Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN


June 9, 2014

TIDBITS: Instant TV gratification

CROSSVILLE — I’m having a little trouble keeping my eyes open today, and it is all Netflix’s fault.

Friday, the online TV streaming service released the second season of its celebrated series “Orange is the New Black” (OITNB) about a privileged New Yorker’s experience when she is sentenced to a year in a federal women’s prison. A hectic weekend schedule and prioritizing sunshine over sitting on my living room couch kept me from diving in right away on the show, but I could only keep away for so long.

Sunday morning, I turned on the TV, found the show in my Netflix instant queue and settled in. I was only going to watch one episode and then get outside. But after the first episode, it was looking a little dark and gloomy out there, and I decided to watch another, and another.

I took a little break, did a little work around the house, walked the dog, visited the state park, and picked up some groceries for dinner.

Then it was back to my couch to continue season two of the 13-episode series.

I was officially bingeing on the show. I made it through eight episodes before I had to tear myself away and go to sleep, or I would probably be sleeping at my desk right now instead of typing this weekly column.

Netflix doesn’t seem to mind that viewers binge on OITNB, or other Netflix original series “House of Cards” and “Arrested Development.” In fact, they seem to encourage it, releasing the whole season at one time. OITNB generated more viewers and hours viewed in the first week than those other hit original shows.

I would tell you that I save my TV bingeing for special occasions, like the new season of this original Netflix programming, but I don’t. Technology has made it possible for me to watch all those TV shows I missed their first time around and to relive some old favorites.

I watched the first eight seasons of the original “Law and Order.” The series began in 1990 and it was strange to watch those first seasons which I had missed because I was just too young to find a police procedural show interesting. It wasn’t long before you could watch some sort of “Law and Order” incarnation 24 hours a day, but those first seasons were elusive. I could never find them in syndication.

Streaming services made it possible, and I binged for several weeks, watching two or three episodes a night of the show. It was interesting to see the technology changes over the past 20-some years through the lens of that show. They had pay phones the characters would use to call the station. When is the last time you even saw a pay phone, much less someone using one!

Technology allows us to immerse ourselves in a plot and with characters, without having to wait week after week for the next installment. It feeds our desire for instant gratification and gets us caught up with the latest pop culture craze.

With shows like “How I Met Your Mother,” which have running gags throughout the series, it’s easier to remember the gags over the course of a few weeks, instead of eight years.

Of course, with all good things comes a word of warning. Bingeing on TV isn’t always good for you. If you stay up for 24 hours straight watching Jack Bauer take down some terrorists, you’re likely to suffer from red eyes, sleep deprivation, lethargy and a host of other ills that could sideline you from real life for a while.

Some folks also say that binge-watching TV destroys the writer’s intent of the series and that you’ll miss those finer plot points. TV shows often have two plot lines (at least) going on. The first is the overall season plot, and things will happen in each episode to move that plot forward. Then, each episode has its own plot, with it’s own story arc. It’s a tricky balance and when you inhale a season in a matter of days, you don’t fully appreciate the subtleties or quality of writing. In fact, you may completely zone out and not really absorb what you’re watching, anyway.

There is also evidence that delaying gratification can increase happiness, helping us to savor positive experiences. If you watch your favorite show in a weekend, you aren’t exactly savoring it.

Do I plan to stop bingeing on TV? Nope. I like finding a new show, or an old favorite, and diving in. But, I’m trying to remember moderation. Moderation is needed in all things, including moderation. So, if I occasionally binge-watch “Farscape” (how did I miss this show when it was first on TV?), it’s OK. As long as I’m not vegging out, bingeing on TV and pizza every day, I think I can find a balance that works.

And, if a TV show is good enough, I’ll probably go back and watch it again, picking up on those little nuances I may have missed in my marathon viewing session the first time around.

• • •

Heather Mullinix is assistant editor of the Crossville Chronicle. Her column is published on Tuesdays. She may be reached at

Text Only
  • Tidbits: Taking a low-tech break

    Feeling increasingly strangled by my electronic leash, with phone, text messages, email, social media and a variety of other forms of communication always at my side, I took the weekend off.

    July 28, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Governing before and after mass corruption

    Laws in America were originally written simply. Every citizen could read them quickly and understand their meaning. The founders wrote the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation, the Northwest Ordinance and the Constitution of the United States, none of which was longer than 4,500 words.

    July 28, 2014

  • We the People: The last dance

    Charlie Hayden’s last recording session with his early partner, Keith Jarrett, was in 2007.  The songs they played were mostly melancholy.  The second album coming from that session includes Weil’s “My Ship” and Porter’s “Every Time We Say Goodbye.” The dark ballad “Goodbye,” by Gordon Jenkins, was the final track.

    July 22, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Living in a pressure cooker

    The Gaza Strip, a small Palestinian territory about the size of Washington, D.C., has been in the news almost every day.  Its key location at the eastern end of the Mediterranean Sea has attracted a number of occupying powers over the years, and it has  been at the center of much Middle East history.

    July 22, 2014

  • Tidbits: The excitement of election day

    On March 12, 1996, there were 427,183 votes cast in the presidential primary election. Among those votes was mine, the first vote I cast in an election, just two days after my 18th birthday.

    July 21, 2014

  • Raising the minimum wage

    My first job from which FICA was withheld was a minimum wage job, seventy-five cents an hour. And yes, even then no one could live on that little money. However, I was a high schooler living at home where my father provided room and board. The job gave me pocket money to buy gasoline, to take my girlfriend out for movies and burgers, and to buy tickets for baseball games.

    July 21, 2014

  • Lion and the Lamb: Children on the move

    The news this past week has focused on the humanitarian crisis developing on our southern border. Thousands of unaccompanied children from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras seeking to escape from the violence, human trafficking and extreme poverty in their countries have been entering the United States.

    July 15, 2014

  • We the People: Memo to gun rights groups

    The recent incident in California helps us understand why we cannot rely on mental health services alone to solve the problem of gun violence.

    July 15, 2014

  • Tidbits: Make the best of your road trip

    I didn’t care for road trips when I was young. It was so confining to have to sit in the back seat, staring out the window for hour after hour, hayfield after hayfield. And when you’re a kid, time doesn’t pass like it does when you get a little older. Just the trip from Jamestown, TN, to Crossville, roughly 30 miles, felt like an eternity!

    July 14, 2014

  • Stumptalk: Biased climate agenda will cost trillions

    For anyone who has been educated in the history of science and scientific method, this whole issue of “Global Warming” or “Climate Change” is an embarrassing and painful exercise.

    July 14, 2014

Marketplace Marquee
Must Read
Section Teases
Seasonal Content
AP Video
Raw: Corruption Trial Begins for Former Va Gov. The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming UN Security Council Calls for Gaza Cease-fire Traditional African Dishes Teach Healthy Eating 13 Struck by Lightning on Calif. Beach Baseball Hall of Famers Inducted Israel, Hamas Trade Fire Despite Truce in Gaza Italy's Nibali Set to Win First Tour De France Raw: Shipwrecked Concordia Completes Last Voyage Raw: Sea Turtle Hatchlings Emerge From Nest Raw: Massive Dust Storm Covers Phoenix 12-hour Cease-fire in Gaza Fighting Begins Raw: Bolivian Dancers Attempt to Break Record Raw: Israel, Palestine Supporters Rally in US Raw: Air Algerie Flight 5017 Wreckage Virginia Governor Tours Tornado Aftermath Judge Faces Heat Over Offer to Help Migrant Kids Kangaroo Goes Missing in Oklahoma More M17 Bodies Return, Sanctions on Russia Grow Raw: Deadly Tornado Hits Virginia Campground
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide
Weather Radar
2014 Readers' Choice
Graduation 2014