Why I Don’t Binge Watch

TV

On July 4th, 2019 at 3:01AM EDT, Season 3 of one of my favorite Netflix series was upon us. Stranger Things returned.

It doesn’t seem so long ago that this would have been referred to as “Stranger Things aired, but these shows (especially Netflix Originals) don’t actually air in the traditional sense. Instead the entire season – all episodes – are literally dropped in our laps all at once in one lump sum.

As such, by the morning of July 5th, I was already seeing posts discussing the entire season:

“Wow! What a great season!”

“This was definitely the best season yet!”

Yep. As I’m sure it is of no surprise to anyone reading this, there are millions of people who’ve watched the entire season in one day. And if you haven’t been paying attention over the past few years (or simply wasn’t sure), this is Binge Watching.

To be completely transparent here, I’ve done my share. In fact, I binge-watched the majority of Season 1 of Stranger Things. I was a bit late to learn about this show (a close friend had brought it to my attention), and I wanted to be up-to-speed as Season 2 was about to be made available. But over time, I’ve come to the conclusion that I simply won’t binge watch any series. In fact, I don’t even like binge watching. Here are my main reasons why.

Time

This is without a doubt the first and foremost reason. I simply don’t have time. As a husband with a full time career, and father of 3 plus a two-year-old foster child, I simply don’t have time to spare glued in front of a television watching Netflix. And with what free time I do have (which is usually later at night), I honestly rather spend on hobbies or reading. Sure – there are evenings, especially on weekends, when I just like to veg out on a show or two. But still not hours upon hours consuming an entire season of a show. Some may say, “Since I barely have time, Binge Watching is the only way I get a chance to see anything.” But does that mean you have to watch the entire season at once?

Defeats One Of My Cord Cutting Reasons

Years ago when making the decision to Cut The Cord, my wife and I decided that one major factor would be to cut down on the amount of TV time spent by both ourselves and our children. By its very nature, Binge Watching is completely counter intuitive of this. Some may argue that if you don’t watch TV throughout the week, but Binge Watch a show in one day, you’ve achieved this goal. To that I say “hours spent are hours spent”. When you watch a bunch of television doesn’t justify how much television you are watching.

It Cheapens The Experience

Admittedly, this one is more of a matter of opinion or personal taste. However, when I was younger, few things about TV were more exciting than watching an episode of a favorite show, and then waiting in anticipation of what was going to happen next the following week. Binge Watching is more of a “cheap thrill” approach, in my opinion. There’s no waiting. There’s no anticipating. There is no thrill. It’s like buying your favorite flavor ice cream and gulping it all down at once without your tongue touching it so that you don’t even get to enjoy the flavor.

Nothing Left

I see this post often from people:

“I’ve watched all of [insert show title]. Can somebody recommend something for me to watch?”

It seems that I know many people who may have possibly consumed everything on Netflix in a very short period of time by Binge Watching everything. As such, they find themselves in the position of having nothing left to watch. By not Binge Watching, I’m literally guaranteed to have something to watch, for weeks or months to come, during those times that I feel like watching TV. By not Binge Watching Stranger Things 3, for example, I have plenty of entertainment to look forward to.

If we were to be completely honest with ourselves, we must admit that there is an element of FOMO involved when it comes to Binge Watching. In this Social Media age, with people posting memes based on jokes pertaining to specific episodes of a show, we want to be sure we “get it”. Or when work colleagues are talking at length about entire seasons of a show we claim we love, we want to be sure we’re up to speed on it. Sure – there are rules of etiquette that apply here. Specifically, the universally accepted rule of NO SPOILERS. But don’t we prefer being the potential spoiler as opposed to being the potential victim of a spoiler?

What about you? Do you still Binge Watch?

2 thoughts on “Why I Don’t Binge Watch

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