8 votes

Is binge watching bad for us?

9 comments

  1. [4]
    Rocket_Man
    Link
    As the other posters here have pointed out, there is a kernel of truth in the video. The more spread out your exposure to a show is the more likely you are to remember it. This is true for just...

    As the other posters here have pointed out, there is a kernel of truth in the video. The more spread out your exposure to a show is the more likely you are to remember it. This is true for just about everything in our lives and is why spaced repetition is the most effective way to remember things. Unfortunately, I think that author of this video misses the key fact that this is a choice people are making themselves. He never stops to consider that people are choosing to binge watch shows. It has to be an "addiction" and a result of Netflix's evil algorithms.

    Also his ideas of people not digesting episodes is odd to say the least. If anything he seems to mainly be annoyed that people are choosing to digest seasons instead. For example you can find posts for each episode of Bojack Horseman on reddit averaging more than 10,000 comments each. Clearly episodes are being seen and digested for their "intellectual nourishment" whatever that means.

    That being said, he does point out that weekly releases and full releases are different and both have pluses and minuses in terms of how the community interacts with them. But linking things like Tuca & Bertie being cancelled because they weren't bingeable enough is dumb. It's not unheard of for critics to love something that is panned by general audiences. Applying this to his other example of 13 Reasons Why continuing to be renewed I would argue that again, the tastes of general audiences might not be what critics expect.

    7 votes
    1. [2]
      vivaria
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      I think whether or not it's a choice is beside the author's point, maybe? While technically you could choose not to binge, the author seemed to be suggesting that batch release schedules create...

      Unfortunately, I think that author of this video misses the key fact that this is a choice people are making themselves. He never stops to consider that people are choosing to binge watch shows. It has to be an "addiction" and a result of Netflix's evil algorithms.

      I think whether or not it's a choice is beside the author's point, maybe? While technically you could choose not to binge, the author seemed to be suggesting that batch release schedules create incentive structures that punish or hinder other choices. (Or at the very least, make them less appealing.) They outlined an alternate reality in anime communities: environments where people are more free to choose without as many negative incentives for doing so.

      I see parallels to the question of.... should we hold fast food and candy manufacturers (at least partially) responsible for prioritizing profits ahead of the health of consumers? Technically we choose to indulge in unhealthy food, too. But many of us also live in systems constructed to encourage us to make harmful decisions. (e.g. designing supermarket layouts to maximize impulse purchases, using misleading marketing/advertising tactics, fostering societal norms that incentivize poor choices, creating barriers to healthier options). Does choice excuse behaviors like these, too?

      I think, like those companies, Netflix engages in practices which are legal but probably a bit unethical. Nudging people to give into their own impulses, y'know? Dark patterns in UI design is a related concept that can make the "Netflix preferred" choice the easier choice while roadblocking less favorable alternatives, too. I think objecting to those sorts of approaches is reasonable, and not deserving of scare quotes.

      EDIT: Just as a positive side note, I really like what you've added about critics' and audiences' differing opinions and priorities. It reminds me of recent conversations around Booksmart's box office failure, too.

      7 votes
      1. Rocket_Man
        Link Parent
        The argument of how choices compare to incentives structure seems classic. You've pointed out a good example of them being harmful as supermarkets could encourage people to be healthier....

        The argument of how choices compare to incentives structure seems classic. You've pointed out a good example of them being harmful as supermarkets could encourage people to be healthier. Unfortunately, I don't have a good answer for if choice matters.

        1 vote
    2. babypuncher
      (edited )
      Link Parent
      While calling it an addiction is a bit hyperbolic, I do think the author is on to something. Yes, as viewers, we are making the decision to binge watch. However, I think our own psychology, and...

      While calling it an addiction is a bit hyperbolic, I do think the author is on to something. Yes, as viewers, we are making the decision to binge watch. However, I think our own psychology, and the design of serialized shows, is working against us here. It's a case of instant versus delayed gratification. When I get to the cliffhanger at the end of an episode, my biggest concern isn't how well I will remember what I just watched a month from now, it's whether or not Jesse Pinkman is going to get out of his current predicament alive.

      4 votes
  2. Algernon_Asimov
    Link
    I've always preferred watching episodes of my favourite shows in small doses. If I'm going to sit down for an evening's viewing, I'll watch one episode each of three different shows, rather than...

    I've always preferred watching episodes of my favourite shows in small doses. If I'm going to sit down for an evening's viewing, I'll watch one episode each of three different shows, rather than three episodes of one show.

    I always assumed I do this because I grew up in a time before streaming, and even before television shows were widely available on home video formats. For example, when 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' was first released, I watched it one episode per week, because that's how it was broadcast on free-to-air television. Later, when it was available to buy in a home video format, it was on VHS tapes which included only two episodes each (these are the tapes which filled my shelves back then). There was no such thing as a full-season box set in those days! So I just got accustomed to watching one episode of a show at a time.

    Even when I started buying DVD & Blu-ray box sets of whole seasons of my favourite shows, I still only watched one or two episodes at a time. And now, when I can binge-watch whole shows online... I still don't. In fact, I get a little overwhelmed if I watch too many episodes of a single show in a row. I like seeing one or two episodes of one show at a time.

    Like the speaker in this YouTube video, I find I absorb the show better if I watch it in small bite-sized pieces rather than gorge myself on large chunks. What he says about how we absorb contently differently while binge-watching rings true. If I watch one episode, I can pay attention to the small events in that episode. If I watch thirteen episodes in a row, those small events in each episode get drowned out by the larger events across the season. I might get to the destination quicker, but I miss more of the sights along the way.

    In short, I enjoy television series more when I spread them out than when I binge-watch them.

    3 votes
  3. [3]
    Davada
    Link
    I've learned as I get older that I remember less about a show if I watch it all at once vs an episode or two a day.

    I've learned as I get older that I remember less about a show if I watch it all at once vs an episode or two a day.

    1 vote
    1. [2]
      Adys
      Link Parent
      Not the case for me, I do better on binge. I learned that when I rewatched Breaking Bad: I remembered 90% of the plot up until mid-S4, which is where the series had stopped when I was watching it....

      Not the case for me, I do better on binge. I learned that when I rewatched Breaking Bad: I remembered 90% of the plot up until mid-S4, which is where the series had stopped when I was watching it. The remainder of the series I watched as it came out, and I remembered maybe 30% of it.

      1 vote
      1. bhrgunatha
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        I'm like @Davada, I remember more and I'm also more engaged with the characters and plot. I forget far more if I have to keep watching over 2 or 3 months or more. I like the choice of watching...

        I'm like @Davada, I remember more and I'm also more engaged with the characters and plot. I forget far more if I have to keep watching over 2 or 3 months or more.
        I like the choice of watching more of something that's compelling without being forced to wait another week. I've never watched a whole season or series in one sitting. My preferences is 2-3 episodes per day and those days might be spread out over a week or two.

  4. Thunder-ten-tronckh
    Link
    I prefer to have a single season drawn out over time with weekly releases, but I have to admit that binging a show that's already been fully released is fantastic. I watched Breaking Bad well...

    I prefer to have a single season drawn out over time with weekly releases, but I have to admit that binging a show that's already been fully released is fantastic. I watched Breaking Bad well after it was done airing and I have very fond memories of staying up late into the night glued to my laptop screen. There was so much tension, I honestly don't know how y'all did it week to week.

    1 vote