Now I live in a TV wonderland. Almost anything I want to watch can be mine at the touch of a swipe! It’s a great world we live in, and every day I learn a little more about how to navigate it. Now I know even more.
Binge-watching, as we all know, is the process of watching multiple hours in a row of one TV show, or blasting your way through an entire season or even a series in extended and joyful viewing sessions.
You can binge-watch to explore a show you’ve never seen before, relive an old favorite. or catch up on a show you just discovered before the new season starts.
I watched Gilmore Girls this way, and Parenthood. 24. Revolution. (I know.) Downton Abbey. Twin Peaks. Some of those I’ve even binge-watched more than once. I only wish I’d watched Lost that way, although I don’t have it in me to do that series all over again.
This is a new one for me! I heard the term for the first time in this article, which likens it to being “pot-committed” in poker; when you have enough money invested, you have to keep playing, because you’re too far in to back out. I felt this obligation for the first time watching Enterprise, the only truly dismal entry in the Star Trek canon. (Even the cartoon was silly enough to be entertaining.) I was relieved when they canceled it, because I’d finally be able to stop watching it … after the last episode aired, of course.
Recently, I purge-watched The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. My hopes were high, initially. I worship Tina Fey, as only a TV lover can. Ellie Kemper is always fun to watch, and Jane Krakowski rules.The concept was a funny one, and it started out well enough, but as the show went on—sorry, Tina, my hero, my beloved—it just got more and more like a bad Saturday Night Live sketch. By the end, when Tina was in a wig that looked like it was meant for Rachel Dratch, I was purge-watching just so I’d be able to say I really gave it a go. Boo.
I didn’t know there was a name for this, even though I was already doing it. I hate-watched The Newsroom for a while, but it finally became too much for me. Hate-watching turned to just hating, despite the bursts of intelligence that were mixed in with the too-clever wordsmithyness of it, and the relentless sexism, and I finally turned it off. But there’s one show I hate-watch season after relentless season, never missing a single episode, even though it shames me: America’s Next Top Model.
I started watching it because it was so fun to laugh at the models posing while birds pooped on them, or crying when they had to do photos with snakes and cockroaches, or try to speak Japanese phonetically. Then I got hooked on Tyra’s ridiculous, narcissistic antics that always felt like auditions, and the constant parade of silly girls who thought that being on TV and posing in expensive clothing made them role models. I hate them all and I love them all and I keep watching, even though they’ve gotten rid of my favorite judges as well as the panel challenges, and they dropped Jay Manuel, who was the one sarcastic voice of sanity in the whole mess. I hate it, and I watch every single minute of it. To this day.
There’s room in my life for every type of viewing, I think. I can binge, purge and hate in equal measure.