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The art of binge watching

April 3, 2014

The word binge has a pretty bad reputation, I mean when you think of binge eating or drinking it’s obviously a bad thing, but now, with the insurgence of streaming Internet and TV devices, the word binge is becoming more and more popular.

I for one am an avid TV and movie watcher, and I am in absolute favor of the people’s right to binge watch TV series via Netflix, HBO GO, Hulu and whatever other binge watching capabilities that may be be out there.

There are two categories of binge watchers, the sane type  and the out of control, obsessed, no self-restraint type.

Personally, I don’t see anything wrong with being obsessed and out of control regarding a show I am binge watching. If I need to, I can put on my responsible hat and come down to a normal level and watch maybe one episode a day, but it is much more fun to watch maybe five or six episodes in a row.

I thought about my binge watching habits and how they have changed from about a year ago until now. It is interesting to see how I transitioned from a semi-normal binge watcher, to an obsessed fan of certain shows.

It all started when Netflix brought back a cult classic, Arrested Development, and released all 15 episodes on the same day, May 26, 2013. I would have to say that I watched all of the episodes in a three or four day span. I couldn’t wait to see what was going on with my favorite dysfunctional family, I mean, we had been apart for more than half a decade!

After my experience with Arrested Development I took some time off. After a while I decided I really should go back and rewatch one of my favorite shows from high school, Alias. For some reason, Alias is no longer in syndication, so Netflix to the rescue. All five seasons are ready to stream, and each episode will leave you wanting more. To this day I still don’t know who main character Sydney Bristow (Jennifer Garner) should trust and who she should consider mortal enemies. This is a fast-paced, butt-kicking show that is sure to get you hooked. Filled with corruption, action, love, mystery and attractive people Alias is definitely a show to add to your binge watching list.

Alias is a pretty serious show, so once I finished it toward the end of the summer it was time to tickle my funny bone a little bit. The League is a series from the FX network that follows the lives of a handful of Chicago friends vying for the top spot in their Fantasy Football league. The League is still on the air, and there are currently four seasons on Netflix to stream. It took my boyfriend and I about a month to watch the first four seasons, and the pranks, jokes and ridiculous story lines create a hilarious ride through four different Fantasy Football seasons.  If you are in a Fantasy Football league I highly recommend this series. While some of the things in the show are extremely exaggerated, many of the Fantasy league related things are very easy to relate to.

After watching the League I could see myself falling into a bit of an obsession phase, and the next two shows I tackled were both Netflix original series, Orange is the New Black (OITNB) and House of Cards.
First up was OITNB, which follows a seemingly normal woman on her journey through a year in prison. This show has comedy, suspense, mystery and a lot of adult content. The transformation of the main character, Piper, is what kept me tuning in for more than one episode a day.

House of Cards was next, and it is my second favorite binge watched show so far. Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright are so insanely sinister, evil, conniving, and attractive it’s hard not to plant your butt on the couch and watch all day long. I don’t know if it was for better or worse, but my boyfriend insisted we take our time with this one. There are two seasons, and we spread out our watching over the span of about two and a half weeks for the 26 episodes.The corruption, backstabbing and revenge sought throughout the first two seasons of this show made it nearly impossible to turn off.

There is one final show that I think pushed me over the edge from semi-obsessed viewer to obsessed binge watcher, and that show is ABC’s Scandal. The convenience of having the Xbox One console with Netflix made it practically unrealistic for me not to watch more than three episodes. Though some people may find it over the top, embarrassing or lame, I’m not afraid to admit that I think I actually watched 10 episodes in a row one day. It took me about a week and a half to watch all 44 episodes and catch up on season three. Now I can watch the episodes as they premier on Thursday nights at 10.

I have a couple other shows in my queue that I will start to binge watch soon, but there is really no telling what kind of binge watcher I will be with each show. The only downfall is, once you binge, the show is either over, or there is an extremely long wait before the next opportunity to watch new episodes.
(Caution: I do watch a decent amount of TV; however, I do not sit on my butt 24/7 eating popcorn and drinking soda. Remember to get outside and enjoy some of the sunshine we have been waiting months to see!)

Michelle Meunier

Staff Writer

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