Thursday, January 21, 2016

The Binge Is Back

Last winter, we were buried under about ten feet of powder. My teenage daughter had snowdays week after week, and it was pretty much impossible to go anywhere. Work slowed down as New England waited to thaw out. Even though my office is right upstairs, most of my clients were having a very hard time getting to theirs, and there wasn't much going on. 

So, while my husband was busy shoveling, my daughter and I did what any self-respecting digital cable subscribers would do. We binged on Netflix.

For months, my daughter had been trying to turn me on to How I Met Your Mother. Being housebound gave us the perfect chance to watch it together. 9 seasons, 208 episodes, 20 minutes each (without commercial interruption).

You do the math. (Yikes.)

This wasn't my first binge. I've been known to devour all 6 hours of the BBC Pride & Prejudice in a single, heavenly, afternoon. And, sometimes, I have to binge in order to review a new show for my regular column in Women's Voices for Change, like Grace and Frankie, House of Cards, and my favorite Orange is the New Black. At one point, I even wrote a primer on binging for other would-be couch potatoes.

But, binging still feels like a very guilty pleasure to me. Not so for my daughter (who can't remember a time before on-demand TV, much less DVDs or VHS tapes); it's par for the course. Why stop your life for a particular time on a particular night to watch a particular episode, when you can watch any and every episode, anytime, any place and on any device.

I mean, really, adhering to a network line-up is so last century.

While I may be a dilettante, my daughter is a committed binger. Thanks to Netflix (which she can see on our TV, on her laptop, on our iPad, and on her phone), she has relished season after season of series after series. 

How she continues to get good grades is beyond me.

Nevertheless, here are some of her best binges:

Gossip Girl

Suffice it to say, this is not the New York I grew up in! It's a show about the 2% and their teen children  — who have better-looking homes, hair, outfits, and boyfriends than the rest of us. 
The Office
Not quite sure what the allure was here. My daughter has never worked in an office and has rarely even been in one. (Plus, that handheld camera thing always makes me a little queasy.) But she stayed with it.

One Tree Hill
Between the love affairs, terminal illnesses, basketball rivalries, and hostage situations (seasons 3 and 6), who would ever want to live in this place? All they need is a guest appearance by Susan Lucci. Can you say s-o-a-p o-p-e-r-a?

Pretty Little Liars 
Another town you would be well-advised to steer clear of. A group of high school girls have more on their plates than homework and SATs. Like murder, blackmail, secrets, queen bees, and the mysterious "A." 

Grey's Anatomy
An ensemble cast portrays young doctors at a busy hospital. It has great actors and good writing, and it somehow feels more "real" than any of the above. I walked by the TV the other afternoon and a patient's artery exploded all over his attending medical student. Niiiiiiice.

My daughter's still working her way through Grey's. But, I may ask her to hit pause and watch something with me instead. Pretty much any season of Downton Abbey (5 years, 43 episodes, on Amazon Prime) will do.

After all, we have another snowstorm on its way this weekend.

If you've enjoyed this post, I invite you to order the book Lovin' the Alien here.  

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