At the start of this month The New York Times released an article on Americas love of binge watching television shows. It is a fantastic and insightful article, full of statistics, network ideas, and logical explanations for why people indulge in such an activity. The piece was spawned by the release of the new Netflix series "House of Cards” staring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright (whom I can only, truly, see as Princess Buttercup). If you haven’t heard of the show don’t fret. I do recommend looking it up though because it is brilliant, and is, indeed, worthy of a good binge session.
You see, Netflix took Americas love of planting on the sofa for an ungodly amount of time and created a show to specifically meet their “needs”, releasing all 13 episodes at once. Yes, you read that right. At this moment, if you sign in to your Netflix account, you too could go into a mildly comatose state, induced by drama, intrigue and incredibly well written episodes of the latest and greatest show to (never) hit (live) television. It’s genius.
I won’t lie, I am guilty of marathoning shows (marathon sounds more healthy than “bingeing” doesn’t it?). There was one Sunday, years ago, when a friend dropped by the aparentment. He found Drew and I, surrounded by cups, bowls, bags of tortilla chips, staring at the television as Mad Men played on a continuous loop (I think at that point we had watched 4 or 5 episodes). Mat (the friend in question) looked us up and down and said, “You two look crazy!”. Now, I realize the severaty of the situation, I know that I am “better than bingeing” but it’s so good isn’t it? It sucks you in, a guilty pleasure, a drug… once you get hooked you just can’t seem to stop (nor do you want to, if we are being entirely honest).
Portlandia encapsulates the feeling perfectly by having Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein binge on Battle Star Galactica and well… You should see for yourself, my words can not do it justice, so click here please. Their understanding of Americas obsession is overwhelmingly accurate. I mean, the Times piece was well researched and statistically great, but Fred and Carrie know what the people want (and how people behave).
Case and point. The other day I found my friend Hannah and I talking about how nice it is when you wait to “catchup” on a show because you don’t have to suffer the drama of waiting a whole week for a new episode to be released. Instant gratification at it’s finest. Now, we aren’t to the extreme that Portlandia so expertly portrays, but I won’t deny the fact that over Christmas there was a 2.5 season binge on Revenge… which has now made waiting to watch the final episodes of season 3 torturous (waiting week to week for answers and resolution is like pulling teeth).
I don’t watch a lot of television, but when I do I like it to be a show worthy of marathoning. A show so well written that you are hooked onto each minute, not wanting to blink for fear of missing some important detail. My current shows of choice/recommendations for your viewing pleasure would be:
MadMen (you have until April 7 to catch up), Downton Abbey, House of Cards (already on that band wagon, though haven’t marathoned it yet), Revenge, How I Met Your Mother, Friends (a classic), and possibly New Girl, though that is one show I can usually wait for week-to-week.
Happy weekend everyone. I wish you all a blissful, guilt free, binge session.