Thanks to streaming and autoplay, binge-watching has never been easier. But if you’re a chronic binge-watcher like myself, these are a few problems you’ve likely run into at least three times in your binge-watching adventures.
1. Your sleep is totally f*cked
Here’s a tune we all know and love — just one more episode. The seductive pull of autoplay makes it so easy to just lay there and keep watching. You’re so accustomed to the opening music that it barely even registers anymore as a fresh episode starts. You blink the crust from your eyes to glance at the time and holy sleep deprivation, Batman! It’s five in the morn and you’ve got class in a few short hours. Do you try to catch a couple Zs or just let Netflix determine your fate?
2. Your life loses all meaning when you finish a show
I’m going to go out on a limb here and say that it is less psychologically taxing to binge a show that’s three seasons or less (depending on the episode count). Yes, you still get swept up in the characters and the plot, but recovery time is typically more bearable. When it comes to these behemoth shows, these shows with so many seasons you question how a story can really be drawn out for so long, the price is steep — you give up your sleep, your relationships, your diet, your hygiene. You sacrifice it all to nine seasons of The Office, and when it finally ends, what do you do? Where do you go? Show finales become soul-crushing event horizons, not just because a story you love/hate is coming to a close, but because of the listless, desperate state you’re left in. The screen turns black and you look into the camera like Jim before breaking down in an existential crisis.
3. It turns you into a cheater
Maybe you started binge watching a show with a friend or a partner. It’s become Your Thing™; you only watch when you’re together and you’re both committed to your timetable. But then your regular scheduled binging with them gets pushed back. Then it gets pushed back again. Soon it’s been a few days or weeks and the cravings set it. Before you know it, you’re quietly opening up Netflix to pick up where you left off. “Just one episode,” you think, “Something to tide me over.” One becomes two, then three, then four. Ten episodes later, you’re desperately trying to come up with an excuse for why the next some odd episodes have already been watched or better yet, hoping they never notice.
4. You don’t eat real food anymore
Who has time to cook when seven seasons of Buffy are demanding your full attention? Maybe you have some credit on Postmates, or a job with a living wage so you can order pizza without worrying too much about which bills you won’t be able to pay this month. Either way, you’re eating trash because you’ve become trash.
5. Your social life suffers
I’m probably the biggest extrovert in my friend group and I have cancelled plans or cited the “I’m busy” excuse to stay in and get my fix of The Great British Bake Off. It starts with trying to squeeze in one more episode before you know you have to start getting ready to leave. That quickly turns into two episodes and being late. Then, having learned from your mistakes, you begin rescheduling plans ad nauseam or just flat out bailing until people stop asking you to hang out. But that’s fine because you have 155 hours of The X-Files to find the truth. Who needs friends when you have Mulder and Scully?
What problems do you run into when you binge-watch? Do you have any binge-watching hacks? Let me know on Twitter and tell me what you’re binging right now!