My roommates and I have been watching HBO’s Girls for the past two weeks. We started watching it as a somewhat-serious-somewhat-unserious agreement, and as a way to make fun of Lena Dunham, which is a watching habit that I bet is not dissimilar to the way many males in their mid-20’s become fans of the show.
I’m invested in the show, I care about the characters, I’m gripped by some of the situations, and I’m impressed with the ways the narrative moves. We’ve been watching episodes consistently after work, dinner, the gym, and whatever other daily errands need to be finished before we’re comfortable letting go of our realities for “realistic” fiction.
We’ve been binge-watching.
Binge-watching, the 21st century version of marathoning, is a phenomenon that’s possible thanks to on-demand streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, and HBO Go and endless options of high-quality programming. My lazy research says people say its not an entirely new phenomenon, but it definitely appeals to chronically-in-need-of-instant-gratification Millennials like myself and my friends.
We’ve also been following Casey Neistat’s Vlog 2015 project. Casey Neistat is a filmmaker I’ve been following for a few years now and is a major source of inspiration creatively, productively, and lifely. He’s had an HBO show, which he cites as a huge accomplishment for “making it” yet major failure for making him creatively complicit, he’s done the Sundance thing, he’s made great commercials for Mercedes and Nike, and he’s had some YouTube videos go viral.
He started this project as a way to force himself to make movies among his hectic schedule as he starts his own company.
Here’s a good one:
And another good one:
Watching Casey’s vlog is technically not binge-watching, as there’s only one latest “episode” to watch in a day, but I often re-visit his older materials in the same span of watching the new entires, and this is like a binge spread over the course of weeks.
Binge-watching happens when we have these kinds of viewing options and a busy work schedule and we want to follow stories at our own pace, whether it’s a sprint or a marathon.