POP CULTURE :: I am a professional binger. What makes me a professional? It’s simple. I set aside time to watch a cycle of a TV series just like I do for yoga, pole dancing class, and day drinking on a patio.
Notice I wrote cycle and not season? This is because seasons no longer or will no longer exist thanks to Next Top Model who started the “cycle” series of shows within our binge culture. We don’t just watch TV in the fall and winter anymore; we watch it all year round which is why seasons are now cycles. It’s the networks’ way to keep us locked and loaded into their series.
I haven’t had cable since 2006 and I love my streaming entertainment life!
Binger Prerequisite: You must know what you want to watch and plan and schedule your time so you can watch for a weekend, a week, or however long it takes to binge a series.
Binging older shows such as Law and Order, NCIS, CSI, Friends, or Seinfeld will take more than a weekend – let’s face it, there are only so many crime scenes, Joey’s “Whoa!”s, and Kramer’s “slide ins” you can take in one sitting. These older shows may require you to schedule the binging into a month due to the length of the shows’ lifecycle. Newer shows such as Breaking Bad, Empire, Thirteen Reasons Why, Black Mirror, Santa Clarita’s Diet, Orange Is the New Black, The Walking Dead, or Transparent, can all be binged in a weekend if you set your timing right.
When I was a pee-wee binger, I would stay up until 4 a.m. watching and knowing I’d be dead in the morning and barely able to function at work. If you’re like me, going to work with next to no sleep is just like being hung-over on the job. I have a wonky work schedule which sometimes has me working at 8 a.m. and other times starting at 4:30 p.m. Nonetheless, I feel the pain of binge fatigue whether I work the next day or not.
What? You want to dedicate your time to binge on a series? Remember – I said you have to plan. That’s right; the importance of planning is conducive to having a copasetic work week. Plan your time, how many episodes you want to watch, and stick to it even if you finish with a cliffhanger. I know it’s hard, but with binging practice you can achieve binger professionalism.
Let me clear the air before you get all judgy. Being a professional binger means you do not forget to shower, walk the dog, go to work, exercise, or go out with friends… okay, maybe not go out with friends cuz our TV stories can be far more exciting than our own lives, hence the binge.
The Healthy Binge Survival Kit
1. Choose your show(s) wisely. There is nothing worse than settling in to watch something, only to find out 20 minutes later you’re not interested. Ugggg! Search out your shows via IMBD or better yet Rotten Tomatoes, and then decide. A 6.5 is a good score on IMBD but a bad score on Rotten Tomatoes. Aim for a 7 and up.
2. Comfort. Ensure you have all your comforts – pillows, blankets, snacks and beverages… yes, I mean this in the plural form because binging requires more than one of anything! Taking a break to go grab a snack is intrusive to the vibe you’re rolling in.
3. Timer. Use your Smartphone or an old-fashioned baking timer to alert you to take a break: get up and stretch, walk the dog, do a few downward dogs, locust poses, and Mariachi’s pose to stretch out the spine. Believe me, your body will thank you. Stick to this and you will appreciate your binge session from a healthier perspective.
4. Visual/Sound Adjustment. Adjust your TV, laptop, or tablet so it’s angled just right; adjust your lighting to ensure proper visibility and make sure your surround sound is hitting you from all sides. You want to make sure you hear an oncoming helicopter from elsewhere in the room rather than right in front of you on basic speakers.
5. Pause. Remember that there is a pause button. Use it when your bladder feels full to signal you to use the washroom. Once the pause button is initiated, the show will not continue playing until the pause button is reinitiated.
6 Snacks. Prep your snacks in advance so you’re not eating junk food. Eating veggies and hummus is just as satisfying as eating chips because of the crunch. And it’s healthier than downing a full bag of Ruffles. Trust me, I know. Look at the ingredients list on a bag of Ruffles and you will surely not binge-watch with a bag of them again! (Maybe Miss Vickie’s, but not Ruffles or No Name brand.) However, you are excused if you are watching Love Actually while consuming a pint of Ben & Jerry’s of any flavour.
7. Hydration. Always have a litre of water available. This will keep you hydrated throughout your binge. No matter what you’re drinking, always drink one glass of water for every sugary or alcoholic beverage you consume. A word of caution on the alcohol: the show is better without it because you can remember the show, but funnier if you are drinking. Your choice.
8. Comfort. Wear comfortable clothes. You’re probably binging on your own, so no need to worry about fashion. Wear whatever you want – or nothing at all – but above all, be comfortable. Feeling cozy works best for me while binging.
9. Keep Attention. During a binge, there will be one or two episodes that suck. These are called “filler episodes”. Watch them anyway because there will be better episodes coming up. And there could be a vital scene in these episodes that will help piece the story together near the end.
10. Tool Kit. Facial tissues, dental floss, stain remover, breath mints, hand cleaner, snack clip, coasters, and a decision coin.
Binging is something many talk about but rarely admit to because they want to appear as if they have an amazing, active, and exciting lifestyle, like the happy look at me I’m living large! images they post on Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat.
Let’s face it: binging is real, everyone does it. And it’s fantastically awesome, exciting, and entertainingly fulfilling.
My Top 10 Binge Worthy-Views (in no particular order and not already mentioned):
- Jane the Virgin
- Bates Motel
- Better Call Saul
- The Sopranos
- Sex and the City
- 30 Rock
- Parks and Recreation
- Six Feet Under
Hello, my name is Raquel Richards and I am a proud professional binger.