We now live in a society where the norm is to spend your spare time binge watching your favourite series. The most common subject I see my friends and coworkers discussing is what they’re currently watching, or their latest binge session where they watched more than 5 episodes of something in one night.
Thanks to some of the newer streaming services that only release one episode per week, this has reduced the bingeing, but Netflix and other sources still remain.
Amidst it all, I find myself watching maybe one or two episodes since I prefer to buy or rent, or doing hobbies that require me to actually do something like drawing, writing, reading, gaming, doing jigsaw puzzles, or my adult colouring books. Things that engage my brain.
Not saying that other geeks don’t do any of the things above. Many of the fellow geek bloggers I’ve met enjoy those hobbies as well even if watching TV is their primary interest. Maybe I’m just talking about the mainstream.
I enjoy video games because they tell a story in an interactive way. Anybody who says playing them rots your brain is wrong. Video games make you use your brain in a way like: say you need to defeat a boss or solve a puzzle, you have to think of things like timing your dodge from a certain attack so you don’t take damage or what order should you step on all the tiles so that they all light up without stepping on one of them twice. In a shorter meaning: Strategy.
I used to binge watch series, I did so with The Clone Wars in the summer of 2015. I’m so disappointed that the final season has been put on Disney+ and not Netflix with the rest of it, I don’t want to sign up for another service, even if it’s just for a month. Then there was The Office for nearly all of 2019 with my mom. But after three episodes into the latter, I would get bored.
That’s ADHD for you, my attention span can decrease overtime if I’m not doing something interactive enough!
So why did binge watching become a norm now? Is it because it’s a convenient thing to do once we’ve got home from work and had dinner?
Is it because we feel like we don’t have the time to do something more productive, something that actually requires us to do more than turn on the TV? Like if you wanted to get into knitting or something, that’s too time-consuming for you? Think again, you have all the time in the world when you’re not working, sleeping, or taking care of a loved one: like maybe 3 hours if you get lucky.
If you’re using say, those extra 3 hours just to watch TV, then it’s not that you don’t have time to do a hobby that’s more interactive, it’s that you’re choosing to prioritize watching TV over doing something that engages your brain.
All you have to do is slump onto the couch, open Netflix, Hulu or whatever service you use and away you go until you lose track of time and realize you should go to bed because you have to work tomorrow right? No effort required. Whereas if you wanted to do some sewing you’d have to get the item you want to sew and the box full of the tools you need which takes less than a minute to do. No, instead society wants instant gratification which is what watching TV seems to give us so we don’t have to do any extra tasks to get it. Tasks that are not difficult at all.
Once I realized that, I started using my free time to do things that had me actually doing something, even if it’s typing up a blog post, grinding at Animal Crossing, or sewing a new patch onto my vest. Sure, on some days off or evenings I might want to relax and watch a movie or a couple of episodes of Star Trek, but it’s definitely not something I’d want to do every time my responsibilities are done for the day.
If I have a day off, I get up as early as I can so I can finish any chores or errands so that I could spend the rest of my time playing Darksiders. I enjoy hobbies the most that require me not only to focus but also to think. Often I don’t get around to thinking and processing what happens in a movie until after I finish watching it.
Don’t get me wrong, I love watching a movie or the next episode of something on Netflix from time to time, but, it’s not something I’d binge at anymore or do everyday.