More times than I would like to admit I have been sucked into a blackhole of serial television that leaves you a shell of yourself at the end.
It’s surprising to me how quickly it happens.
It always starts off innocently.
You hear good things about a certain show. Or maybe you’re endlessly scrolling in the menu and something catches your eye.
At first, you tell each other that your just going to keep things casual. You know? Like, you just got out of a serious relationship with another show and you’re not looking for a long term commitment.
You start off with all the best intentions. Like with anything else.
I’ll just start with one show, I tell myself. Nothing bad will happen. I mean it’s just one episode. I don’t have a problem or anything. Plenty of people just watch one episode.
Then, I hit that play button. That’s my first mistake. I should just turn off the television and do something productive. Like maybe get a different hobby. Or just a hobby period.
But then I look outside and looks like Hoth out there and there’s really nothing better on a cold day then kicking back and watching something. I mean who wants to spend their whole day shoveling? Or I could possibly spend the day catching up on work but that’s even worse than shoveling.
So, I let it play.
Just one episode.
Just one episode and I’ll quit.
Just one episode and I’ll start doing something productive.
But, ten minutes into the new show and I know I’m in trouble. I mean I’m not proud I’ll watch pretty much anything and it doesn’t take much to get me sucked in.
One cool action scene.
One witty character.
Or god forbid a sword fight.
And it’s all over. I have a no control.
I’ll watch it to the end.
Just one episode. I’ll say it again.
But, Netflix knows what it’s doing. Before you can even stop that little bar is turning white and within seconds the next episode is popping up.
It’s all over now.
I’m hooked. The new show takes priority. I’m in full binge mode.
Time no longer exists. Food is an illusion. I serve a new god now.
Episode after episode.
I only stop because my dog has brought her food bowl and put it directly in my lap to remind me there is another living thing for whom I am responsible.
But, a quick break to take of her and I’m back.
Sleep is unnecessary. Days go by.
It’s just the screen and I.
I keep asking myself, how did I get here? I just wanted a one night thing. Maybe a movie. But no, Netflix knew what it was doing. With it’s beckoning stories and come hither effects.
It knew I was weak.
It knew I was vulnerable.
And I was powerless to stop.
I just kept watching, and watching.
The next episode button no longer comes up and you get an ad for another show.
Wait? What? I’m done? It’s over. No warning? You’re just going to break it off like that?
That’s not fair.
Maybe I missed something. Surely there’s another season. But no. It’s done. It’s over. This is especially true this year. The pandemic has forced several shows to delay filming for upwards of a year. It was bad during pre-pandemic times but now it’s a barren wasteland of entertainment.
I’ve even been forced to watch…regular television. You know it’s bad when you’re sitting there watching old episodes of the price is right.
That’s a state I like to call Netflix Depression.
It’s that state after the euphoria from binging a new show. You feel empty.
I just want more of the show I was watching. Netflix will try to force other shows on you but it never works. I’m like I don’t want that. I just want what I had. It was great. I didn’t have to think just hit play and life was so simple.
You tell yourself that it’s not that bad.
You’ll get over it.
It wasn’t that serious.
You knew what you were getting into. It was never going to last long.
And that’s when the scrolling begins.
Oh you thought the bingeing was bad?
The infinite scrolling is even worse.
I have spent days just scrolling through every show it has.
Just hours of.
Then the withdrawal sets in. You feel funny. It’s been hours since your last episode.
Then you start getting desperate. You turn off Netflix. And then it’s just an endless cycle of checking out other service. First Hulu, but nothing. Then you check HBO. Nada.
Disney Plus? More like Disney minus.
You even get desperate and check out an original show from Youtube and that’s when you realize that you might have a problem.
Finally, I just turn the television off and go outside.
I realize it’s warm now and I spent the entire winter scrolling for shows.
I check my phone and it’s just message after message of people wondering if I’m okay because no one has seen me in three months.
And then Summer comes and you spend less time indoors and you think you’ve kicked you habit until Fall comes around and you start watching network shows. And football.
But it’s just a couple times a week. Nothing serious.
Then winter comes. Those old feelings boil up inside you.
I have the remote in my hand.
I hit the Netflix button. Just to see what’s on. I start scrolling just to see what’s on.
Oh wait is that Henry Cavill fighting monsters?
Never mind what I just said. I’m off to toss coins at Witchers.
Is…is that the Karate Kid? Time for a little wax on, wax off, amiright?
Hey is that Jason Bateman laundering money? Sign me up.
Oh wow is she playing chess? That looks interesting.
Checkmate Netflix. They always win.