Something I learned today: I cannot binge watch shows

Much to my dismay, my co-workers have a “cats away, mice will play” mentality, so when our bosses are gone it’s a bit of a free for all. This usually means working at the center table and turning on Netflix and that annoys me.

But that’s not the point of this story.

The point is we’ve been binging 30 Rock for the past 2 days at work and I can’t stand it. The show is fine, it’s quite entertaining really (Alec Baldwin is very funny), but I just can’t do the same thing. Over. And over. And over.

Therefore I’ve realized I cannot do binge watching and I have no idea how people do this on a regular basis.

I consider this a moment of personal growth.

Can you binge watch?

I can only binge watch at this point. Not long ago I watched 9 consecutive SEASONS of Hell’s Kitchen over the course of about two weeks.

When a new season of a show I like comes out, I watch non-stop. Another recent streaming binge I had was watching Suits. Knocked out the entire 16-episode season in three days.

I can. But I’ve always wondered why Netflix doesn’t give you the option to create a playlist. Maybe instead of 20 episodes of “30 Rock” I want an episode of that, then an episode of some other show, then this, then that, and another couple hours of episodes of other stuff before we get back to “30 Rock.”

Sort of like curating your own TV stations. Wouldn’t that be cool?

Amazon Video doesn’t do this either. Does Hulu? How about iTunes streaming or YouTube Red?

Not me. The closest I’ll come to binge watching is watching episodes of a show on a series of consecutive days. The idea of watching a show for something like ten straight hours holds no appeal to me.

I get character fatigue if I binge too much. I get antsy, and start looking at the time and figuring how much til the end of this episode. I know it’s time to stop when that happens.

I can’t. Usually my problem isn’t so much that the shows get repetitive, but more that I can only sit and watch so much TV in a sitting- usually about 2 hours is my limit unless it’s a sporting event of some kind.

So I tend toward more of the watch one or two episodes a night sort of pattern if I’m “bingeing”, not the 6 hours straight for an entire weekend kind of pattern.

It depends on the show. There’ve been very few shows I’ve binge watched. The first I remember doing this with was Arrested Development. I discovered the series somewhere midway through season two, so in two days, I watched around 30 episodes to get to the point of the season the series was currently in. I didn’t mean to binge watch. It was just that after every episode I watched, I was like “oh, just one more,” until, next thing I knew, I was watching Arrested Development for nine hours straight.

Similar thing happened to me with Archer, as well. I think it was around season three when I discovered it and, similarly, two days later, I had completely caught up (probably also around 30 episodes.)

All of these.

Plus, if it’s a show I really enjoy, I want to “ration” the episodes and not burn through them all at once.

Plus, with a few modern exceptions, TV shows are designed to be watched one episode per week.

I find binge watching (on at least the season increment) to be so preferable that now having to watch one episode a week to be a gigantic pain.

It gives you a whole different perspective on a show, though. Watch several seasons over several years and you get more involved, familiar, and remember it better than if you watch several seasons over a couple of weeks. (My longest binge-watches have been rewatching all 12 total seasons of Buffy and Angel back- to-back, which I’ve done once or twice. I fond myself being suprised to see story arcs last only 3 or 4 episodes when they “felt” much longer watching the shows once a week in the original runs.)

I’m only able to do it for shows where each season is basically one long episode, like Broadchurch or Shetland. If it’s a standard season of 20+ episodes where each is mostly self-contained and there’s a resolution at the end of each, then no.

The best I can do is one episode per day. I can’t watch three or four in a row in one day, unless it’s a fantastic new discovery that is less than a half hour-per.

And even one per day isn’t as easy as it used to be, and I will often take two or three day breaks in the middle.

I like to watch the whole show in a short(er) period of time because I’m hopeless at remembering what happened and who is who in the show. Even waiting a week would have me not knowing where they are at in the story. I can’t just watch the whole thing at once, but a couple of episodes at a time at shorter intervals than a week apart.

I can’t binge watch in the sense of watching three or four (or more) episodes of a single show in a row. I do like having an entire season available so I can watch an episode a night if I am so inclined. Possibly two episodes if the series is really outstanding or I want to find out how a cliffhanger turns out.

When season 4 of Game Of Thrones came out I didn’t have cable or fast enough internet for streaming. I had to wait for the DVD release. I picked S4 up at the rental place after work on Friday, took it home and popped it in. Watched the entire season with only a bathroom break and a fresh beer between episodes. So yeah, I can binge. I’ve watched whole seasons of many show within 4-5 days.

It definitely depends on the show! I have binge-watched quite a few of shows that were favorites at the time when binge-watching was not an option (such as when I was seeing the show on a weekly (or daily) basis.

There are a few shows (The Wire, The Sopranos, Breaking Bad, to name a sample few) I have seen straight through (all episodes) more than once.

Not many shows rise to that level for me and even though I may watch a random episode or two every now and then from an “old favorite show” I won’t last more than a few hours’ worth on the rest of the candidates.

There are many options these days to pick-and-choose individual shows from a series, perhaps in some random order, but I generally have to have been a fan when it was on in first run to want to binge watch a lot of an older show.

It’s good to have the option though!

No, can’t binge watch. The only time I can stay still for more than 45 minutes is if I’m asleep or watching a movie in a theater. I’ve watched most episodes of Game of Thrones pacing back and forth in front of the TV. I can watch multiple episodes of something in a day, I just have to take a break in between.

I can to a point. I can watch about four hours of something, but then I need to get up and do something else. That’s “classic” binge-watching, where you actually sit and pay attention to something you’ve never seen before-- or maybe something you haven’t seen in a long time. I recently got some files delivered to my computer, and binge-watched The Duchess of Duke Street, which I hadn’t seen since I was in high school, but that was watching like, four hours a day. I actually sat and watched it the whole time.

Now, I “watch” TV (listen to is probably a better verb) when I’m doing things around the house, like when I cleaned, rearranged, and dejunked the back room, or when I’m cooking dinner, doing laundry, or fixing something (I fix everything from appliances to power tools, to the pinball machines, to the bicycles. Cars too, but I don’t take the TV outside when I do). Sometimes I’ll put on Law & Order, if one of the channels is running it, and it may be on all day. Or I may have a playlist of my favorite Big Bang Theories on, and that playlist is long. I don’t always start it at the beginning; I flip through, and look for one I especially want to see, then let it play from there. I don’t know how many episodes may run-- a lot. But I’m only half paying attention.

When season four and five of Lou Grant popped up on YouTube, I watched a whole lot in one day, but I didn’t watch them end to end, so it wasn’t really binge-watching. I’d watch one, then do something else for half an hour, then watch another. I don’t think that counts. But I really did watch like eight episodes over the course of a day. DH had taken the boychik some place, I don’t remember where, and I was having fun having the place to myself, so I wasted a lot of time.

The only time I remember watching a whole show from beginning to end, it was a 1970s British comedy called No, Honestly, starring Pauline Collins and her real-life husband John Alderton. It was like, 13 1/2 hr. episodes. I bought them from Amazon.UK and used a program to crack the region code, and I was so excited about seeing a show I had wanted to see for years, but that had been tantalizingly inaccessible to me, that I couldn’t take my eyes off of it.

So yes, I guess to a degree, I am capable of binge-watching, but it’s not really my “thing,” if that makes sense.

We can to a point, when I introduced Mrs. BLTC to “Breaking Bad”, we binged off and on over a serious of months until we had watch the whole series…(Note, winters SUCK in upstate NY, we are not from here, we hunker down during the winter)…but I cannot imagine doing that at work, I like my job, I take pride in it, I have people that work for me, I’m nice, I would give a nice warning the first time, the second time, not very nice…sorry for the hijack, but I’ve never experienced a work environment where this would be tolerated…

Nope, the only exception is when I’m sick and then it’s either I’ve seen before such as Star Trek or Twilight Zone or else it’s something totally mindless such as old game shows, a Border Security show, or a travel show.

I’m so jealous of people who can binge watch. Because they’ve somehow managed their lives in such a way as to have hours of free time.

I’m lucky to watch one episode of something without jumping up during it to put wash in the dryer, or get something organized.

In fact, I’m grateful that I’m not hooked on any show during the week. Back when our family watched LOST together (yes, we loved it… up until the last episode), I ended up getting up at the “butt crack of dawn” the next morning to get my work done for the next day.
Apparently, one way the bingers manage it is to not do the stuff you should be doing. I have (college) students who didn’t get any of their reading done, but who then mention that they binged an entire season of something the night before.