Mineral Wells Index, Mineral Wells, TX

Community News Network

February 20, 2014

Why binge-watching old shows is more fun than binge-watching new ones

It's been four days, more than 100 hours, and I still haven't finished Season 2 of "House of Cards."

I've gotten past the big Episode 1 spoiler. And I've made it through a few more predictably "shocking" chapters. But I haven't finished. And it's not because I think binge-watching is bad - I don't buy any of those arguments. I've binged on many shows in the past year alone. "Six Feet Under" I completed in a month this summer. I devoured all three seasons of "Borgen" in the final weeks of 2013, and I relished every minute. I started watching TV in earnest in college, so if a show ran before 2006, chances are I binged on it while putting off a paper on Kant or possibly an assignment for Slate. "Veronica Mars"? Binged that during finals freshman year. then again in anticipation of the movie.

But Netflix has tarnished binge-watching's good name.

Much has been written about the joys of binge-watching. Slate's TV critic, Willa Paskin, described it as "the classy way of watching too much TV, the rebranding of a previously disdained activity that makes the sedentary life palatable to those people - say New York Review of Books readers! - who would once have foresworn it." Less than 24 hours before Season 2 of "House of Cards," Alex Soojung-Kim Pang wrote in Slate in praise of the practice, calling it "restorative," and highlighting how "it's a way [for people] to reclaim their time and attention in a rushing, distracting world." He goes on to explain that for many, it's a reward.

Binging on "Six Feet Under," "Borgen," "Veronica Mars" - those shows felt like rewards, little presents I got to open whenever I felt like it. They offered a way to relax, and yes, reclaim my time. After all, I was on my own time. I'm sure others were binging on "Borgen" at the same moment, but we were not trying to keep pace with each other - no one was dictating a time period for us to finish so we could then chat about it. The show had run its course, and people who came well before us wrote the think pieces that we could now happily devour. There was no race to finish because no one cared when we finished. No one cared when we started.

And then there's "House of Cards." In many ways I can't stop watching "House of Cards." But binge-watching "House of Cards" the weekend it comes out does not feel like a relaxing reward. It has nothing to do with reclaiming time and everything to do with time being dictated to you.

Sure, in theory, you can watch whenever you want. But if you're on Twitter, you're surrounded by people tweeting spoilers and bragging about finishing. Magazines and blogs publish pieces that will only make sense if you've "caught up." What was once the most enjoyable way to consume seasons of TV becomes a social obligation.

No one has explored this as well as "Portlandia" (also streaming on Netflix, if you want to binge). Think of the sketch in which a man and woman start watching "Battlestar Galactica" before going to a party, only to get sucked in so deep they abandon all sanity, calling in sick to work, forgetting to pay for electricity, chanting "next one, next one."* This sort of behavior is crazy - but it's a fun, personal sort of crazy. Now think of that other "Portlandia" sketch, in which friends sit down for coffee, but instead of discussing what they've read, they try to one-up each other by asking if the other has read as much as they have, until they're literally eating the pages of a magazine. The Netflix push to "watch it now" makes TV feel like a race, one that I have no interest in running.

 

1
Text Only
Community News Network
  • Screen Shot 2014-04-22 at 4.42.47 PM.png VIDEO: Leopard attacks crowd in India

    A leopard caused panic in the city of Chandrapur when it sprung from the roof of a house and charged at rescue workers.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • The top 12 government programs ever

    Which federal programs and policies succeed in being cost-effective and targeting those who need them most? These two tests are obvious: After all, why would we spend taxpayers' money on a program that isn't worth what it costs or helps those who do not need help?

    April 22, 2014

  • In cuffs... 'Warlock' in West Virginia accused of sexual assault

    Police in West Virginia say a man claiming to be a “warlock” used promises of magical spells to lure children into committing sexual acts with him.

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Cats outsmart the researchers

    I knew a lot had been written about dogs, and I assumed there must be at least a handful of studies on cats. But after weeks of scouring the scientific world for someone - anyone - who studied how cats think, all I was left with was this statement, laughed over the phone to me by one of the world's top animal cognition experts, a Hungarian scientist named Ádám Miklósi.

    April 22, 2014

  • McCain 1 House Republicans are more active on Twitter than Democrats

    Your representative in the House is almost certainly on Twitter. Your senator definitely is. But how are they using the social network? Are Democrats more active than Republicans, or vice versa? Who has the most followers on the Hill?

    April 22, 2014 1 Photo

  • Do White Castle prices tell us anything about the minimum wage?

    The paper looked at how many delicious steamed sliders the minimum wage has been able to purchase over time. The point is that as it notes, in 1981, the $3.35 minimum could buy a whole dozen. Today, at $7.25, it could purchase just 10.

    April 21, 2014

  • Can Hillary Clinton rock the cradle and the world?

    What's most interesting to contemplate is the effect becoming a grandmother will have on Hillary's ambition. It's one of life's unfairnesses that a woman's peak career years often coincide with her peak childbearing years.

    April 21, 2014

  • quake.jpg Pennsylvania won’t take action following Ohio ruling on quakes, fracking

    Pennsylvania officials plan no action despite new Ohio rules on drilling that affect a seismically active area near the state line.

    April 18, 2014 1 Photo

  • VIDEO: Boston bomb scare defendant appears in court

    The man accused of carrying a backpack containing a rice cooker near the Boston Marathon finish line on the anniversary of the bombings was arraigned Wednesday. He's being held on $100,000 bail.

    April 17, 2014

  • Consumer spending on health care jumps as Affordable Care Act takes hold

    Nancy Beigel has known since September that she would need hernia surgery. She couldn't afford it on her $11,000 yearly income until she became eligible for Medicaid in January through President Barack Obama's signature health care law.

    April 17, 2014

Featured Ads
Poll

Should vaping in public, such as in stores and restaurants, be treated the same as smoking, whether regulated privately by the business or by local governments?

Yes, vaping in public should be restricted like tobacco smoking.
No, vaping shaping should be allowed anywhere.
Not sure/undecided.
Don't care.
     View Results
Mineral Wells Index


Click on a photo to visit our SmugMug page

Front page
Weather Underground Radar
Twitter Updates
Follow us on twitter
AP Video
Raw: Deadly Bombing in Egypt Raw: What's Inside a Commercial Jet Wheel Well Raw: Obama Arrives in Japan for State Visit Raw: Anti-Obama Activists Fight Manila Police Motels Near Disney Fighting Homeless Problem Michigan Man Sees Thanks to 'bionic Eye' Obama to Oso: We'll Be Here As Long As It Takes Bon Jovi Helps Open Low-income Housing in Philly Pipeline Opponents Protest on National Mall Hagel Gets Preview of New High-tech Projects S.C. Man Apologizes for Naked Walk in Wal-Mart New Country Music Hall of Fame Inductees Named 'Piles' of Bodies in South Sudan Slaughter SCOTUS Hears Tv-over-Internet Case Chief Mate: Crew Told to Escape After Passengers Iowa College Finds Beauty in Bulldogs
Must Read
Seasonal Content
Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Stocks
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide