Has anyone ever experienced this? When family or friends recommend shows on Netflix, it takes time for you to actually get into it. The higher the hype, the higher the likelihood for you to not watch it. A couple of friends have tried to get me into Money Heist for years and I’m still hesitating on clicking ‘Play’.
In contrast, said family and friends are quick to jump into recommendations they get. I thought about why and it’s a word I never thought I’d link with Netflix: commitment. Deciding to start a series would mean asking myself these questions:
- Do I have things I need to do today?
- Do I have work tomorrow?
- Do I have Panadol and Salonpas on hand?
Essentially, do I have 24 hours of free time?
Every time I click ‘Play’ on Netflix, it’s a guaranteed…loss? Not the best word but bear with me. It’s a guaranteed loss of the next 8 to 16 hours. There is literally no stopping me from binge-watching, unless it’s mealtime or a trip to the loo. It is 8 to 16 hours of time that could be well-spent on something or someone else. And once the last episode has run its course, I would google and wiki the cast and whether or not there are sequels, fan theories and character analyses. Thereafter, it’s the feeling you get when you’ve just finished a really good book. ‘Well, what now?’
For a book, that feeling hollows you out for a good minute and then you would feel a sense of accomplishment, ‘Ah yes, I finished reading a book!’
Well, that feel-good feeling is replaced with guilt when it comes to Netflix-binges. And literal headaches and neck pains as if your body just did a really bad yoga pose for hours on end. Your eyes feel heavy and dry and not surprisingly, you’re sleepy. But you’ve been lounging for half a day (or more). You don’t need sleep. You need to get productive. The guilt cycle repeats.
Recently, I was on an online course for improving my writing and the instructor mentioned that film, dramas, podcasts and documentaries, are all forms of multimedia writing. ‘So now I would like you to think about how you consume writing, and think about what interests you the most.’
I kid you not, it felt like enlightenment.
‘Oh my god,’ I breathed.
Those hours were never a waste of time.
Why then, do we view books and drama in such different light?
Why are books, which take days to consume, considered a good thing as compared to TV serials and film?
If it’s addiction, wouldn’t closing your browser be akin to closing your book? Both takes discipline to snap yourself out of it.
If it’s exposure to screen time, yea it’s bad for our eyes. But so is reading too long. Please take breaks in between, for the sake of our vision. It’s a bad habit I need to work on too. Of course, when it comes to kids, books are definitely better since studies have shown a correlation between screen time use and a child’s mental and physical development. (Heck, it’s even listed on a government web page.)
However, as adults, I think that we can take away a lot from consuming both books and ‘watchables’. While the former allows you to improve your language and imagination, the latter allows you to analyse acting and cinematics. Both would give you the chance to study character development and psychology, and well, the art of the written word.
So perhaps the next time you’re on a Netflix binge, don’t beat yourself up too much. You may not know it, but you’re actually learning something from it.
And since we’re on the topic of Netflix, Demon Slayer is pretty darn good. Give it a go if you have 26 x 20 minutes to spare. *smiles real brightly*