The Stages of Binge-Watching a Show on NetFlix
I don’t know about you but a perfectly enjoyable Friday night or Saturday involves me sitting on my couch watching NetFlix with all my favorite snacks around me.
NetFlix is slaying traditional television, turning the industry on its heads and getting major networks to step their games up. They take risks on their shows and it pays off in dividends because we’re all being rewarded with brilliant series like House of Cards, Orange is the New Black, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and their latest offering: Grace & Frankie (with Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston).
NetFlix original shows are winning Emmy’s because they’re funny, dramatic, complex, nuanced, diverse (not tokenized), layered, quirky and fresh. Thankfully, they are fresh.
Then, their selections of past seasons of old shows pulls us in for when we’re done with their shows. I brought you: The Stages of Twitter Grief of Celebrity Deaths | The Stages of Twitter Dealing with a Beyonce Event | The 12 Stages of Writing. Now, The Stages of Binge-Watching a NetFlix Show.
Stage 1: You find out about this REALLY GOOD show
All your friends, neighbors and countrymen are talking about this one show. Everytime someone mentions it, they do that deep breath thing and their eyes bulge out and they say “OMG HAVE YOU WATCHED IT?!? IT IS SOOOOO GOOD.” And then you feel ashamed when you have to shake your head no.
I mean, it has been in your queue but you haven’t gotten to it yet. You’ve totally been meaning to see it.
Folks also let you know that it has your favorite actor in it or your favorite producer is the one in charge of it. Or the showrunner of that old show you still watch every night on syndication. Basically, NetFlix shows put 6 degrees of Kevin Bacon to shame because they dig in the crates and find the OGs.
For example: Jenji Kohan is the showrunner of Orange is the New Black. She is the sister of David Kohan, the creator of Will and Grace. Tina Fey (my shero, and 30 Rock creator) is one of the creators of Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. Marta Kauffman created Friends and now Grace & Frankie.
Stage 1.5: You officially HAVE to watch it
You are told you HAVE to watch it. YOU JUST HAVE TO. They inform you that if you have a weekend free, just commit to it. Do it. Watch all of it. You had already moved it to the top of your queue anyway because you have FOMO (Fear of missing out) and you don’t want to be left out of the conversations at brunch. And you don’t want your friends to side-eye you anymore.
Stage 2: You watch episode 1 of the show
You have a couple of hours free so you decide to just watch episode 1 of the show to see what the hype is about. You press “play” and you chortle at the opening. The song is catchy as hell.
If this is a NetFlix original, in episode 1, you will either see an ensemble with actors you know and love or this is an ensemble of people you’ve never seen before. Either the OGs or new faces. The fact that Claire Underwood (Robin Wright) was also Jennie in Forrest Gump will never stop shocking me. Actors be acting, man.
If it’s an old show (Breaking Bad, Community) that you’re just catching up with, odds are you already came in knowing a lot of things about it. You’re 5 years behind so you’ve seen memes, Facebook statuses and all that. But you wanna see what all this hype has been about.
Stage 3: You cancel all your plans
You are not sure when it happened but it happened. They got you. The characters drew you in, the quotables are countless, the conflict is escalating and you care about what happens next. Somehow you’re now on episode 5 and you cannot stop. All your plans must now be put on hold. You can go to that day party happening next weekend and you didn’t really feel like going to dinner (or putting on pants and a bra) anyway. You’re staying in to watch it.
But what do you say to the person you’re canceling plans with? Surely it can’t just be “I’m ditching you for NetFlix.” or “Pennsatucky just got her ass whooped and I have to see watch season 2.” But you don’t want to lie so you might send a “Can we please reschedule?” text. Giving NO excuse is not a lie.
Sometimes, they beat you to it with a weak ass text about how they’re held up somewhere. Odds are, they’re at home on the couch too catching up with their queue. Heaven drops gifts in your lap from time-to-time, like when someone else cancels your plans before you do. SCORE.
Stage 3.5: What is sleep?
Anyway, your plans must be put on hold because now you must watch every single episodes. If it’s a new NetFlix original, then season 1 has 13 episodes. You will knock that out in 1 day, even if it means you don’t go to bed til 5am.
If it’s a NEW season of a show and the episodes drop at midnight, just know that you will be going to sleep in the morning. If it’s an old show, with multiple seasons, you understand that your next 4 weekends are already accounted for.
Also, your hygiene has suffered in this binge-watching haze you’re in. You’re pretty sure you forgot to shower that day and it was supposed to be hair wash day. Ah well.
Stage 4: You finish all the episodes
If it’s a NetFlix show, you finish the first season and you’re now sad that you have to wait an entire year for new episodes. WHY MUST THEY DO THIS TO US?!?! I mean, you know why but still… WHYYY? It’s so unfair.
If it’s an old show that had about 5-10 seasons and it’s all over and now there will never be any more new episodes, a special type of sadness sets in. It’s like moving away and saying goodbye to neighbors you will never see again. You hit a giant *wall slide* because you’re really going to miss those characters.
But you call up your friends and tell them they were right. THIS IS THE BEST SHOW EVER.
Stage 4.5: You research and re-watch.
Now that it’s all over, you re-watch it to catch what you missed the first time. But you also scour the net for articles that have been written about the show. You read the IMDB page for the trivia, and you read the theories on how Breaking Bad used the color of the characters’ clothes to foreshadow plot points.
You are obsessed and it’s probably not healthy.
Stage 5: You tell other people they HAVE to watch it.
You are now the person telling everyone you know and have a conversation with that they HAVE to watch it. Your eyes bug out and you say “OMG HAVE YOU WATCHED IT?!? IT IS SOOOOO GOOD.” Then they feel ashamed when they have to say no. And you already know what happens next.
And then someone else tells you about a show you’ve been missing out on. And the cycle begins all over again for you.
* This is NOT a sponsored post, btw.
Anywho, what other shows (not listed here) do I need to add to my NetFlix queue? I JUST binge-watched Grace & Frankie’s entire season 1 yesterday and I am in love.