There used to be a time – a very fond time in my life – when sitcoms on TV were just under 30 minutes including commercials and had a laugh track to give cues to clueless viewers when something was meant to be funny (because I suppose it CAN be somewhat confusing as to when is the appropriate time to laugh at a joke that’s not funny to begin with which can cause an uncomfortable silence if not for a simulated audience cracking up for no reason at all) .
Back then, they had season finales that kept you coming back for more after a summer of reruns, but the intensity level was only as high as making us wait until the following week with a “to be continued” splashed in white bubble letters across the screen. We would walk away frustrated yet pumped with optimistic anticipation for the following weeks episode to find out who shot J.R. The stress and anxiety of having to wait a week for the next show was significantly lower than the dramas and series that are on TV nowadays. Back then, you were actually able to take the summer off and forget about your favorite shows until school started again.
Whatever happened to the nail biting question of whether Joanie really does love Chachi? Or those innocent days when we were left wondering all summer if Fonzi actually jumped the shark? (Don’t worry- he did. And so did happy Days right after.)
Yes, those were intense plot lines for a kid, but they were nowhere near the intensity of the dramas and Netflix series that are on TV now.
People have much greater NEEDS these days.
We need faster, more intense push to your Smartphone needs. We no longer have the luxury of TIME we once did back before Ron Burgundy transformed the way we watch news.
Now everything is instantaneous and I suppose society has transitioned to a point where people don’t actually have to read anymore ….even if it’s only a few paragraphs.
Phone calls have been replaced by a one line post on Facebook, a 140 character limit on Twitter , a 10 second Snapchat or –even better- a Selfie on Instagram.
There is so much stimulation on so many different mediums that it’s almost impossible to shut off and relax after a long work day- which is why my go to network to turn it all off and escape the everyday stress has hands down always been BRAVO – with the nonsense caricatures of “REAL” people and their hapless lives that I eagerly watch before bed . These reality shows are the perfect solution to effectively get me to that dreamland state of mind comparable to a children’s lullaby (that, and the glass of wine and xanax I take just before bed). It’s a perfect storm which leads to happy REM sleep.
Until last week.
I took the week off between X Mas and New Years so I was finally able to enjoy something I have very little of : TIME. So I decided to make a BIG commitment. HUGE…..
I took on a new TV series.
I had been hearing about “Breaking Bad” for years now but never one to bother with a drama or fiction series – unless it started with “The Real Housewives of” in the title – I didn’t pay much attention.
Then I discovered Netflix.
I had actually been following the stock NFLX for some time (up 40% as one of the best performing stocks last year) and finally decided to see what the buzz was all about.
Now I know why they coined the term “Binge watching”
Just like I cannot just have one spoonful of peanut butter, I can NOT stop at just one episode of this show.
(Good thing you can always count on ecards to sum up the perfect occasion right?)
I realize that I have a serious problem because unlike a regular series on current TV where you actually have to wait a week in between episodes, and you can get on with your workweek, with Netflix you can watch the entire 5 seasons or 54 episodes in ONE sitting. I only managed to get in 2 seasons one rainy Sunday afternoon when the kids were out with friends but what shocked me the most was the inability I had that night to fall asleep. I could not SHUT off. I simply can’t stop thinking about WALT.
While getting dressed for work on Monday, I did not hear my 8 year old asking for a waffle or my 10 year old asking for her school sweatshirt, instead I found myself counting the hours until I could watch another episode.
It made me wonder if all this technology that gives us instant satisfaction is really good for us after all? Isn’t it likely that we are OVER stimulated as it is and have turned our BOOB TUBE into a ENABLER that actually ADDS to that problem?
Sometimes it’s better to just SHUT down altogether and allow yourself the 5-8 hours (depending on how lucky you are) to actually turn it all off in order for us to recharge the next day. When the term “BINGE” is the prefix to something, you have to think that just maybe it’s not that good for you. Of course, it goes without saying, I will have to learn this lesson AFTER I’m done with all 5 seasons this coming weekend.