I’m sitting in a class discussing history, when all of a sudden I hear something that isn’t quite right. I know what the professor said isn’t true because I’ve heard conflicting information. Where did I hear it from? Then I remember. It was on a T.V. show. I find myself confused; the line between fact and fiction has blurred.
This is an unfortunate side-effect I experienced as a result of binge-watching FOX’s “Sleepy Hollow” on Hulu recently.
Binge-watching. We’re all guilty, aren’t we? Every weekend we settle in for hours with no intent to move, find a new T.V. show and watch until we finish the season. Whether it’s crime shows, teen dramas or comedies, streaming services have something for everyone’s taste and we are powerless to resist.
Hi, my name is Sam and I’m a binge-watching addict. Whenever I finish a show, I immediately search for a new one to fill the hole. I live vicariously through the characters’ lives and can sometimes confuse what I heard on a T.V. show with what I heard someone say in the real world.
I became aware of my problem a few weeks ago when I discovered the show “Sleepy Hollow” and proceeded to watch two and a half seasons in a week. “Sleepy Hollow” takes Revolutionary War era history and gives it a supernatural twist. For example, in the show Ben Franklin is an expert on demons and George Washington has extensive knowledge about the apocalypse.
Although I do not confuse these aspects of the show with real life, I do catch myself mistaking reasonable changes in the show for fact such as Betsy Ross using her sewing skills to cover the fact that she was a Patriot spy. These little switches can lead to very confusing history lessons when you unwittingly believe that Benedict Arnold was in fact not a traitor.
The possibility that I can take what I hear on a T.V. show as fact and believe that it is my historical reality is somewhat frightening. Binge-watching T.V. shows has such a hold over us that we watch so much in so little time and it leaks into our subconscious.
According to a recent study by The University of Texas at Austin, I am not alone. The study found that 75 percent of 316 people ages 18-29 exhibited binge-watching behavior. Streaming services have also experienced a rapid increase in subscriptions with Netflix in the lead with a 25 percent increase in subscribers.
Netflix, Hulu and the like have been around for half of my life so it is hard for me to remember a time when I was not a binger. I can vaguely recall moments when I played outside before my eyes were glued to the glowing computer screen; a time when my free time was spent doing productive things besides laying in bed watching hours of T.V.
The power of binge-watching is real. I, and many others, have experienced it first-hand. With the temptation of binge-watching looming over our heads constantly we need to ask ourselves, where is our power to resist?