Art of the Binge: 13 Tips to Seeing the Best TV (And Still Functioning Like a Human)
Everyone loves a good binge session; at this point, it’s an art. The rapid growth of on-demand entertainment has made binge-watching easier than ever; people can just wake up (sometimes after a misguided night of debauchery) and focus on the gargantuan task of ingesting multiple TV episodes or movies in one sitting. Unlimited access to an engaging story feels empowering and a good binge session can be very therapeutic. However, with great power comes great responsibility. The following tips will allow you to enjoy your favorite programs without succumbing to the stigma of “TV rots the brain.”
Cover Photo: sam thomas (Getty Images)
Why are you about to sit down and consume a bunch of content at an alarming rate? Maybe you had a rough week at work, you’re hungover and your cat ran away; or, perhaps you're just one of those people who like a TV on at all times—the framed narrative approach. Regardless, know that your world will still be there when that last episode fades to black. Now that we have gotten this disclaimer portion out of the way, remember to enjoy yourself—this pending pixel fest is about you.
Pick your poison wisely.
Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, Amazon Video, YouTube TV, Sling…there are even some illegal options out there (KODI, anyone?). It’s important to set yourself up with whatever streaming service offers the type of entertainment you desire, but you don’t need all of them. Budget your money and for the love of all things cliffhanger, don’t waste your dough on cable. Sorry, cable providers, it was fun, but all things must end.
Do your research.
People may preach the whole "form your own opinion" philosophy and that certainly holds weight; however, no one has enough time to watch everything. Find critics and like-minded peeps, read reviews, and discuss. Approaching entertainment from a well-informed point of view will dial down the disappointment and wasted hours.
Pay your electric bill.
Just a friendly reminder; no one wants to be the victim of a powerless environment.
No one needs to see it.
Depending upon the day and circumstances, if it's a hardcore binge you're looking for, shut the blinds. Darken the room, put on some sweatpants (no pants will do), grab that Snuggie someone gifted you a few Christmases ago, take a deep breath and relax. If you’re feeling adventurous, turn off your phone. The ways in which you decide to watch are your business.
The cornerstone of any good watch is...
Food. One of the best things about living in the 21st century is the plethora of delivery services at our disposable: DoorDash, Grubhub, EatStreet, Postmates, the list goes on. Set yourself up, but beware of the food coma.
It's important to move.
Remind yourself to move. If this means juggling the remote in an arduous manner, so be it. There was once a man who did core workouts during commercial breaks; not long after he was introduced to streaming, he gained 30 pounds (not a true story but perfectly plausible).
As previously stated, some of these tips apply to the more traditional "full-day binge" and others do not. The pros live their lives in a state of a perpetual binge; one eye on the television, the other eye on everything else. If you have yet to master the cross-eyed method, never spend more than eight hours bingeing over the course of a 48-hour period. Feel free to interpret that in much the same way one would the expiration date on a carton of milk.
Try to still be productive.
Turn that couch potato stereotype on its head. Pause. Read? Maybe put the subtitles on. Pause. Laundry. Pause. Homework. Pause. Clean something.
Don’t let anyone shame you.
Not even the powers that be.
Don’t give up.
It's midnight and you have to get up early for work. Your head hurts and your vision has begun to blur, but you're on the verge of a satisfying conclusion; the culmination of various motives and emotions. Letters will be read by "deceased" characters, love will be professed by protagonists that previously lacked the courage to do so, and the world will be saved. You're nearly there and, ultimately, accomplishing nothing never felt so good.
Once it's over, you may feel like you miss a bunch of people you’ve never met. You may wander around looking for them everywhere and in everything, but nothing will fill that void. At some point you’re going to realize that what you miss isn’t the show that just ended; what you really miss is just a part of yourself, a tiny fraction rooted in uninhibited truth. That fraction is often felt and filled when you stumble upon a good binge. Now get over it and go do something fucking great. The most important story is your own.
But always flex your knowledge.
You'll walk away from a binge with a lot of seemingly useless information, but one day you may find yourself at a bar awaiting the start of Harry Potter trivia and the first prize is a $25 tab and bragging rights. The first question is: Why was Hagrid expelled from Hogwarts? You got this. That is, until some moron running the competition adamantly believes the correct and only answer is "a student was killed" when "opening the Chamber of Secrets" was also one of the choices. *Exhale.* Cue verbal abuse.