To Binge or Not to Binge?
When you start a new show that you can’t get enough of do you gear up to binge watch all of the seasons as fast as you can? Or do you prefer to treasure the show and limit the amount of episodes watched in a day in order to extend its life and savor it? I do both.
When I begin a show that really captivates me and holds my attention, I can’t help but want to watch as much of it as possible as soon as possible. Sometimes this means staying up late, canceling plans or ignoring responsibilities in order to find out what happens next. But then I hit the last season and I just freeze. The realization that the show which I have fallen in love with and can’t get enough of is close to the end, makes me pause. I am guilty of stretching out the last season of a show for weeks, months and even years.
Let me tell you about my relationship with The Office. Like many, I did not watch The Office when it was live – but instead took to it once it was on Netflix for binge-watching purposes. I hit Michael Scott, Jim Halpert and Dwight Schrute hard. Days on end I would sit, watch and enjoy episode upon episode of the show. I would text my friends about it, watch blooper reels and read as much behind-the-scenes information as I could find online. I was engrossed in it for a month. And then Michael Scott left… (spoiler alert, sorry!) in season 7, I just lost all momentum. As the characters began to wrap up their story lines and find closure, I completely dropped the show. It has been 5 years since I began my binge and I have yet to finish the last season. It is sitting in “final season” purgatory, joined by shows like Gossip Girl and LOST.
I’m not sure if it’s the disappointment of a show ending or the fact that I have to find a show to replace it in my watch regimen, that just makes me stop watching cold turkey. My good friend Maria thinks it is crazy that I do not want to know how the story ends, how characters part ways or if resolution is found. Without watching the final episodes or seasons, the characters are still open ended questions in my brain. I don’t find myself wondering how a show ended, but instead move on to find a new show to devote my evening Netflix hours too.
I’ve had plenty of show endings spoiled for me, including the ending of LOST – which I think even if I watched, I would not understand. But I’ve also seen plenty of shows that I’ve loved spiral into a disappointing and lack-luster ending. Not only the last episodes, but sometimes whole seasons that feel out of place, played out or not even recognizable as part of the show that I once was excited to watch. Some shows which just went completely off the rails for me are Dexter, How I Met Your Mother and That ‘70s Show. These shows started on such a high note, and crashed and burned at the end for me. Perhaps it is the disappointing endings like these, that make me want to leave shows when they’re still enjoyable and the same quality that I fell in love with.
A TV show that ending on a high note for me was Breaking Bad. The last season was the same high quality of the entire show, completely thought out and exciting to watch from start to finish. If more shows left me as fulfilled and satisfied as this ending, perhaps I would finish more shows. I hope writers, directors and producers take note of this masterpiece and realize that more is not always better. Sometimes you have to walk away from a show when it is at its highest, instead of milking every last drop out of it (I’m looking at you The Walking Dead). Just because people are still watching doesn’t mean you need to keep making the show.
With all of this said, maybe I will go finish The Office this weekend in order to find out if I will find the closure and fulfillment that many people speak about when referring to the ending. I doubt I will, but I will remain with high hopes in order to replicate the feeling I had at the end of Breaking Bad. Okay… who am I kidding? It has been years. In order to finish the final season, I need to start from the beginning. Season 1, Episode 1 here I come!