Movies and TV
Five Reasons 'Binge-Watching' Is Bad For Us

David Sayers | 5 Aug 2015 17:00
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3. You Can't Keep Up... And That Is A Real Problem Now

Yeah, yeah, I know. The First World Problems are strong with this one, but hear me out...

Fashions have existed all throughout recorded history. They are hardly a modern annoyance. However, an increasingly broad and fast pace of life has led to all new fashions invading every space that we inhabit, as well as a faster turnover that the ordinary person cannot hope to keep pace with. It's not just about what you wear and how you decorate anymore; a box-set, binge-ready TV culture, fuelled by social-media hype, has turned our entertainment into a fashion accessory as well. More and more, what you are and aren't 'current' on in the TV landscape determines your ability to hold a conversation with people.

Yes, before the last decade or so, you still might have every so often discovered an unforgivable gap in your pop-culture repertoire ("What do you mean you've never seen The Godfather?!") However, time was these were few, far-between and easily remedied if you gave a damn. What's more, in those halcyon days when TV shows were dispensed to you at a specific time on a specific channel on a daily or weekly basis, then we all pretty much moved at the speed of the slowest person in regard to what we were caught up on. Infuriatingly slow now, of course, but it kept us all on a level, and if you weren't watching something, then it could be safely assumed that you'd either never heard of it, or didn't care about it.

The Wire

Now? Well, I'm not exaggerating when I say I have an actual catalogue of 'Best Shows Ever' that I haven't gotten around to watching yet. I still haven't seen The Wire. Can you believe that? The nerve of me! It wouldn't be so bad I suppose, if behind my caustic exterior I wasn't a closet optimist. I want to believe the hype about all of this stuff, and I want to experience it all for myself, but watching it takes time, and there's just so much of it; and, every time I cross one off the list, three more have piled on! Oh, and for all the vastness of my DVD collection, I can forget watching anything twice, maybe to see what I missed the first time around and get a deeper appreciation, or just to spend time with an old favourite. If I did that, how could I possibly face Shaun tomorrow, who's been trying to get me into Boardwalk Empire for months?!

It's even worse when you're halfway through something, now that online streaming networks have taken to releasing entire seasons of fresh new shows at once. If you go to work/school/on the internet tomorrow, having only had time to watch the first six episodes of Orange Is the New Black, then good luck trying to have a conversation with anyone. Sure, the people who don't watch it at all are wearing looks on their faces like everyone around them is speaking Swahili, but at least in their social no-man's land, the spoilers can't find them...

Not being current can turn you into a social pariah. You might wear the right shoes, and drive the right car, but God help you if you don't know why everyone's so mad at some kid called Olly.

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