I cannot count the number of times I’ve gotten a TV show recommendation and I’ve said, “I’ll put it on my list,” only for the show to remain there till what feels like the end of time. I know it drives people insane, especially when it’s something you’re able to bond over. However, I happen to be the only person who has a complete and total understanding of the way my brain works, and I know it’s important I take these opportunities to indulge in a very sparse manner. Let’s explore why, shall we?
I grew up an avid reader. Harry Potter, the Chronicles of Narnia, Twilight, the Hunger Games, 36 of the 40 books on the Battle of the Books list, half the Rebecca Caudill list every year, I always had my nose in a book. In 9th grade, I stayed up all night after Halloween finishing a Meg Cabot novel, Avalon High, and ended up missing the next day of school due to exhaustion. Senior year, I sat on my couch for 8 hours and read The Hot Zone from cover to cover one Saturday. Junior year of college, I took my brother to orientation and sat in the back of the auditorium reading the Percy Jackson series for the first time. It’s really hard for me to stop once I get started, and when I do have to stop, there’s this inexplicable feeling of impatience that overshadows everything. I’m cancelling plans, leaving early, or spend my entire time away from the book thinking about getting back to reading the book.
Okay, but what does that have to do with TV shows?
Reading takes time because one, it’s reading, and two, the imagination and comprehension all depend on our individual minds and creativity, which takes considerable energy and effort. TV shows include all of that without the viewer having to lift so much as a finger. A book might have, what, 500 pages, while a show has 6 seasons with 20+ episodes in each one, and suddenly I’m drowning in a binge.
This isn’t to say it happens with every show I watch. For example, I have tried so hard to get into Ozark and Succession, but these shows don’t spark that impatience and hyper-interest, and thus are being watched at a pace so sluggish it’s as if I’m not watching them at all. I’m also actively working on pacing myself with Gilmore Girls, but because of this, I’ve been able to watch other shows in between and that is evading the purpose of me trying to go slow.
So for fun, and a greater understanding for everyone getting pissed at me for not watching their recommendations, let’s take a journey with the ghost of TV Binge Past:
13 years old, I had my dad’s first generation iPhone as a hand-me-down, and I was babysitting my soon-to-be neighbors when I sat on the couch and came across The Vampire Diaries, a show I greatly recognized from all the advertising in the mall. The show was already in the middle of its second season, but that summer I spent every night trying to find youtube clips so I could catch up. Come eighth grade, I’m watching the show live when I remembered my family had Netflix, and I was able to actually see the first two seasons for all they had to offer. But eventually, I was all caught up and well paced to every Thursday at 8/7 central. All was well.
Summer after 10th grade, I kept getting the recommendation to watch One Tree Hill. Being a cheerleader and a tutor, and with the last name James, friends constantly told me I somewhat resembled one of the main characters, Haley. I had just finished working as a nanny for the summer when I settled into the recliner in our living room, and DID NOT MOVE for two weeks straight as I plowed through 9 seasons. I would watch from 10 AM to 3 AM daily. In the family room too, so it’s weird no one ever said anything. I pretended I was on vacation to get out of cheer practice, I never hung out with my friends, I genuinely do not recall eating anything other than wheat thins for the entire binge. Absolutely frightening.
SOPHOMORE YEAR OF COLLEGE
Knowing about how I was during the One Tree Hill binge, I decided to avoid non-running TV shows for the most part during my freshman year of college. Sophomore year, I had this brilliant idea where I would watch TV only at the gym. So every morning or evening, I would make my way over to the Rec center with my iPad and plug in for 30 to 45 minutes at a time. All was well until one episode of Supergirl left on a cliff hanger, and suddenly I was up all night finishing the season.
Unfortunately, I learned nothing when I made the exact same attempt with Arrow. I’ve never finish either show, but at that point in time, I was hooked.
JUNIOR YEAR OF COLLEGE
Junior year was generally relaxed, except for a continuation of the summer where I casually watched Riverdale. I only made it through three seasons, though.
I feel like something really important to address in this timeline is that I was obsessed with the Marvel Cinematic Universe so that also really did encompass most of my film and TV watching time.
And then Game of Thrones happened. If you haven’t heard the story, the short version is that at dinner in Barcelona over sangria, two of my guy friends convinced me to watch GoT in time for the final season. Naturally, I procrastinated two weeks after getting home to start the show, and wound up having exactly 13 days to get through 7 seasons of a show with over an hour-long episodes. I was living and breathing GoT 24/7. I literally got ready to go out while watching the show. I pulled various all-nighters trying to get it done. And in the end, I finished the last episode of season seven with one hour and 8 minutes to spare, just enough time to run to Target for wine, snacks, and a pair of shorts that say Westeros on the butt. I will say, it was a much needed distraction from the impending doom I felt about Avengers: Endgame.
SENIOR YEAR OF COLLEGE
Senior year, I again took it slow with the shows. I really only watched Gossip Girl. It took me all of first semester to get through season 1, but as soon as the pandemic hit, I was pumping the episodes OUT. Finished it rather quickly from there, but that’s fine because what was there to do at the beginning of the pandemic anyway.
Summer 2020 I invested my time in New Girl. Again, I was up until 2 or 3 AM every night on the couch in the basement (where I had been BANISHED to), absolutely cranking out the seasons.
That summer I also watched The Hunters on Amazon Prime. All I have to say about that is I was supposed to tell my neighbor when I was starting it so we could watch it together and instead he found out two days later when I posted a scene from the finale on my Snapchat Story (oops, sorry).
Living at home during my first year of law school, I thought I would have watched more television, but I guess not. Honestly looking back, I really haven’t seen a lot of shows. But here, I did a lot more binge watching with my family and friends. I watch Marvelous Mrs. Maisel with my friend Ellie, my mother, and my grandmother. I watched WandaVision in a single day with my brother. And then I returned to seclusion to absolutely binged The OC right after 1L finals, which was the greatest, most fabulous show yet. Still obsessed honestly.
2L YEAR TO NOW
I really hadn’t gotten into anything this year, and trust me, I’ve tried. I have particular taste in shows that I want to watch. I couldn’t even get into Defending Jacob with Chris Evans because it’s really just not my cup of tea. You know what is my cup of tea? Season 1 of Bridgerton!! A little too raunchy, sure, but WOW! The story line is like a fan fiction, I loved it! I’m off to go buy the book!
I should also mention that these shows fundamentally change my personality. TVD? Went to the Chicago Convention with the cast members. OTH? I applied to Duke for college. Gossip Girl? Named my car Dorota and then applied to NYU for law school. New Girl? Committed to Los Angeles for law school! The OC definitely had impact but I’m not entirely sure how it panned out in who I am. Bridgerton? Almost called my mom up to agree to attend Finishing School, and then I have since changed my entire sense of style. It’s exhausting, really.
Don’t ask me to watch anything. But if you do have recommendations, leave them in the comments!