Over the years I’ve let some pretty stellar entertainment pass me by, like: Breaking Bad, Weeds, Lost, Shameless, Game of Thrones, Homeland, Mad Men … due to this crazy thing called life. You know life, right? The whole raising a family, having a job, trying to maintain a certain age, weight, and level of sanity (though your body fights you on it) thing? Yeah, that.
I’ve heard how enthralling and addictive these shows are but life got in the way. Well, that’s over. I’ve pretty much given up my life lately to binge watch some of these shows, so that I can have more stimulating conversations with people five years ago.
That said, I’ve found a strange effect from binge watching shows, aside from the one that makes me appear comatose and unresponsive. I start to feel like a character in these shows. Like they’re actually affecting my personality. For instance …
1) While I watched 8,000 episodes of Breaking Bad in, like, a week, I was pretty certain my moral compass was askew. I had a shiny new “fuck the world” attitude that led me to do crazy things like leave less than a 20 percent tip for the waiter who was kind of a dick, or make an illegal U-turn rather than go the two miles out of the way, or do lines in a bathroom stall during a PTA meeting. (Fine, maybe not the last one, but my attitude said, I might be crazy enough to do it. Yep, I was unpredictably dangerous.)
In my cool confident state, I felt that I’d been passed over by life and undervalued. I knew I had more to offer and it was time to take what’s mine. Yes, I would make my mark and do something big, like start an international drug ring/fast food joint, or write an irreverent book that would become a beacon of truth for my generation… or learn how to knit.
Sadly, I wasn’t able to make any headway on the drugs or best seller or the scarf, as I spent most of my creative time zoned out to Netflix on my iPad. Though one night, I watched without my headphones, even though my husband was trying to fall asleep. Oh, you heard me, no headphones — full volume. Some might say I made my mark.
2) Watching Homeland made me an agoraphobic hermit, which was easy, as I was home watching the episodes anyway. It also made me paranoid that my house was under surveillance and that everyone was a terrorist until proven otherwise. Just last week, there was a car in an intersection that went through a busy walking mall. People were crowding around it, because apparently the driver had gotten out and not returned. As those naive pedestrians ogled, I grabbed my kids hands and screamed while we ran at top speed until we rounded a corner and were protected by a building from the bomb that was most likely ticking away inside. (This actually happened, not the bomb part, but the running fearfully from what was most likely a flat tire.) What? At the time I couldn’t think of any other reason someone leave their car unattended?
3) While watching Orange Is the New Black, I spent real man hours contemplating how I would be in jail: A. Could pull off that prison jumpsuit? B. Could I be a lesbian? And if so, C. What kind of criminal would be my bitch?
The answer to A: Probably … with the right accessories (though it screams for a belt and I’m pretty sure, they’re contraband.
The answer to B: I don’t know, would I have a choice of who I got to be with because I think I could — if she were hot — and it would stop fanatics and crazies from trying to get with me behind the church pews.
The answer to C: Well, let’s see,
1. She’d need to be feared by other inmates, so as to keep me from getting raped by them.
2. Though intimidating to others, she could not be in the slammer for something scary, like murder or, worse … attempted murder. (What, I could never be attracted to someone with no follow through.)
3. She would have to have a family on the outside, so there would be no chance of her wanting our relationship to continue in the real world.
4. I would systematically rule out meth heads, because I really don’t like bad teeth.
4) Now, for my newest binge, Mad Men. There are 64 episodes on Netflix. That’s like 60 hours of TV. SIX-TY. Yet I’m not even a little intimidated. In fact, after 20 short hours of viewing the show, I’m sure my husband is cheating on me, and if he’s not, I fear he’s not as handsome or desirable as I assumed him to be. (Honey, if you’re reading this and you aren’t philandering, please start … you’re embarrassing me.)
I’m also wondering why I’m not getting hit on more myself. Why aren’t more men watching me walk out of rooms, or mistaking my snarkiness for flirtation? Why? And why don’t I drink more? It looks so natural, so easy going down. And I want to start smoking because, well, it looks fun and everyone is doing it, and also, I don’t think any of my new friends gets lightheaded after a single puff (which is the way I remember it).
Yes, starting tomorrow, I will stop going to Starbucks to write my silly listicles while drinking a carafe of half-caff lattes (I’m so pathetic, I don’t even go full caffeine!) and I will do what any respectable writer did in the 1960s — find a musty bar in a questionable area, drink things that are priced by how long they’ve aged, and light my next cigarette with my last as I pluck away at the next Atlas Shrugged.
Wish me luck!
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What should my next binge TV addiction be? I’m thinking Gossip Girl next or maybe Game of Thrones, Downton Abbey?