Let’s face it–Netflix is most college students’ best friend. Whether you need a break from studying for prelims, want to procrastinate doing work, or are too cold to leave your bed, Netflix is often the first option we choose. This frequent streaming of TV shows leads many of us to “binge-watch,” or watch an entire series in a relatively short amount of time.
But binge-watching isn’t for everyone. Just like rushing a business frat or being on an e-board of a club, not everyone is cut out for the time and dedication required. While I commend people for having this skill, I haven’t been able to develop it myself–and I’ve found this is a blessing in itself.
Many shows on Netflix were created before the online streaming fad, so they were originally viewed weekly. It sounds crazy to think that people used to be forced to wait a whole week to watch the next episode of their favorite show, but they did. Viewers were brought back every week because cliffhangers at the end of each episode left them wanting more. But being able to just click “next epsiode” ruins the element of suspense.
There is the exception of recently popular Netflix series. Entire seasons of shows like Fuller House and The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt are put on Netflix all at once, for the express purpose of binge-watching. There isn’t much of a reason to spread out your watching of these light shows, plus the short seasons make it is easy to knock them out all at once.
But watching shows more slowly gives you more options to choose from. If I watched five episodes of Gilmore Girls every day, I would start to feel like I could never watch anything else–watching your favorite shows could become a chore. When you watch casually instead of binge-watching, you feel no rush to finish, so you can watch a movie here and there or another one of your Netflix favorites between the series you already started.
Viewers can also appreciate shows more by taking their time watching them. It took me longer than I’d like to admit to finish Friends, but when I finally reached the end, I realized why I moved so slowly. Series finales are always so sad. The beauty of Netflix is being able to rewatch shows over and over, but it’s not the same as experiencing them for the first time.
While I enjoy the pace at which I watch TV, those of us who aren’t binge-watchers are the minority, and face some struggles as a result. It’s hard to watch shows with friends when you don’t watch TV as often as they do. Their patience grows thin waiting to move on the next episode and before you know it, you’re too far behind to watch together anymore.
We also deal with the constant fear of spoilers. Almost nothing is worse than someone accidentally revealing who Gossip Girl is, after you spent nearly a year agonizing over it. Don’t let this happen to you–whenever you find yourself in a conversation about the show you’re watching, cover your ears and yell, “I haven’t finished yet!” so everyone knows not to spoil it for you.
In the highly stressful environment at Cornell, watching TV is a great way to relax. We can (temporarily) forget about our studies, struggles, and stress by engulfing ourselves in a funnier, more dramatic, or more complex world. Watching TV in your free time should be on your own terms. If binge-watching works for you, then I hope you haven’t run out of Netflix shows yet. And if it doesn’t, embrace your slow TV-watching pace and choose your shows wisely.