Binge-Watching TV – Avoid the Fad

Dollar Flipper Musings 17 Comments

So, apparently everyone and their mother (including my mother) loves to binge-watch TV shows. Kevin Spacey thinks that binge-watching is the future of television. But I have something I need to get off of my chest.

I binge-watched before it was cool

hipster-barista-doesnt-have-television-ebay

I don’t look like Dexter, and I have a TV. I couldn’t help it though since I love this hipster meme!

Back in my college days, Netflix was still in its infancy and didn’t even have a streaming service yet. At this point in my time, I was a “broke” college student(going to 7-11 for overpriced, over-processed meals, and I hadn’t found YNAB yet). Myself and some equally “broke” dorm-mates split a Netflix account 5 ways. That’s $7.99 / 5 = $1.60 per month.

We had a plan to watch the IMDB Top 250 movies and would try to all get together to watch the DVDs that we had received. This worked for the first 10 or so movies, but then schedules started to get in the way.

The hard part was that Netflix only let you have 3 movies out at a time. We tried to optimize how many movies we were watching by watching any movie that we received that day. We wanted to get our money’s worth, damn it!

It was fun at first. Lot’s of neat movies, even some old classics like Citizen Kane (I may have fallen asleep during it). Then we started forcing the movies a bit, and it began to feel like a job.

“A new movie came in? Ugh, I have to enjoy this art that millions of people have said is one of the best movies of all time? If I have to…”

On top of this, I wanted to do other things instead of watching movies all the time. There were video games, parties, working out, and umm.. what else? Oh yeah, getting a college degree!

We were basically prioritizing our lives around consumption of the next thing in line.  Leisure activities were becoming the center of our daily lives – talk about unnecessary stress!

I don’t binge-watch anymore

My current Netflix “want to watch list” is too huge for me to finish, even if I sat and really worked at it for a month. It’s strange, but this actually isn’t causing me stress (and is less stressful than pushing so hard to get my “money’s worth” like I did in college). I think the thing that’s helped me is that I’ve begun to understand that there’s so much to do, so much to watch, read, listen to (I’m looking at you podcasts), that there’s no way to do it all. Hell, there’s even so much to buy to re-sell on eBay that I’ve become a lot pickier.

Life is short.

As I’ve come to figure some of these feelings out, I also noticed that I tend to have an addictive attitude. I like to take fun things and turn them into jobs (and I don’t think I’m alone in this). eBay is my way of actually getting something out of this tendency!

Remember, eBay my real life RPG,and I’m taking the same outlook with this blog. I’m not wasting my time just consuming anymore. I’m writing and re-locating lost-cause items to people who really want them (probably a little bit of rationalization here).

The Netflix/college experiences and my wife and I’s desire to have a meaningful everyday life has led us to institute a few rules in our house.

1 hour of TV a day (small exceptions for movies or weekends)

We struggle with this one. Do we want to watch something cultivated (gourmet healthy meal) or do we want to let loose and watch something that’s not as “intelligent” (eat cake)? Currently, it’s Orange is the New Black, which is great but also on the “cake” side.

The time span allotted is generally shorter for my daughter. We also make a point to participate with her instead of zoning out on our phones while she’s watching TV. We don’t want the TV to be the babysitter, and we don’t just want mind-numbing television running 24/7 in the background.  So, when we tune in (for us or for her), we are doing so consciously for something we are deciding to watch.

Low Tech Thursday Nights

This is a night where we don’t watch TV, or go on the computer, or use our cell phones. We do allow Kindle Paperwhites once we’re in bed (very soft light, not like a tablet or cell phone, it does not impact my sleep at all, and my wife and I often fall asleep while reading).

When my daughter says “I wanna watch something.” we say “Nope, it’s Thursday. Let’s go play outside or pretend or color” etc. We’ll also plan a cooking night where she can help mix ingredients.

So what’s the point of all this? I guess it’s all about cultivating your life experience.

I wake up at 5AM every work day and fall asleep about 10. I’m home by 5 on a good day. That gives me 5 hours at home in the evening. And only 1-2 hours of free time once my daughter is asleep in bed.  So, I want whatever I do during that time to be something enjoyable, but I don’t want it leaving me feeling sick to my stomach.

The few boundaries we’ve placed on our technology usage has been our way of prioritizing living in the present with each other and avoiding the feeling you get after spending an entire weekend doing absolutely nothing but binge-watching movies or TV shows (you know what I’m talking about).

What techniques do you use keep your tastes grounded? Do you binge-watch? Do you feel guilty afterwards?

Comments 17

  1. My TV watching is pretty limited because I don’t have a lot of free time. We usually turn something on at night – like around 8 or 10. That’s about it.

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      Author

      That’s awesome. We do not just sit around with the TV on. I can’t stand it when that happens. No thanks, I don’t need to have CNN or HLN on all day!

      We don’t even have cable so I guess that helps us out too!

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      Author

      Thanks! It was a little less “eBay”, but I’m trying to branch out a bit. Glad you liked it. 🙂

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  2. I don’t watch much TV. Typically my when I do watch my TV is on ESPN or the Travel channel.

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      That looks like an opportunity to me. We ditched cable almost 5 years ago now. I thought I would miss ESPN but mobile is so much more prevalent you wouldn’t miss a thing now!

  3. Guilty! I binge watched TV in July. June was really busy and I wanted to do nothing for a while. My Amazon Prime finally put up the entire last season of the Good Wife (for free) and I watched all 22 episodes in a few days. Then I started watching a show called Fringe and hubby joined in on that binge. (A Fringe binge! lol) We watched quite a few episodes together, Then we started saving them for one per night. There are 5 seasons and we just started season 3. We even watched it on the ipad during our road trip to NY. Made the time go by really fast. I started my full time job yesterday so no more binges unless it’s a rainy weekend.

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      LOL, well, at least you knew it was only for a short time. I’ve heard really good things about Fringe. There’s just not enough time in the day to watch everything that I’d like to though. We don’t have Amazon Prime either. I’ve thought about making a switch but am happy with Netflix right now.

  4. I really hate watching tv. Growing up, I didn’t find a problem with it. But after growing up, I realized most television watching is just escapism from our own lives. It’s like saying, “My life is lame. Whatever is one TV is far more entertaining than anything I actually do myself.” I’ve found I’m happier, the less TV I watch.

    I know these are strong opinions but I feel strongly about this topic. I watch movies sometimes but never alone.

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      Hm, I think there’s a balance here. For me, I don’t watch mindless news. I will watch television shows that are good though, something that’s a little more on the “art” side? It’s hard for me to describe, but I want something that the creators put effort into, so then I can enjoy it when I watch it. I agree though, creation is more satisfying than consumption, even if it’s harder to do.

  5. TV? What’s a TV? I watch almost 0 tv. Once it a while my oldest son will put on a nature show or something like that, which will peak my interest. Hubby sometimes puts on Bob Villa or something like that. If I watch anything, it’s usually regarding Ebay, History or Gardning. I rarely watch anything mindless. But I do sometimes miss it, but then I tell myself that I’d rather watch something from which I can learn. When I do watch, it’s usually a move..I do enjoy movies!

    1. I forgot to mention. I heard this a long long time ago, but it has always stuck with me. “Live your life, instead of watching (on TV) others live theirs.”

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