Thanks to streaming sites like Netflix and Amazon, TV shows can be viewed in bulk from the comfort of just about anywhere in the world. Some of us might have developed a love-hate relationship with binge-watching shows because of the amount of strength it can take to pull yourself away from them at the end of the night. We’ve all been there – shoulder deep in a bowl of popcorn, when we’re asked by our loved ones “are you still there?”, only to reply by shouting “YES! Don’t ask me again until I finish the entire Prison Break series!”
With recent hits such as Netflix’s Girlboss and HBO’s Big Little Lies keeping us glued to our screens, we’ve summed up the six stages of binge-watching. We bet you recognise every one!
Stage 1: Eagerness
You realise you have found a series that you haven’t watched before and therefore it can’t possibly go unseen. Why else do you have a Netflix subscription other than to binge-watch series? So you eagerly start this new series with a curious mind and a promise of restraint as you tell yourself “I won’t watch this 5 season series all in two days…”
Stage 2: Excitement
You start to wonder with astonishment how you haven’t already watched this series three times. “Wow,” you tell yourself with glee, “I’ve found a good one!” You quickly fall in love with that dark, mysterious and brooding character and text every friend you have to watch the series asap so you can all binge-watch and talk about it together.
Stage 3: Bargaining
Suddenly you’re 8 episodes into the second season and you realise it’s 2 a.m. Your bum is numb and everyone else in the house has long gone to bed. You tell yourself that you’ll just watch one more episode… And yet, as that episode finishes the ‘play next episode’ button stares at you from the corner of your screen and you realise you have only 10 seconds to pull yourself away from your laptop before the next episode starts automatically. The ‘play next episode’ button with it’s strange power taunts you and you suddenly feel obligated to watch the next episode. Never mind, you can always sleep tomorrow, nothing is quite as important as seeing what happens after that brutal cliffhanger. Nothing.
Stage 4: Isolation
You vaguely realise you’ve had no real human contact in 3 days apart from aggressively screaming at your favourite character “I love you!” but you tell yourself, “who really needs friends anyway? I’ve got Riverdale.” Then you suddenly look down and realise you have been wearing those same pyjama bottoms for 3 days straight. You cancel plans with friends, making lame excuses in order to stay home, because quite frankly, you’d rather binge watch an entire season with a whole packet of chocolate digestives than leave the comfort of your bed. How can you possibly be expected to go outside when there are new episodes to be watched?
Stage 5: Acceptance
Your bedside table looks like a kitchen sink covered with empty glasses and bowls, hygiene has gone out the window and you realise you no longer even resemble yourself, but you’re okay with it. This is who you are now. The show has become more than just an obsession and is now both your best friend and soul mate, and you’ve come to accept it and acknowledge that you’ll never find another series like it.
Stage 6: Withdrawal
As the last episode comes to an end you realise the ‘play next episode’ button that you became so familiar with isn’t there. You feel a profound sense of loss and question what you will possibly do with your life now that you have finished the series. You spend a few days in a state of emotional despair and ignorance as you mourn the fictional characters whose lives you cherished more than your own, and refuse to believe it is really over. You repeatedly ask yourself, “how will I ever find another series like this one… how will I ever be happy again?”
But after a few days, you will get a notification from Netflix of a brand new series and the cycle will start again…
Words: Maija Lily
The UK's first Career & Lifestyle Magazine for women in the Creative and Media industries.