Breaking Binge: a TV detox

It’s halfway through August, 2013. The weekend is coming up and I’m thinking about what I’ll be doing. The answer comes immediately: I’ll be doing the same thing I do every other weekend. And it’s the same thing all my other friends do on the weekends. We go hard.

I’m in total denial that another semester is about to start in one week. School drains me of my free time (and I live for my free time). Not only have I spent every weekend this month bingeing hour after hour after hour, but, I’m not embarrassed to say, I’ve started it up on weeknights, too. Anything to get it all in before my nose is back to the proverbial grindstone.

August 2013 was the month I watched eight seasons of Supernatural.

Yes, you read that right. I went on the equivalent of a TV bender. 31 days, 172 episodes, three devastatingly handsome men.

Never in my life have I invested so much condensed time into something. Not reading, not studying, not vacationing, not communing with God. I somehow justified laying on my couch night after night, hour upon hour, staring at a screen, and wordlessly taking in all it had to offer.

Did all that invested time make me a changed and transformed human being? Not even a little bit. I came out the other side looking for my next fix: Game of Thrones.

And I’m not alone.

It seems like everyone has Netflix these days. You can instantly stream a wide selection of shows and movies from anywhere. And then there’s streaming and downloading from places like Putlocker and Megashare. We have all of Hollywood at our fingertips, and it can be too much to resist.

I know for a fact I’m not the only one in my group of friends that has done the “series binge.” Hopping from show to show is synonymous to the pub crawl. A night out? Nah. A night in. It’s cheaper, you can wear sweatpants, and you can do it alone without being judged. Or you can make it a social thing, like how I catch up on New Girl with my best friend, and that time I attempted to lure my brother into Supernatural’s lair.

At first, I thought, “Great! Look at all my friends getting out of the bars!” But as I think about it more, I realize we’ve just traded one kind of unhealthy bingeing for another. We allow our brains to turn to mush in front of a screen. We’re basking in gluttony and sloth, and I feel like I mentally resemble Jabba the Hutt. It’s certainly not attractive when my parents ask how my weekend went, and I reply, “Game of Thrones is ruining my life! I can never love another person again!” They look at me with confusion and disappointment, expecting so much more from me than that.

So it’s time for me to lift up the rug of my life, inspect everything that has been stockpiled there in the last several months because of my mental check-out, and get back on track. Get back to living my own life, instead of a fictional character’s. And it’s time to discover the things I love to do — that don’t involve sitting on my couch.


Photo (Flickr CC) by DieselDemon.