First thought: you would think that the participial tense of “binge” would be “binging” but that’s its own word—I think—so I think I’ll stick with “bingeing,” even though that looks as wrong as me in spray-on denim—unflattering on all the wrong places and very misleading.
Bingeing is an entirely 21st century phenomenon, and it’s amazing. If you live under a rock—why?—bingeing is watching a television series from beginning to end—or whatever is on Netflix—in a short, tense, showerless amount of time. Christmas break is the perfect time to really settle in for a good binge.
But what are the criteria for an excellent television binge? Let’s discuss each criterion (this sentence wasn’t really necessary, but I just wanted to write out “criterion.” Such a fun word! All right, on with the blog!)
A good binge should be a show with a continuous plotline throughout the series. Give me a The Office or a The Vampire Diaries over a It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia or The Simpsons. I think that non-plot-driven shows, your run of the mill picaresque production, are not binge-worthy for one very simple reason. No plot means no character development, and no character development means that you can’t become fully invested. No one wonders about what Homer Simpson will do next. He’ll keep being Homer Simpson. But watching Elena Gilbert turn from boring good-girl to amoral vampire is interesting; it’s compelling.
So Criterion Numero Uno: Plot-driven.
I think a good binge should be either completely fun-filled—your Parks and Recreation—or very intense and dramatic—your Broadchurch or How To Get Away With Murder. Anything in between—a The Good Wife or Vikings—are good for week-to-week entertainment, but I need to be titillated and enthralled if I’m going to move out of my cocoon to press “yes” on the “Still Watching?” button in Netflix. Netflix, side note—assume I’m always still watching.
So Criterion Numero Dos: Titillating television.
Ideally, an excellent binge is something that has finished its series run. Nothing is more unfortunate than finishing all the seasons on Netflix and having to wait for a few months to then watch week-by-week. Bingeing shows are so hard to switch to a weekly watch. It’s like getting your teeth pulled. You’re used to the sweet, addictive softness of anesthesia; now you’re using a local anesthetic that hasn’t quite kicked in yet.
Criterion Numbah Three: Your show must be finito; finished; donezo.
And lastly, your binge should be something you’re going into with fresh eyes. Yeah, someone might have told you that it’s a good show, but go in with no preconceived notions. I started bingeing Game of Thrones because someone told me there was a ton of titties and man-butts, but it actually has a very enthralling plotline. Who knew? Part of the fun of an amazing binge is the “Oh my god, what’s going to happen next?” That feeling, that “I’m clutching my blanket in anticipation” feeling? Yeah that goes away when you Wikipedia the plotline to season four. So don’t do that. Give yourself that treat.
Criterion Nummy-Nums Quartet: Now you see me, now you don’t—aka don’t Google it, idiot.
So there you have it. We have discussed, dissected, and debated bingeing. Just kidding—we didn’t do any of that. You just read this blog. It was good though, right?
Another fun binge: reading through all of Holidannys™ (Maybe? Idk?) and then bingeing all of my blogs ever. There’s almost one hundred of them, so it should take you about twenty minutes. Total.