Am I escaping reality?

Antoinette Yen, Entertainment Editor

I consider myself an expert in binge-watching television shows, but I’m not sure if this is something I should be proud of. It is difficult to find someone who is eagerly awaiting the release of a new episode in this day and age. Given the option of binge watching after the show airs, and watching an episode as it airs, I would definitely choose the latter. People have developed an inner beast as a result of having access to endless amounts of episodes and seasons at our fingertips.

There’s a whole subculture out there that spends their weekends binge-watching an entire series in a single sitting.The more, the merrier. But the bottom line is that the more invested I become, the more painful the heartbreak when all of the content has been watched.

I’ve stayed awake until morning on countless occasions just to continue binge-watching my current favorite show. It’s no laughing matter to bemoan an unfavorable ending.

Grief frequently manifests itself in stages. For me, the first stage is usually rewatching my favorite scenes from the series. The next step would be acceptance, in which I accept the unfortunate reality that I will never be able to see the show for the first time again. Finally, the most difficult step is to move on and accept that it is time to try another show, despite the fact that no other show will ever compare to the last––then, the cycle begins all over again.

Despite the fact that my subconscious is aware that this is not the healthiest of habits, I can’t imagine giving it up. Regardless of my responsibilities the next day, I will choose to stay awake and watch. Though it always seems like a good idea at the time, I always come to regret it the next day when I am too tired to function. When a show appears to take over our lives, leaving us engrossed and eventually addicted, it can be extremely difficult to turn our attention away from it. The COVID-19 pandemic did nothing more than stoke an already raging fire caused by an increase in free time.

I’m perplexed by those who can only watch one episode or a portion of an episode; I simply don’t understand having such self control. Binge-watching has been shown to be an excellent stress reliever. However, some people become so engrossed in it that they are oblivious to the fact that they are using it to escape reality. A much-needed break from reality is necessary from time to time, but escaping for too long can be dangerous.