Thursday, October 31, 2013

Netflix is making me emotionally unstable.

Netflix has made me healthier.  Well, Netflix and the tablet whereby I can view Netflix, has made me healthier.  I take my collapsible treadmill out of the closet in our study, pop on a TV show, hit the START button and go.  Minimum 30 minutes a day of guaranteed walking and that's on top of my walking back and forth to work.  My cardio capacity is fan-freaking-tastic.

My emotional stability, however, has been completely fucked by Netflix.  Way back when, before the advent of DVD sets, you used to be able to ramp up to an obsession.  Over the course of years you would become addicted and could develop a healthy relationship with a TV show.  The first clue for me should have been when David and I mainlined the first season of Kiefer Sutherland's 24 in a period of 48 hours when it showed up at Blockbuster video.  Blockbuster has since died, but Netflix's on-demand streaming of television series is sending me 'round the bend.

Watching television on Netflix is akin to starting a tumultuous love affair.  Scratch that.  Love affair is too tame.  Full-On Bacchanalian Orgy would be more accurate.  Netflix is following Alice down the Rabbit Hole. I watched the entire 3rd season of The United States of Tara by Wednesday of this week.

All this, after I get home from work.  Eight of those episodes were watched on Wednesday alone.  Why??  Because I could.  They were right there, Netflix lets you know that the next episode will load automatically in 15 seconds, you don't even have to touch the remote to get your next hit!  15 seconds!?!   I can't wait for those 15 seconds.  I had to know what was happening to Tara right now!!  I had to know what Dr. Hattarus was doing to help her.  I had to know if Marshall would be okay, if Kate would make it as a flight attendant, if Charmaine would gain some fucking perspective, if Max could take any more.

All that concentrated time has convinced me that I have an emotional connection to them.  I care so much.  And not in that patient wanting-to-see-what-happens-to-Daphne-and-Niles way.  With Netflix you don't allow yourself the time to process information over the course of a week.  Watching a series on Netflix is meeting, falling in love, and being cruelly dumped within a weekend.  If you choose to watch shows with the truly fucked up characters, your hold on reality becomes tenuous.  The realization that a particular show only had three seasons, or two seasons without some sort of satisfying conclusion, like say BBC's The Hour - can send you searching for consolation chocolate and a cocktail.  Escapism on this grand a scale has never been so attainable and potentially damaging.  Unless you're doing crack.

David watched the last two episodes of USOT with me last night after having previously viewed only the ender of Season 2.  He was horrified.  But for him it was a perspective shift.  "Whenever I think that you're crazy - I will remember this moment.  You are not that crazy."    That alone, makes today's emotional fallout worth bearing.

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