On demand TV and especially Netflix have ignited the fuel of binge watching television shows, gone are the days of switching out DVD’s and in are the days of auto-play. But is this habit of doing too much of something in a short period of time new? Fortunately for us, no. The term binge has been applied to drinking, eating, and surely other things, but drinking and eating are arguably not forms of entertainment. Has there been another form of entertainment that has consumed us so readily? Yes, it’s something you’re doing right now, reading.
In today’s world, it seems we are expected to be paranoid hypochondriacs. Lock your doors, don’t take your eyes off your kids for a moment and be sure to use plenty of hand sanitizer; watch out for trans-fats, wait no, carbohydrates, wait no, sugar, er-, scratch that, added sugars… you see some are healthy for you. So, it should be no surprise that a Harvard study says binge watching TV could be hazardous to your health. After all you’re just sitting on the couch watching the boob tube (which uses the slang term “boob,” meaning imbecile). Sure, if all you do is eat and watch TV, you could certainly put on a few pounds, but you could always shed that back off. Reading on the other hand is much more dangerous.
Reading has been around for millennia and has been known to cause scoliosis from arching over a book for hours on end everyday and has also been known to cause blindness in true book worms. Of course, the chance of going blind from reading has decreased greatly with the dissemination of the light bulb. Of course, it is slightly harder to eat while reading, but I’ve certainly been known to multi-task with page-tuners.
Watching television can be a social situation as well, it’s not uncommon to sit down with family, friends, or a loved one to watch a program. Just look at the Netflix commercials themselves, the majority involve a group of people and this Netflix commercial features a couple where the girlfriend watches ahead… utter taboo. Reading on the other hand, is an inherently solo activity, sure you could read the story aloud, but that takes a long time and attention of the listener tends to drift. Reading does however, require more focus and concentration, whereas TV can allow you to drone, miss 10 minutes and pick it back up without missing much.
So, as the age of binge watching progresses I predict series release all at once will take the form more of a book, where each episode is a chapter and all the details are tightly woven together and related. Just remember, turn off auto-play and take a break, as Netfilx cautions: watch responsibly.