Binge Watching: It’s Not Just for TV Addicts Anymore
“What time do you call this?” my husband asked when I crawled into bed at 12:30 AM. I tried to be as quiet as possible, to not wake him. Having to report to work by 7 AM, he gets ugly when his beauty sleep is interrupted.
“I’m doing research for my novel.” It wasn’t exactly a lie. After I had stayed up past midnight for the third time that week to binge-watch “Revenge,” an ABC nighttime soap from a few years ago now streaming on Netflix, a few ideas have been popping into my creative sphere. The show has more twists and turns than a Monte Carlo mountain road, and the concept has been showing me a better way to craft a novel in progress.
If I had known that “Revenge” was going to turn me into a binge-watcher, tempted more than once to tune in during the middle of the day (this girl never watches before 7 PM), I wouldn’t have started. But I’m nearly halfway through Season 2, so cutting the drip line now could cause serious withdrawal symptoms. Honestly, TV isn’t my thing. I prefer to read, go for a bike ride, or walk in the evenings.
After the first time I stayed up past midnight, my husband asked how many episodes there were. Loosely translated: How many more nights do I have to be chased out of the living room so you can watch this trash then come to bed late and wake me up?
“WHAT?” was his response when I informed him it was three seasons of 22 episodes each. It was pretty much my reaction, too, when I found out. In fact, it almost made me feel dirty. The slippery slope has turned into a plunge waterslide. Lie flat on your back; you’re going down fast. Unlike a plunge waterslide, though, it’s going to take more than 10.3 seconds before it’s over. Assuming I watch from three to five episodes each night, the math works out to 22 to 13 days of gluttony. That’s a total of 2,772 minutes of my life down the boob tube.
“I’m just going to watch two episodes tonight,” I say to him. He mocks me, “Just two, I swear, only two!” But I really did. Once. Then I try to tell him it’s writer’s research and how the plot is informing my novel (that I started 5 years ago), but he interrupts me, “Of course it is, darling. Don’t worry, we’ll get help for you.” This from the man who can watch 4 hours of back-to-back rugby every Sunday afternoon for eight months of the year. “That’s different,” he claims. (It’s always “different” when the other person calls you out.)
Then the next morning, my husband asks for an update on the lives of the rich and contemptible in “Revenge” and patiently tries to follow along as I attempt to untangle the various webs all the players are spinning for themselves. When I say he must secretly be into the show (which he’s watched a few times as well), he claims he’s just trying to take an interest in me. “I’m happy you found something you like so much,” he says.
It’s not “like” so much as “addiction,” although “Revenge” is beginning to wear thin. How much deeper can this story line go? How many more characters will be ensnared or bumped off or destroyed or turn out to be part of The Initiative? One thing my husband and I can agree on is that we think Emily should just forget about the biz in the Hamptons and take her half-billion to travel around the world. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait another 35 episodes before finding out whether she takes our advice. Whatever happens, at least my evenings will be free for more healthy activities, and my husband can get his beauty rest.
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