InkPOP: Netflix is a helluva drug

InkPOP: Netflix is a helluva drug

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By Jess Brannen, Web Editor

“One more. Just one more.”

I’ve pleaded and justified, searched and schemed. My drug of choice is insidious.

It all started at the beginning of the summer semester. I’d heard of Netflix before and had even watched a movie or two at friend’s houses. Then, it seemed all of a sudden I heard the name everywhere: Coworkers gabbing about the new releases, friends arranging viewing parties. I wanted to be in on the hype, so I signed up for the free month. Wholly unaware of what the package included, I anxiously scrolled through the lists of movies and TV shows now available to me, ogling the selection and racking my brain for titles previously mentioned by my friends. I selected “Reservoir Dogs” and curled up to enjoy my newfound source of entertainment.

By the end of the week, I found myself thinking about Netflix. At a given moment, I was brainstorming titles to search, and itching to get home to check them out. The more I watched, the more I rated and eventually Netflix had my preferences down pat: I liked stand-up comedians, but hated slapstick comedies; enjoyed films about strong female protagonists and was picky about romantic comedies; loved horror films; couldn’t stand action movies. Netflix was my dealer and he was doling out some pretty good stuff.

I was riding a high that could only come from the assurance that I could watch an entire season of a show en masse. No waiting, no impatience. It was official. I was a binge-watcher, and a dedicated one at that.

Eight seasons of Dexter, four seasons of Arrested Development, nine seasons of The Office – I blew through them with the stamina of a junkie in their prime. Appointments were rescheduled and coffee dates were postponed. I craved the satisfaction of finishing an entire show in a matter of days or weeks.

The buzz was insatiable.

I justified my “immersive-viewing” habits as a way of maintaining the dramatic integrity of each show I watched. I was finally able to trace motifs, themes, and symbolism across multiple seasons of a show. I now had ample fodder for conversations about popular television. I could keep up with complex plots and revolving characters like never before. I was on top of the world! Until I wasn’t.

One day in late June, I completed the final episode of Orange is the New Black, Season 2. As I scrolled through the queue, I realized I had watched all there was. My palms began to sweat. I quickly moved the cursor upward towards “My List”. My eyes flitted over the titles and I felt desperate. I had watched all of the shows, movies and documentaries I had once deemed interesting! I was out of product, burned out!

I quietly clicked off my monitor and sat back with a look of wonderment. As I walked across the room with a trance-like gait, I spotted an unfinished novel on my dresser. I picked it up and surveyed the cover before reluctantly slumping down in my armchair to read, all the while bracing myself for the imminent shakes.