By Katelyn Trela
The first TV show I ever binge-watched was “That ‘70s Show.” This was in 2006; the entire series was playing (two episodes per night!) on a local cable channel in order. I recorded them on the DVR, and every Friday, Saturday and Sunday, would breeze through the week’s collection.
I was also burning them onto discs as I watched, thinking, “I’m never going to have the opportunity to watch all of these in succession like this without buying the DVD box set!”
Enter Netflix instant streaming. Wait, I thought, you mean we don’t have to wait for the DVDs? We can watch this through our brand-new Nintendo Wii? Without commercials?
I started with “Weeds,” my gateway binge show. I very quickly learned exactly where to fast forward to skip through the “Little Boxes” theme song (once is enough). I was immediately addicted, not unlike Nancy was to selling weed and consistently escaping death.
Now, Netflix is banking on our addiction to binge-watching as wholly as we are banking on their ability to curate binge-worthy content. (Buzz words!)
If you’re new to binge-watching, here’s an easy five-step guide to becoming a pro.
1. Start Simple. Don’t dive into “The West Wing” on your first go-around. Starting small (meaning 30-minute episodes) is the key. Once you’ve developed a palate for the hours in a day available for bingeing, you can begin to move to shows like “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad,” and “Friday Night Lights.”
Try: “How I Met Your Mother,” “30 Rock,” “The Office,” and/or “Parks and Recreation.”
2. Keep a Discipline. One of the cardinal sins of bingeing is too much, too fast. Especially as a rookie, taking it at a steady pace is encouraged. Know your limit and plan ahead. If there are 8 episodes left in a season and you watch 6 in one night, you will regret it.
Try: Four 20-30 minute episodes a day or three 45-60 minute episodes. If it’s Saturday afternoon, shoot for the stars and watch an entire season.
3. Breathe Between Seasons. Seasons are split for a reason. There is an art to television that should be respected. Each season should be enjoyed in full and reflected on. This is why you’ve got to plan ahead, as mentioned earlier. By watching a season finale back-to-back with a season premiere, you miss the thrilling element of time. Summer has passed; give it a day for believability!
Try: Find a movie with an actor from the show to peel yourself away for an evening. Or turn off Netflix and read a book.
4. Avoid Bingeing With Friends. Unless your friend is your boyfriend who lives with you and respects your television schedule, stay away from bingeing with friends. The only two scenarios are, (a) you have to schedule time to watch the show with your friend (the likelihood that you’ll both be available or willing to go to one or the other’s home for one or two hours a night is slim to none), or (b) you’ll watch separately and one of you will be more diligent about the nightly schedule (spoilers are unavoidable).
Try: Set deadlines. By then, you’ll both have to be at a certain point in the show and will be able to discuss that chunk. It’s like a book club, but totally different.
5. Never Double-Binge. Binge-watching is a concentrated leisure. Don’t try to watch the entire series of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” while also breezing through “Orange is the New Black.” Equal opportunity obsessive watching!
Try: Create a list (right there on Netflix!) to dictate what your next show will be. Stick to the list. The list is king.
Don’t be afraid to step away from your computer or television for a walk outside in the daylight every once in a while. Your Netflix content will be there until someone isn’t making enough money.
Katelyn is a human who lives and breathes air like the rest of us. She lives an “Odd Couple” lifestyle with her kitten in the upper realms of Manhattan. A marketing and community wizard by day and sketch comedy writer by night, she still finds time for at least six hours of zzz’s a night. She can and will talk for days about Tina Fey, “Friday Night Lights” (the TV series), and fonts.
- Click to share on Tumblr (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)
- Click to email a link to a friend (Opens in new window)
- Click to print (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)
- Click to share on Pinterest (Opens in new window)