Confessions of a Binge Watcher

Confessions of a Binge Watcher


According to a recent survey conducted for Netflix, 61 percent of TV streamers regularly engage in binge watching.  The definition of binge watching is viewing between two to six episodes of a show in one sitting.  It appears to be consistent across age demographics.  Is this a new cultural phenomenon?

I have never been a joiner of clubs but I believe I am a card carrying member of this one.  It all started a year ago when I was recovering from a terrible bout of Shingles. I was truly immobile and had great difficulty sleeping so lying on the couch at all hours became my place.  My husband brought us into the here and now with a subscription to Netflix and I was off to the races.

The first and most obvious joy of watching a series through Netflix or other streaming channel is there are no commercials.  With the advent of the DVR we learned to watch “taped” shows so we could fast forward through the never ending commecials for the pharmaceutical of the month. According to MarketingCharts, an average hour long TV show is 36% commercials.  It feels like more to me but I will go with the experts.  For me, there is nothing more distracting to a storyline than commercials, the ultimate disruption.

I love listening to stories and hearing the whole story so I can drink it in and let it envelop me.  It’s like reading a really good book where you can transport yourself into the story and you can’t put the book down until you are finished.  Ever have that experience? Binge reading, binge watching, kind of the same to me.

Back to Netflix and their season at a time approach.  I love it.  Netflix has given me full control over how I will watch the series of my choice. I can watch two or three episodes in one sitting or spread them out as long as I want.  From wonderful British series to the many shows produced here in the US, there is a tremendous amount of choice in programming.

I had never watched the televised series of Breaking Bad or Homeland until this year. I knew they were touted as some of the best on TV but when I had a more demanding work schedule I just didn’t get around to it.  I watched Breaking Bad over a couple months recently and can’t imagine watching it any differently. And I caught up on Homeland to bring me up to this season.  Both incredibly well done series. Admittedly, they left me breathless at times due to the intensity of the storyline but they definitely transported me.

There are people in the television industry that feel binge watching is a bad thing, arguing that TV loses its power if we don’t watch it at a moderate pace.  There is discussion that sensory overload from watching too many episodes in a short time may confuse the ending or leave the viewer with a sense of loss and sadness that the show has ended so abrubptly.

I don’t know about you but I have none of the above concerns and I think binge watching or marathon watching is an option that fits nicely with some people.  It’s a personal choice.  Just like reading a book.  Some people devour them in one sitting and others take months or a year to finish.  Luckily for all of us we have expanded choices.

I did binge Grace and Frankie this weekend, thus the reason all this was on my mind.  It’s a short series of 30 minute episodes and easy to binge in between cooking, grandkids and weekend stuff.  It didn’t disappoint and I feel fine this morning.  No sadness over the end of the show, no confusion from over stimulation.  Thanks Netflix!

Wishing you all a great week ahead and maybe even a little binge watching.

Love, Melissa







International Women’s Day

International Women’s Day

On March 8th the world celebrated women, commemorating the movement for women’s rights.  The United Nations celebrates women with a theme.  This year the UN theme is “Women in the Changing World of Work: Planet 50-50 by 2030.” A message from UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres stated that women’s rights today are being “reduced, restricted and reversed.”  As the economic gender gap continues to widen, Guterres calls for change by “empowering women at all levels, enabling their voices to be heard and giving them control over their own lives and over the future of our world.”  The sixty-first meeting of the Commission on the Status of Women began today and will run through March 24th at the United Nations.

Outside of the UN, the theme heard for this year’s International Women’s Day is “Be Bold for Change.”

I am sure you read about or maybe even participated in “A Day Without A Woman” last week.  Many of the women who participated were part of the Women’s March on January 21st, the day after President Trump’s inauguration.

Not just here in the U.S. but throughout the world women took to the streets to stand in unison on International Women’s Day.  They all have one thing in common and that is a sense of urgency surrounding women’s issues and rights.  Each country surely has its unique set of circumstances but there is commonality among all the women when it comes to equity and the human rights of women.

The day is also designed to encourage reflection on the progress women have made throughout the years .  It is important to have knowledge about the history of the women’s movement.  If you have a clear understanding of the history of women’s struggles for equality then you can better understand the uncertainty and fear that many women have today.

I have actually heard women say that a protest for equality is ridiculous. I heard that exact remark while sitting in a restaurant recently.  Two women were sitting at the next table next to me. They were about my age. They looked fairly well to do.  I made the assumption they were educated.  So what was it that was making them react negatively to the recent organized protests?  I did not lean over, introduce myself and ask. Instead I remained in my seat with my salad and I am not totally ashamed to say I continued to listen to them.

The dominant one did most of the talking and in a voice that made it easy for me and other patrons to hear.  The thrust of her conversation was around abortion and the need to abolish it. I think her friend may have disagreed a little but was overshadowed and only made a few protest noises while trying to change the subject.   The subject eventually changed to equal pay and the less dominate woman became more animated and offered her opinion as to why women should not necessarily get paid the same as men for the same job.  Her reasoning did not make sense to me but I tried to see it from her perspective and just appreciate our difference of opinions.

There is so much more to it than just the discussions surrounding abortion rights or equal pay.  I sometimes think people tend to compartmentalize one issue that resonates with them without fully vetting the wholeness of the situation.  Maybe it is human nature to do it that way, I don’t know.  That said, to all the women of the world, my wish for you is that you live in peace and be valued every day for all that you offer.

“I am not free while any woman is unfree, even when her shackles are very different from my own.”- Audre Lorde


Off the bookshelf:

The Women’s Liberation Movement in America, by Kathleen Berkeley

Half the Sky, by Nicholas Kristof

When She Woke, by Hillary Jordan

We Should All be Feminists, by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie

A Call to Action, by Jimmy Carter

A Thousand Sisters: My Journey into the Worst Place on Earth to be a Woman, by Lisa Shannon


Peace and Love,