Binge watching TV shows is considered a “guilty pleasure” by our societal standards because any activity that involves bingeing is considered inherently bad. Of course, we encourage everyone to do everything “in moderation,” but I think the problem that is unique to binge watching is that there is no set standard for what constitutes “binge watching.” So I will go ahead and define it for you so we’re all on the same page:
You have begun binge watching when you have watched more than one movie’s worth of television in one sitting.
I will admit that I did not come up with this. I have been reading up on binge stats, and found this Atlantic article that gave me some peace of mind about our “guilty” pleasure––and with 70% of Americans binge watching, according to a Deloitte survey, we are not alone! In fact, it was reported that Netflix members prefer to binge-watch a series rather than waiting for the weekly episode (obviously).
Here are three reasons why you don’t need to feel bad about that binge-session (not that you don’t already know this).
1. Binge-consuming media is nothing new
You know those friends from grade school that would go through books like tissues? I had one friend from grade school that would read a book every two days. She would spend every second of her free time with her nose buried in a book. She became so invested in books, it was often difficult to hold a conversation with her! While I personally was never a binge-reader, I argue that the desire to turn the page of a book is the same as the desire to click “next episode.” We are humans, we are complex, and we like stories, and it’s easy to become invested in another world inside our heads––or in front of our eyes, for that matter. We like to feel, and we like to imagine other worlds, lives, and experiences.
2. It’s basically a movie
When you think about four 20-minute episodes as being equivalent to one movie, four episodes doesn’t sound like so much––and you can definitely use this to defend binge watching to older generations when they judge you for spending two hours or more of the day watching television.
3. Your brain needed a binge session
Here’s what I say to those extreme marathon binge sessions worth two, or even three movies: if your brain lets you maintain interest in something for that long, there is a good chance that your brain needed a rest. Maybe you needed this time to indulge and recuperate from a trying week at school or work. It’s like what I always say when I’m craving a burger––I must be deficient in iron (beef has a high iron content), so I treat myself to Shake Shack. So if you find yourself hours into a binge-athon, you NEEDED that time to refresh, recover, and disengage from the real world and just chillax, gosh darnit.
All I’m trying to say is that as long as you literally don’t ONLY watch TV, you’re fine. Sometimes binge watching is self-care like avocado face masks or drinking wine in your pajamas with your BFF on a weeknight. Indulgence is good every once in a while.
What show is essential to your self-care routine? For me it’s Parks and Recreation. Comment below!