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Binge-Watching Turns Couch Potatoes into Couch Zombies

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The zombie apocalypse is upon us. 

No need to worry, though. They don’t have any interest in taking over the world or eating our brains for breakfast. Instead, they’re glued to the couch, binge-watching Breaking Bad, Boardwalk Empire, Game of Thrones or any of the other Emmy-winning series that, these days, are the equivalent of pay-channel crack—or, in keeping with the zombie angle, fresh meat.

When the couch zombies are done with Walter White, Nucky Thompson and Jon Snow, it’s on to Dexter and, inevitably, a four-season Walking Dead marathon (if they can talk their wives into it). At least DVDs forced us to get up to change the disc every few episodes. Now, the only thing compelling us to rise is a full bladder—or our dog’s. 

Around this time last year, Netflix released the entire second season of its successful series, House of Cards. Starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright, the at once sleazy and cheeky D.C.-based political drama is excellent binge-bait in its own right. Indeed, my husband and I are powerless in its clutches. Staring right into the camera, Spacey seduces and hypnotizes with his Southern-accented asides. Wright is colder than Queen Elsa, wielding her lethal clout in an impeccably tailored gray-and-black wardrobe.

Not that binge-watching can’t bring a couple closer together—so long as it doesn’t distract from the task at hand. And there are rules, all of which should be taken as seriously as a prenup:

1. Watch only a series at a time.

2. No moving ahead without your partner.

3. The home is a spoiler-free zone. 

As for the negatives, crucial ingredients like character development and story arc feel rushed. And you’re also missing out on Web forums, Twitter and other real-time interactive pleasures. 

But most of us binge-watch for a reason: There simply isn’t enough time to enjoy a series any other way. So it’s important to note that, unlike their undead counterparts, couch zombies are very much alive. In fact, binge-watching may be one of the few opportunities they have to sit still for 30 minutes or more. And if they do manage to stage an uprising, the only way to defeat them is to expose them to the one thing they’re not equipped to handle: a cliff-hanger, followed by a summer hiatus. 

Katie Bambi-Kohler faked the flu so she could get caught up on Scandal before the third season began. Visit her at www.katiekohler.com or email kkohler1129@gmail.com.

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