In our instant gratification culture, it makes sense that “binge watching” is the newest technological addiction.
Binge watching happens when a person sits down to watch his or her favorite television show or mini-series, and ends up spending hours in front of a screen.
With platforms such as Netflix, Hulu and Hulu Plus, and even some not-so-legal sources, it’s not just college students who are guilty of absorbing as many shows as possible in one sitting.
Many people use television and movies as an escape from their mundane everyday life, or from the problems that they may have to face on a daily basis.
Make an entire series available without commercials and a simple escape can turn into several hours of forgetting about everyday problems, homework, and even plans (admit it, you’ve forgotten about lunch with your best friend because you just had to know what happened between Piper and Alex on “Orange is the New Black” ...or maybe that’s just me).
Let’s tackle the most popular enablers first. Netflix has no commercials, and has even birthed some of its own very popular original series.
“Orange is the New Black,” a series about a woman’s stay in prison, has captured many Netflix customers, along with Netflix’s reboot of “Arrested Development” and original thriller “Hemlock Grove.”
Along with its own renderings, Netflix also offers foreign film selections, classic titles, 90s cartoons and movies, and even has a pretty impressive Disney collection.
Netflix is popular because it offers a wide variety of older and newer titles, all with no commercials and at a very cheap price. It even opens doors to viewers with independent titles, stirring documentaries, and guilty pleasure reality shows.
Not only can you stream titles, but you can save your favorite shows to an esay-to-access favorites list, which makes it that much easier to binge watch.
Hulu and Hulu Plus are aimed at viewers who also use cable or satellite television to feed their need for watching television shows. These platforms have commercials, but are owned by major networks (Fox, NBC/Universal, and Disney-ABC) so current “shown-on-primetime” shows are available for streaming shortly after they air live on television.
Hulu, the free platform, streams shows and has commercials but offers much less variety than Hulu Plus, the paid version.
Whatever the means of watching, TV consumers are dedicating their precious free time (and sometimes not-so-free time) to ingest as many hours of their favorite shows as humanly possible.
Daren Turner, Music Education major and trumpet player for the Marching Southerners, admits to “watching an entire season of Supernatural in one day,” only pausing the show to eat lunch.
Many students talked about binge watching during weekends, during meals, before going to sleep, and even right after waking up.
Larissa Kellum, JSU student and Biology major, says that she “watched seasons seven and eight of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ in two nights,” and also points out that she “binges on one complete series before moving on to another show.”
Several students listed their lengthy “already watched” lists, and most have already lined up more shows to binge on while they try to tackle the ridiculous amount of homework they have from classes each night.
Even the writer of this article admits that she has been binge watching “Scrubs” on Netflix while working on this piece.
Just remember that if you are guilty of binge watching televisions shows until you’re not able to determine real life from the one on the screen, you are not alone, and if you don’t binge watch, you have no idea what you’re missing out on.