Saved by the Bell, Sex and the City, Friends, and now Orange is the New Black, Girls, House of Cards and The Mindy Project.
Binge watching television is a delicious and guilty pleasure for many of us, but is it a gluttony you hide or are Tweeting about? With the rise of modern technology and services like Roku and Netflix, this type of behavior has become more and more acceptable and easier to take part in. Imagine a day with VHS tapes stacked up to the ceiling in order to watch through your favorite sitcom, with DVR and on demand viewing, the ability to hole up in your home for a day or two is easier than ever.
As far as creative writing is concerned, I would imagine that watching at this fast pace offers the viewer the ability to understand the inner workings of a show much better, to study it and understand why it works. As a couch potato, this kind of viewing offers hours of endless comfort and entertainment, whichever kind you want or need, at your fingertips.
There are two types of binge watching in my book, the kind where you can’t unglue yourself from the couch because you can’t go on without knowing what happens to Piper next or you have the need to know whether Will is still alive or not, (any Nashville fans out there? Phew! That was a close call), and the kind of binge watching that has you repeating familiar lines and watching OVER AND OVER AND OVER even though you know what kind of ring Aiden gets Carrie and that Joey and Rachel will never work out.
As a creative type who hopes to someday own an empire of sorts of my own, I crave knowing what that special sauce is. I yearn to create something so highly palatable that generations and generations will come back to my story, spinoffs will be born and product franchises will be inevitable. But what makes a show something you can’t get enough of? With classics like “I Love Lucy” we know the magic Lucille Ball has, we understand the relatability of her relationships and believe her quirky antics. She is truly timeless. It begs the question, will Carrie Bradshaw carry on the way Lucy has? Though Carrie isn’t pratfalling her way through life, she is constantly battling some sort of comedy or errors, be it in her sex life or with her gay husbands. It seems as feminism becomes more popular amongst this generation more and more anti-Carrie sentiment grows, while an entire generation of teenagers is being introduced to my favorite fashionista through “The Carrie Diaries”. The same could be asked of Lena Dunham’s Hannah Horvath, a perfect snapshot of the millennial woman, but will the GIRLS character speak to women fifty years from now? We’ll just have to wait and see.
What I love about the digital age is that people can revisit shows like “LOST” and a resurgence of popularity is experienced online with new discussions popping up. I recently watched my father, who has had his own experiences with a Jesse Pinkman type, drown himself in the world of “Breaking Bad” so quickly that as he approached seasons four and five I suggested he slow down (knowing season six existed and wasn’t on Netflix yet). He was DEVASTATED when I told him it wasn’t over, not with the excitement that more was coming, but with the desperation to know just what happened to Walt and Jesse. This sense of desperation is quenched when groundbreaking shows like “House of Cards” and “Orange is the New Black” are offered as an entire season by Netflix. With the upcoming release of “House of Cards” on Valentine’s Day, perhaps we should consider it a little gift of love from the network. Now while one might think that the buzz would die down in a week or two surrounding these show, because of people’s varying schedules, the chatter just carries on and on! In fact, it seems there are still bandwagoners jumping into Piper’s world.
Forgive my state of consciousness style TV review, rant, and revelation of my late night escapades with a full DVR and a day off. I love television, I love watching it change, I love new technologies and how they allow us to sit back, relax, unplug and let go; escaping into an alternate universe for as little or a long as we’d like. I also like the fact that I can watch all of my “Pretty Little Liars” in a row without coming up for air.
What’s your favorite show to binge watch? Scandal? Revenge? Do tell! Tweet me @themarcyminute & let’s dish.