To binge or not to binge?

Gabbi De Boer discusses the phenomenon of binge watching

Gabbi De Boer
7th December 2020
Credit: Wikimedia Commons, Palloverma00
If binge-watching was a sport, I’d like to think I’d be a strong contender for the world champion. I’ve been doing it for so long my heart sinks a little when I have to wait a week for new episodes.
The Adventures of Tin Tin, Credit: IMDb

Although binge-watching is considered some kind of modern phenomena, TV box sets on DVD are where it all began. I had the whole series of The Adventures of TinTin that I’d get through in 2 days every school holiday from about the age of 11. I’d spend hours unmoving on the sofa with some crisps and juice, happily whiling away my time. However, this was before the world of coursework, deadlines and assignments. So has anything changed since?

Absolutely not.

I’ve swapped the sofa for my bed full of cushions, and now my go-to snacks are a tub of Ben and Jerry’s and some Doritos. I’ve lost sleep ‘accidentally’ watching shows, no longer waiting until the holidays and only having time to myself after 10 pm. Somehow, watching new series with the stress of having to do work lingering over my head clearly makes me feel like I’m living life on the edge. Black Mirror, Peaky Blinders and Gossip Girl are all on my list of late-night binges, especially if they're less than 10 episodes in a season. It's almost peaceful, just me, the tv show, and no interruptions.

Outer Banks, Credit: IMDb

This year, lockdown has had a massive influence on my Netflix consumption. Figures from Ofcom suggests screen time during lockdown took up 40% of people in the UK’s day, coming as no surprise considering the circumstances. For me, it was one show after the next. My favourite was Outer Banks thanks to its fun and adventurous tone with a hint of drama to keep you hooked. Safe to say the feeling of escapism was definitely needed at the time.

Binging together is a cheap, easy, and fun way to stay in contact with friends over lockdown

It has been suggested that people binge so that they can avoid FOMO (fear of missing out) and be able to connect more with peers, and for myself and my friends, this couldn’t be any truer. Before lockdown many nights were spent with my friends, binging on The Vampire Diaries and Skins, and we do the same now through facetime and Netflix Party. It really brings us all together as a nice and relaxing activity that costs us little time, money or effort to pull off.

The flexibility of watching back-to-back episodes is what I think appeals to me most about it. Not only is it a kind of self-care, but it's something that gets better with company. So I’d say grab some snacks and make yourself comfortable – your next TV binge is waiting…

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