Kathy Fuller: In Defense of Binge Viewing

by Kathy Fuller

Or as I like to say, Ken Levine doesn’t know what he’s talking about.

This may or may not have been me this past week.

This may or may not have been me this past week.

Totes kidding–Ken makes some valid points in his post about binge viewing, especially about the shared TV viewing experience that comes with everyone in the country watching the same cliffhanger and discussing it at work/school/with a friend on a rotary phone…

Yeah, I said rotary. And perhaps many of you are wondering WTH is that? Because if you’re going to talk about your favorite show, it’s not going to be around a cliched water cooler, but on the internet. Twitter, a message board, a TV community–this is where people talk about the shows they obsess about love, and time is fluid on the web. So what if I didn’t watch the Breaking Bad finale until four days after it aired? I can find a message board where they are still talking about it. Dissecting every detail. Establishing conspiracy theories about the actors and writers. Stating how they would rewrite the episode. And that’s way more fun than chit chatting about The Walking Dead five minutes before your fourth class of the day.

I’m a fan of binge watching. Having been burned by way too many shows that I was way too invested in, I like knowing in advance if a season or a show is worth my time. I’ll let other viewers do the work for me, then if I’m intrigued, I’ll start watching. If I hear the first two season suck, then I’ll start with the third, where things begin to pick up. If I feel like it I’ll go back to the beginning. Or I won’t. It’s my choice.

Which brings me to my biggest point: choice. I love the TV landscape right now, in that I control my viewing habits. I don’t have to be home at 9 on a Friday night so I don’t miss the latest episode of the number one show on the air (they used to air the best shows on Friday nights, for those of you who remember Original Recipe Dallas). I don’t have to remember to set my DVR, or freak out when it freaks out, which happens. If I’m bored by an episode I can skip it and move on to the next one instantaneously. I am lord of my TV viewing habits and I revel in it.

Embrace binge viewing, I say. Take control of your TV. If you want to spend an entire weekend in your underwear drinking skunky beer and scarfing Cheetos while catching up on all those Gossip Girl episodes you missed, have at it. No judgment here. And if you’re dying to talk to someone about something that happened to Chuck Bass four years ago, I guarantee you’ll find an internet community who will embrace you and welcome your insight and wisdom.

Now excuse me. I have to restock my fridge. Orange is the New Black is waiting for me.