premiered and I was so excited, but as each week passed I cared less and less about what happened to these characters, and eventually, I stopped watching. Is it because the show got worse? Or it just wasn’t compelling enough to keep me engaged week after week?
Example #2: I binged 3 seasons of Once Upon A Time last fall. Once again, I was obsessed. But when I started watching it weekly, I was way less engaged. Now, I know for a fact that season 1 is the best of the bunch there, but is it possible that it was more entertaining when I was watching them all in a row?
Example #3: I binged season 1 of House of Cards in about 4 days; I was enthralled by Frank Underwood and his dirty schemes. While waiting for season 2 I completely lost interest. I started watching it casually—one episode a night—and completely stopped watching by 2×05 or 2×06. Is it because it got boring, or because it’s better when you binge it?
For those of us that have crazy schedules and do not have time to sit down and turn on the TV every night at 8, it’s hard to carve time out of our lives to catch up on shows that don’t seem as engaging as they once were.
I think Netflix releases the whole season at once because binge-watching is just the preferred method nowadays. Not only can you pick when you want to watch, but you have the opportunity to watch 5 at once and let it consume you. I have to admit, a few weeks ago I’m pretty sure I was stuck under Kilgrave’s influence. If I watched one episode of Jessica Jones a week, I may not be so into Kilgrave. I may not be so into the show at all.
Think about it: would you be able to handle Piper Chapman if you had to watch her every week? You can’t get it over with; she comes back to visit every week for nine months! That’s hell.
Maybe I’m totally off base here, but try it out. Binge a show for a few days, then watch one every few days, or vice versa. Pay attention to how your interest in it changes.