Thursday, December 5, 2013

Warning: May cause reader to binge watch

All television shows should come with a warning. CAUTION: Side affects include loss of brain cells, loss of eye sight and chance of extreme binge watching. Binge watching is like my drug. If binge watching was in the Olympics, I would have every gold medal in every category.

It all started five years ago (is it weird that that I can pinpoint exactly when my binge watching started? Probably. Moving on) when I was persuaded to watch the television show 30 Rock. I didn't know much about it other than it was starring Alec Baldwin and SNL's Tina Fey (ah, how much can change in five years). I had asked for the first three seasons on DVD, and alas an obsession began. I watched all three in the time of my winter break and even illegally caught up with season four so I could watch the rest of it live during the spring. And so, a hobby began (and not so coincidentally this all started at the same time as my college career). 

And as more winter breaks came, so did more television shows. During my sophomore year it was Friday Night Lights and Parks and Recreation. During my junior year it was Arrested Development and Game of Thrones. During my senior year it was Alias and the start of the West Wing (that took be a solid three months to finish, but hey, it is seven seasons long). There were summers that allotted more time, like when I was in Champaign and watched all four seasons of Dexter in two weeks. Or when I watched the first season of community in two days. Or when I watched the first season of 24 is three days. Or my second summer in Champaign when I watched all 10 seasons of Friends and the first four seasons of Modern Family. Binge watching is a disease.

Luckily, it was typically constrained to when I wasn't in school. However, the activity would soon become a dog released from its leash. For I graduated in May, giving me an insane amount of free time. Given the fact that my days off during the summer were on the week days, I didn't have much to do. So, naturally, I picked up Scandal and New Girl. I also rewatched most of Grey's Anatomy and Friday Night Lights.

Once I started my new job, finally entering the real world, I thought my binge habits would stop. I was an adult now, I had responsiblities. No. I'm sorry to say it actually got worse. Thanks to MTV and ABC Family I could watch four hours of Boy Meets World before I had to go to work. Now that isn't quite binge watching because it was on TV so it had commercials, and I already had seen the show, but you get the point.

But finally, October arrived. My new shows have started again! With my night shifts, I would spend most of the day catching up on my 15+ shows. This worked out well for a while. I thought since I was watching a new episode it justified me spending most of my free time in front of the television. During that time I actually had read two books. Even saw a few movies. And on the rare occassion hung out with friends. Life was getting back to normal.

Then it happened. I was about to watch my usual 30 Rock epsiode to fall asleep to one November night, when I saw on Netflix that the show Chuck was now available. I had always wanted to watch the show even though I knew how it ended. The genre was pretty intriguing. It seemed light-hearted, an easy one-episode-a-night kind of show. It was suppose to be something I could watch before going to bed.

But was I wrong. 

Chuck has brought my binge watching disease to new heights. At first, it was doing exactly what I wanted it to do. I had watched an episode each night before going to bed and that was enough. Until I hit the last two episodes of the first season. I would eventually finish the 91 episode, five season series in about three weeks (most of which was done in the last two weeks). I could divulge into more facts (like when stayed up till 4 a.m. watching it to only wake up at 9 a.m. to continue watching until I went to work), but that would be embarrassing for me, so I won't.

I don't know what it was about Chuck, or maybe it's just the time of my life, but for some reason I was hooked. I actually chose to watch this show that was two years removed from being on-air versus the shows I watched live (save for Scandal, but that's only because I couldn't risk finding out what happened when I went to work the next day). I just kept hitting the next episode button on my Netflix.

The worst part of it all? I knew how pathetic it was what I was doing. I knew it. I looked at myself and thought, 'this girl needs some friends,' and yet, I kept hitting the next episode. It's one of those things you know you shouldn't be doing but you do it anyways. Chuck was my drug and Netflix was the applicator for me to take it. However, I don't really regret what I did because I enjoyed 63 hours of my life watching a great TV show. You could probably add another five hours of my life dedicated to re-watching YouTube clips of my favorite scenes and interviews with the cast – but that's neither here nor there.

And how am I doing a week removed from my greatest binge yet? I'm sitting, writing this blog, listening to a playlist I made of songs that played in Chuck. Currently, I'm listening to the song where Chuck and Sarah have their second "real" kiss. It's a good (hmm, on second thought, should I really be admitting all of this to you? Oh well, to late). Oh, and to answer my question, clearly, I'm doing fine. I like to remind myself there is always another binge around the corner, it's just a matter of time until I find the next new show. 

Until then, I obviously recommend watching Chuck. It's a hybrid show. Combining almost every genre into one while making your heart melt (all thanks to Zachary Levi). It has a killer soundtrack, a bunch of pop culture references and is available on Netflix. However, I would like to give you one piece of advice. Warning: It may cause binge watching. 

With that I say... Live long and prosper.