The Art of Binge Watching

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Ah, summer. A glorious season where school is a distant memory from a past life, tanning is a religious obligation and sleeping until noon is applauded. While the beginning of summer is what most would equate to heaven, as the end draws near, many become restless. Familiar surroundings become painfully mundane and people begin to wonder, “What more is there to this life?” Well, there are two options to cure this chronic boredom: the first is to take up a productive hobby such as reading or yoga; the second is by far the more superior choice — binge. Binge what? Binge watch.

Binge watching is the act of gluing oneself to an electronic device and watching an entire season — or series — of an already released or long-running TV show. Yes, binge watching is by far the most socially predominant concept today. If you aren’t binging, you aren’t living. Due to the rise of internet streaming media outlets like Hulu Plus, HBO Go, ShowTime Anytime and the world’s sweetheart, Netflix, the notion of binge watching has amplified.

The key to a successful binge is choosing a show worthy of ultimate seclusion and insomnia. For example, politics and calculated drama enthusiasts will adore House of Cards. Academy Award-winner Kevin Spacey plays the ruthless Congressman Frank Underwood, who deviously plans his ascent into power after being shafted for the position of secretary of state. Underwood is the only character who looks and talks directly to the camera, allowing viewers access to Underwood’s true mind and soul. It is seriously thrilling to follow his cunning journey up the political ladder, taking no prisoners.

If political dramas aren’t your thing, fear not; there is an abundance of options suitable for all. While most choose to binge on ‘in’ shows like House of Cards or Orange Is The New Black, under-the-radar shows are just as good, if not better. One show that deserves more recognition is called Shameless. It airs on Showtime and can be watched in full online on Showtime Anytime. The show follows the epically dysfunctional family of Frank Gallagher, a single alcoholic father of six. Although the initial premise may seem heavy, the show is crazy, hilarious and shocking with its insane storylines. For example, without giving away any major spoilers, there is an episode about Frank’s Aunt Ginger. He has secretly been collecting her social security checks for years, even though Aunt Ginger is long gone. To make matters worse, their home on the South Side of Chicago is in her name. One day, the IRS shows up to pay Aunt Ginger a visit, and in a panic, the Gallaghers “borrow” an old woman with dementia from a nursing home and try to pass her for Aunt Ginger. Check out Shameless to find out if his plan worked.

For a major throwback, there are plenty of timeless shows to binge on. Warning: extreme nostalgia may occur. Hulu Plus has the entire Sabrina the Teenage Witch series online, Salem and all. Netflix also has Saved By the Bell, a cheesy favorite, as well as the beloved Friends. Did Rachel get off the plane? Will she and Ross ever be together? Watch to find out!

Online demand streaming is easily accessible and relinquishes ultimate control, which is why audiences can’t get enough. Due to the exposure traditional television provides to businesses and current events, this interactive video medium may not replace conventional television any time soon, but with so many genuinely outstanding shows and movies available, binge watching is definitely changing the way people watch television.


Tanya Sheikh is a junior studying advertising and public relations. She loves to read, write and travel. She dies for all things fashion, culture, art, politics and Michael Fassbender. Mindy Kaling is her spirit animal. Go green!


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