On Sunday, as I watched my seventh straight episode of The Americans, Daniel walked into the room and mentioned how he didn’t even remember the pivotal scene that was on the TV, even though he watched it a week earlier. He finished the show and moved on to bingeing Killing Eve. What he watched a week ago might as well have been another lifetime. It made me think about how we consume media in a way that is very similar to the problematic way many of us have consumed food. We need to take in everything as quickly as possible. We will get to the chores or the work another time or another day. But today we are going let loose and binge watch.
I love binge watching as much as anyone. But it makes me a little sad. There was something special about waiting a week to see one episode of your favorite show. Then everyone would be chatting about Dawson’s Creek or Friends before school. We would marvel over an unexpected plot turn or relive our favorite jokes, then we would wait in anticipation for next week.
These days, you risk severing friendships if you talk about a TV show before painstakingly verifying everyone in the room has caught up on the latest season. If you want to give an opinion on a surprising plot twist, etiquette dictates everyone within 100 yards receives a spoiler alert telegram before you open your mouth. TV is at once too precious to spoil and too disposable to savor.
Technology has improved our lives immensely. Everything is getting easier. Everything is at our fingertips. But I worry that our relationship with media is becoming problematic like my own impulses with food. We consume so much, so fast—is it even leaving an impression? When nothing is savored, is it really being enjoyed?
I will ponder that right after the next episode :)
How do you watch TV? Do you like to watch shows week to week (one episode at a time) or binge watch? What have been some of your favorite recent TV shows? I am absolutely loving this last season of The Americans.