My Journey By Michele Herenstein

I never watched TV growing up, except for motzaei Shabbat, when I loved Love Boat and Fantasy Island. Yes, I’m aging myself, but I loved those two shows. I didn’t really start watching TV regularly till after college and even at that point, I would tape shows and watch them. I never did, and still don’t, have patience to watch commercials.

It wasn’t until recently that I learned about bingeing. Not on food, but on television. Binge watching, for me, is magic. I get to watch one show, episode after episode after episode. No commercials and no breaks unless I pause or stop the show of my own accord. Some of the shows I have binged are Younger, A Place to Call Home, Mozart in the Jungle, Paradise, Little Men, and more. I get so excited finding a show to binge watch. Sometimes there is a good episode and I feel I can’t wait until the next week. All I have to do is wait till the next episode comes on in less than a minute.

I know, this shows my lack of patience. But it’s there for me, so I take advantage of it. It’s not hurting anyone, except possibly my brain.

My sister-in-law likes binge watching “because you don’t have to wait a week to see what happens next. With some shows, like Game of Thrones, I wanted to catch up. I will tell you that when you binge watch you do not absorb the same way as watching week to week. I compare it to skimming a book.” Her favorite binge watch shows are The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Atypical, Shtisel, and Game of Thrones.

My niece has binged Friends, Gilmore Girls, and The Ted Bundy Tapes. She says that she likes bingeing on Netflix because there are no commercial breaks. I’m in total agreement.
My brother does not like to binge. “I’m too disciplined. But I watch the shows that people binge because they are now interesting and more exciting than regular TV and are accessible whenever I like.” Some of the bingeable shows he likes are Shtisel, The Man in the High Castle, and Billions.

Sometimes when I find myself unable to concentrate on a good book or puzzle, I take out my iPad and go to my latest episode and continue watching. I always get sad at the end of a terrific bingeable show. I also find shows that aren’t the norm, which are some of the best. I watch on Acorn, Hulu, etc.

My friend admits to barely bingeing, except for Mrs. Maisel. “I rarely have time to binge watch unless I’m on vacation and I have accomplished everything I needed to get done while on vacation.” She reminds me about how when we grew up, we had to wait a whole week to see what happened to Laura Ingalls, Ma, and Pa on Little House on the Prairie. “Nowadays, the children growing up do not watch a series. They just binge an entire show.” We used to look forward all week for the continuation of a series. Those were the good ole days.

According to Wikipedia, “Binge-watching, also called binge-viewing or marathon-viewing, is the practice of watching television for a long time span, usually a single television show. In a survey conducted by Netflix in February 2014, 73% of people define binge-watching as ‘watching between 2–6 episodes or more of the same TV show in one sitting.’ Researchers have argued that binge-watching should be defined based on the context and the actual content of TV show.”

My cousin admits to not liking binge watching. She likes to “savor and reflect on good shows. That doesn’t mean I haven’t indulged!” Her favorite two are Friday Night Lights and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. Grace and Frankie is another one she enjoys.
Another co-writer tells of liking The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Shtisel, Srugim, When Heroes Fly, and Luther.

According to “Ranked: Best Netflix Original Movies for Early 2019” by AJ Estrada on Inquirer.net, Stranger Things, Ozark, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, The Haunting of Hill House, and Better Call Saul are the best series to watch on Netflix in early February 2019. I have not watched any of them.

There is another list I came across that I wanted to share with you. According to Sarah Nowicki on Betches.com, the best binge watching TV shows are The Crown, Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, The Handmaid’s Tale, True Detective, Game of Thrones, What We Do in the Shadows, Big Little Lies, and VEEP.

There are more shows than ever, and most people choose between Netflix and Amazon Prime or have both, and I realize that people in general like the same shows, except for me, who loved Beverly Hills 90210 and the British shows. The Paradise doesn’t seem to be chatted about, but I binge-watched it incredibly fast and really loved it.

The Paradise is about “Denise Lovett, a young girl with only her wits to live on, is made homeless by the death of her father and moves to the city to try and make a life for herself. She gets a job as a sales woman at The Paradise, England’s first department store, getting caught up in the charms of the modern world. Soon she falls in love with the store’s owner, John Moray, a widower with a dark past. This series is based on Emile Zola’s 1883 novel Au Bonheur Des Dames, relocating the story to North East England in the 1870s.” (tv.com)

There is a detailed survey on Superiorthan.com giving comprehensive information on binge-watching versus watching regular TV. Binge watching received 81% of the vote and regular TV watching received 19%. That says a lot.

Netflix, with a few exceptions, puts out shows a season at a time and not on a weekly basis, therefore making it easier to binge-watch Netflix shows.

You, my readers, know I have my opinions and thoughts on most every issue I write about. On this topic, I am leaning away from regular TV, and going with binge-watching TV shows, when I’m not doing my jigsaw puzzles, reading a book, learning Living Emunah, and so many other things.

If you can’t make a decision about your TV watching, why don’t you pick up Tehillim and say a prayer to Hashem.

TV is so unimportant in the scheme of things. You won’t learn to be a good kind, compassionate person by watching TV, binge or otherwise. But a pasuk of Tehillim can bring yourself closer to Hashem.

I’m not trying to be preachy. Everyone should do what’s good for them. But if you’re not gaga on TV, then perhaps spend all the time you would have spent on TV on things more divine.

It’s something we can do together. Find a learning partner. Read one page a day of Living Emunah. Mitzvot of any kind are beautiful.

And so when you are asked what you watch on TV and do you binge watch or not, you can look at the person in a mock confused way and say, “TV? I don’t binge TV. I don’t binge learning. I take it one day at a time.” As opposed to TV, the slower you learn, the better you might be able to take it in.

Think about it. Don’t make any harsh decisions. Discuss it with someone close to you. And make a decision that works for you and the level of religion you keep.

Good luck. Maybe we could all binge on a page of learning. Living Emunah! Everything is doable. Getting close to Hashem takes work, but again, definitely feasible.
Amazon Prime new release: Living Emunah—A Page A Day.
B’hatzlacha! 

Michele Herenstein can be reached at msh61670@gmail.com. Read more of Michele Herenstein’s articles.

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