Thursday, December 04, 2014

Binge-watchers only, please.

I discovered something about myself recently, and I'm wondering if it's an epidemic, or it's just me.

Drew and I went without anything but an antenna and video streaming devices for maybe 2-3 years. I'm sure it was longer than that and I'm sure Drew will say it was shorter than that. It felt like longer because of football. I HATED having to go to someone else's house or find a sketchy European stream for Thursday Night Football, I hated only getting Big 10 college football all day on Saturdays with maybe one SEC game. I just hated everything about not having access to football at all times that it was on.

I was mostly okay during the off-season, watching Netflix and Hulu Plus and trashy judge shows on network TV, and finding the occasional show to binge-watch, which is my anti-drug. However, I frequently whined to Drew about having to download stuff like Breaking Bad or The Walking Dead off sketchy European sites (God love the Europeans) the day after they aired. So last year when football season was getting underway, I put my foot down and insisted that Drew get us satellite again. And like the good husband of a shrieking harridan, he let me go ahead and get it.

We got free Sunday Ticket last year, enabling us to watch all NFL football games, all Sunday long. Oh man. Then I discovered Red Zone and considered installing a fridge and a toilet in the living room so I never had to part with it between the hours of noon and 7pm.

Then the off-season rolled around. It took me until about April of this year, but I finally admitted to Drew, to his face, that if it weren't for football, I wouldn't care about network TV at all. I do like watching Friends for 2 solid hours in the afternoon on TBS, but otherwise, I was watching Netflix and Amazon Prime all. the. time. Sure, it was nice having The Walking Dead and Breaking Bad. And we got into a few new shows like The League and Key and Peele. And the DVR was definitely nice.

Here's the thing, though, I only half-assed watched those shows while they were on live. I'd be reading Twitter or doing my nails or anything else but paying full attention to the show. So I basically missed last year of TWD and every other show entirely.

When this year's premiere of The Walking Dead was approaching, I sat down over about 5 days and binge-watched the first 4 seasons of the show on Netflix so I could catch up and have it fresh in my mind. I half-assed watched the season premiere, then basically started going to bed at like 9 and missing the show altogether and didn't watch it at all. Here's the problem with that - you catch spoilers. For example, there's a huge spoiler in the mid-season finale of TWD that TWD's Twitter account tweeted right after the show was over. I will not say what it was, but it's a big deal. I reacted to the spoiler with little emotion and went on about my business.

Yesterday morning, I was about to do my normal Wednesday clean-the-whole-house routine, but decided that since Drew was out of town and I had no one to clean for, I'd catch up on TWD. So I pretty much sat in my own filth for 8 hours with a brief breaks for basic human needs and picking Ace up from school and watched TWD. The mid-season finale came on and I knew what the huge thing was that was going to happen. I knew it was coming.

Then it happened.

I EXPLODED in tears, threw my phone across the room, and immediately had to pause the show to bawl my eyes out, cry into a bunch of tissues, throw THOSE across the room, and finally compose myself. Then I watched the last 90 seconds of the show, cried out whatever tears I had left, and kinda sat there shaking and found a Louis C.K. special on Amazon Prime to calm myself down.

I know I wouldn't have reacted that way if I'd watched it weekly, because my entire attention wouldn't have been on the show and I wouldn't have had the emotional investment. And I KNEW it was coming. Binge-watching takes up all my attention to the point that people on Twitter ask where I am, and just gives me a payoff that watching weekly doesn't do.

So, that was an entire long way to say, are you a binge-watcher? Have you found yourself trying to maintain attention when watching shows live? If I could do something like JUST pay to add Sunday Ticket, HBOGo, and Showtime Anytime to my regular streaming video devices, I so would and wouldn't need cable or satellite at all. I don't even have a problem with spoilers, because they don't spoil the show for me. For example, knowing the big big spoiler on the series finale of Breaking Bad would not spoil the huge roller coaster ride of binge-watching all the seasons on Netflix. (Highly, highly recommended.)

Now, if you'll excuse me, Oculus just came out on Netflix. And December 6th, American Horror Story: Coven will take me away from all wifely and most motherly duties for 2-3 days. Streaming video is my faaaaaavorite thing.


Michael Kennedy said...

I'm a binge watcher. I proudly admit it.

Michael Kennedy said...

Also... gross about sitting in your own filth. People will think you were joking, but we know.

Tywanna Janies said...

We're totally binge watchers too. We store current season episodes on the DVR so that we can binge watch them. Binge watching is how I saw Battlestar Galactica and Supernatural and its the only way imho to watch Lost.

I can't watch TV any other way now.

elizabeth said...

I don't have a DVR so I missed out on season 2 of Orphan Black. (Nieces and puking moms rank higher than television.)
I kinda love that I missed it. That means I can binge-watch it & get all the goodies at once even though I know one huge spoiler.

HEATHER said...

Proud binge watcher!! LOL!

Chris said...

Binge watcher here, but sometimes I have the opposite problem. When I'm binge watching, I often get distracted with other things. For instance, I watched all of season one of Orphan Black. I loved it. When season two became available on demand, I started watching it as well. Unfortunately I had to stop because I had no idea what was going on.

When I watch a show weekly, first of all, I fucking love it. I don't sit down at a specific time each week to watch 2 Broke Girls. That just won't happen. But I do sit down every Thursday night to watch Scandal. I've been waiting for it all week. If anyone even mumbles over the dialogue I'll rewind that shit.

In between episodes all week I have time to soak in what happened, and try to figure out what is coming next. I remember each specific episode.

I definitely relate to becoming distracted and having not payed attention, however I believe that is the root problem. Perhaps for you, getting just a taste isn't enough, and you really pay attention when you get to eat the entire meal. But for me it's just the opposite.