The final episode of the third season of Orange is the New Black.
What am I going to compulsively obsess over in any spare time I have? How am I going to wait a whole year to find out what happens to Piper Chapman, arguably the single most annoying “protagonist” on television? WHAT am I going to do?
I’ve watched every episode up to the last from Thursday until now, in between rehearsals and the necessities of everyday life. I even scheduled my NAPS around episodes.
As I contemplated all this before pressing play, I paused to realize that I do not act like this about anything else. Here I am, having just made an entire summer reading list. Here I am, wanting to go see the Andy Warhol exhibit at the Columbia Museum of Art. Here I am, wanting to make more time for traveling, meeting new people, and seeing old friends. Yet, here I am, watching Netflix.
The latest fad is “binge-watching.” Urban Dictionary defines it as “marathon viewing of a TV show from its DVD box set.” While the definition may be a bit outdated with its exclusion of Netflix and other streaming services, it still has one concept correct—marathoning. With TV shows so accessible, it is too easy to get drawn in, season after season.
With Netflix’s new series, they publish entire seasons all at one time, allowing viewers to choose whether or not they allocate their episodes over time or simply drown themselves in them all at once. If you’re anything like I am, you’ll choose the latter, keeping up with Litchfield Correctional Facility through 13 episodes in less than a week.
As a nation, it seems we’ve all started to fall down this technological rabbit hole.
It becomes too easy to recluse and watch endless episodes of Grey’s Anatomy and Mad Men. Our cell phones have become more hand accessories than tools to communicate. It’s easier to e-mail a coworker than to walk over to their cubicle and talk face-to-face.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not one of those people who doesn’t believe in cell phones, or social media, or television. It’s just not possible to eliminate the media from our lives. With just about any job, you have to be able to readily communicate. In this fast-paced world, social media is often the only look into our loved one’s lives. Television not only entertains, but also informs us (biased, or not) of what is happening in the world around us.
Media, whether we like it or not, has not only saturated our lives but become relevant and necessary.
So how do we, in this technological age, utilize the media without gorging ourselves on it? How do we make it more of a tool and less of a crutch?
While I may not have the answer now, I’m going to make the conscious effort to cut down on my screen time. Maybe it will be as little as putting my phone away when I’m at dinner with friends, or maybe I’ll pick up a book when I want to turn on a show. However inconsequential or pretentious it may seem, I want to make an effort to connect more with the people and the world around me than I connect to the Wi-Fi. (How could I resist such a good joke?)
In the meantime, though, I’m going to go finish this last episode...