Prior to the advent of streaming video, binge TV watching was rarely a thing. You could sit and watch movies all day but rarely did anyone marathon view an entire series of television.
(shakes fist) Damn you, Netflix!
I managed to watch all of the first two seasons (26 hour long episodes) of Orange is the New Black over the course of a few weeks and I’ve discovered something that I never quite experienced before with a television series: complete immersion and borderline obsession.
The complete immersion was the most disturbing part for me. I found my mind drifting to the characters and their predicaments far too often. I actually thought about Piper and crew far more than I did about my friends, family, work, etc.
The only remotely similar experience was after quickly finishing a book series. I read the seven books by Isaac Asimov in the Foundation series in two weeks shortly after graduating from college. Too much of one scenario must confuse the brain and cause reality and fantasy to blur. I’m just starting to come out of the haze of it all.
Then there was the obsessive need to know what was going to happen. It was so hard to walk away from a cliffhanger knowing the next episode was just a click away. I watched on my TV. I watched on my computer. I watched on my tablet. Hell, if I ever got desperate enough, I probably could have watched on my phone.
I’d even feel a little better if I could get a quick fix (check out the first few minutes of the next episode). My husband was a little annoyed with me once because I was holding up movie viewing time trying to finish an episode over the 4th of July weekend.
I’m still not sure how I feel about the whole thing but I think I’m going to watch my future TV shows with a little more moderation in mind. It really can’t be a good thing when you care more about what happens to fictional people than the ones you interact with on a daily basis.
Next year, though I might feel a little differently about it when the next season comes out. After all, absence makes the heart grow fonder.