If I’ve dropped off the planet recently, avoiding writing blog posts, seeing friends, and even doing work, I have a perfectly wretched excuse: I’ve been binge-watching the TV show Fringe.
From early April until last night at 1:30 a.m., I watched FIVE seasons (in my defense, the last season is only 13 episodes!) like it was my job. I believe in one record day I watched eight episodes… That’s just embarrassing.
I’m sure at least some of you understand, if the articles coming out about increased binge TV watching are correct. In fact, with so many on-demand services, binge watching has become the behavior that many studios and writers are catering toward. You’re now far more likely to see a serial show whose story grows on itself episode after episode, than a Law & Order style show where each episode stands alone. It means better stories, but it also means more addictive TV.
I guess the important question here is why we – or in this case, I, as I can only speak for myself – binge watch.
I have to admit, it’s been a very long time since I’ve watched so much TV or been so involved in a show, truly caring what happened to the characters. I think the why for me was my own sort of perfect storm.
After getting back from Europe, I was more achy and fatigued. Having more RA symptoms is a very isolating experience. It means I don’t feel like saying ‘yes’ to social plans. It means a lot of nights on the couch, bonding with my cat. (My cat loves a good TV binge because I sit on the couch waving around cat toys and he works out for both of us…) It means I’m more likely to be irritable and I just feel like a bummer to be around, so I don’t want to be around anybody.
I also was a bit down from the general let down of coming back to “real” life after a really great vacation. Wait, why do we have to work? Why can’t we just perpetually travel? At the same time, many of my good girlfriend’s have been busy with big life changes of their own. Meanwhile my boyfriend’s been dealing with a lot of personal/family/homeowner stuff and I’ve felt (rightfully or not) our relationship slipping as consequence.
All of these things led to a perfect storm. Of loneliness.
And what’s one perfectly understandable, but totally unhealthy answer to loneliness? Make friends with the people in your Netflix queue!
I will say, it’s not all bad. If anyone is looking for a kick-ass lead female who makes you want to be brave and strong in your own life, look no further than Fringe’s Olivia Dunham. Also, some of the sci-fi in that show may just fuel my next novel. It may, if I’m lucky, even feed more creative ideas at work.
Those are the positives. There are plenty or negatives of my TV binge, which means I truly can’t recommend it as a cure for anything except maybe recovering from surgery. My carefully planned healthy diet went downhill. I’ve had more tortilla chips than smoothies/juices lately. Eating while watching TV is a really bad brainless activity. Perhaps most importantly, it’s only allowed me to feel even more disconnected from the people in my life. (The title of this post should be ‘Never TV Binge Alone!’)
Anyway, this morning, after reaching and being totally satisfied by the season five finale of Fringe, I feel like I’ve been released from a prison of my own design. I feel like I’ve been given the gift of getting my life back.
No new shows are on my horizon (it’s like when you finish a really good book and are hesitant to pick up another, because you fear it won’t compare), just saying ‘yes’ to a social life and beginning to enjoy my summer.
And, to summarize with my new found anti-journaling skills:
Went on a Fringe binge,
I feared I wouldn’t come back
Given second chance
– or how ’bout this? –
Life should be that cool.