The Five Stages of Binge Watching


Welcome to 2013.  The year of Netflix, the year of streaming, and the year where it’s become socially acceptable to shut yourself out from the world and devote yourself to an entire series of a television show.  The new phenomenon, known as “binge watching,” has become easier than ever.  What? You mean you haven’t finished an entire season of a television show in one day yet? Get on board!

More times than not, binge watches lead to addiction and even an obsession.  One does not simply binge watch a show they dislike – unless it’s some form of new age torture (I may be onto something…).  We’ve become enthralled with television shows, treating characters and stories like our own kin.

Stage 1: Curiosity

“You need to watch [name of superawesomeyoucan’tmiss television show] immediately!” Okay, I guess. Let me just Google some information about it, see if it really is all that.  Hmm…looks interesting and I do like the actors.  I guess I’ll watch the first episode, if I don’t like it I don’t have to continue watching.  No harm done, right?

Stage 2: Apprehension

Oh no, the first episode was SO GOOD.  What do I do now?  I don’t have time to start a new show.  I work two jobs, I sometimes pretend to socialize with people, AND I just finished show Y last week.  How could I fit new show X into my life? But I need to know what happens.  I need to know who lives, who has sex, and what that dead man was doing in a bathtub! What do I do?

Stage 3: Acceptance

It’s okay, Erin.  You’ll watch episodes on the weekends, on your lunch break, in between social obligations.  The show is too good to stop now, you can do it! You did it before and you can do it again.  Just accept that fate wants you to watch this amazing show.  You love the characters, the story lines, and the drama.  You can even write about it in your blog when all is said and done – give your binge watch a little bit of meaning.

Stage 4: Isolation

No, I can’t go grocery shopping now! There’s only two episodes left in the first season AND I NEED TO KNOW HOW IT ENDS. Plus, Netflix says the next episode will start in fourteen seconds!  I can’t just stop watching on a cliffhanger! Another hour won’t mean anything. Can you please close my door? I need complete silence right now and I can’t have you asking me questions every minute. What? You want me to come to your birthday party? I haven’t showered in two days, I haven’t even talked to anyone, how do social skills work again? This show is so amazing.  Maybe I’ll find someone at the party who watches it too and we can cry about it together!  How long have I been at the party now? two hours.  I wonder if I can quietly bow out and no one will notice.  Two hours is long enough.  Season two is waiting in my queue, calling my name.  See you guys in three weeks!

Stage 5: Addiction

Have you watched show X!? YOU HAVEN’T? IT’S SO AMAZING.  I can’t talk to anyone who hasn’t watched it yet.  I spent six hours on Tumblr last night learning everything about the show.  I even wrote my own fan fiction!  Just because the actors weren’t gay on the show doesn’t mean that they didn’t secretly want to be together!  Did you know that the guy and the girl are dating in real life!? Ohmygod, cutest couple ever! I can’t wait for them get married and have babies, it will be just like on the show! Did you see they also are maybe going to make a movie about it? That’s a Kickstarter I would give money to.  I hope it never gets cancelled, how could it? It’s too good! All the actors deserve Emmy’s STAT.  WHAT DO YOU MEAN THEY WEREN’T NOMINATED!? ROBBED. ALL OF THEM ROBBED.  WTF IS WRONG WITH HOLLYWOOD? Do you guys like my new shirt? it’s from Show X, it’s the company logo they all work for! Just watch the first episode, I promise you’ll like it!

(In case you don’t think this is real: I did, in fact, watch 177 episodes of Supernatural in a four week time span.  Oops.)