They say recognition of a problem is the first step in resolution. So right here in front of all of you readers and the FCC, I’m ready to admit that I am a binge TV viewer.
It’s not entirely my fault. In the old days, I waited like the other faithful fans for a full seven days to the next episode of my favorite show. Now with the advent of VOD (Video on Demand), DVRs (Digital Video Recorders), and Blu-ray sets of every episode of every show ever made…it is so easy to plop down on the couch with a bowl of popcorn, cold beverage, and a bag of Twizzlers…and watch an entire season until your eyes glaze over and your significant other has to pry the remote from your hand.
Adding to the problem is the proliferation of shows because of cable and satellite TV. No longer only 3-5 networks to choose from, there are hundreds of channels and series to grab our attention and eat up the 24 hours in a day…Lost, Dr. Who, Walking Dead, Mad Men, Justified, White Collar, Chuck, Game of Thrones, Shameless, Two Broke Girls, Homeland, I Love Lucy, and Sons of Anarchy…get the picture?
You don’t even have to be at home or near a TV to get your fix. Shows live in the cloud and can be downloaded to your i-pad, computer, or cell phone, whenever you can’t wait another moment to find out what happened to the hero from last time.
Now producers are encouraging you to binge by releasing a whole season at once, like for the return of Arrested Development they put out 15 episodes at the same time. What is a binge TV viewer to do!
A recent medical journal has identified this phenomenon as a real addiction. Symptoms include stiff neck, blurred vision, curled fingers, lack of appetite, and the tendency to go “sshh” a lot. Clinics with no TV, cable, or satellite service…stocked with only books…have sprung up all over the country. Addicts check in and are forced to go cold turkey by reading at least one book a day. Doctors say it is too early to tell if this treatment will be successful.
I’d like to write more about this, but there is a Pleasantville Marathon about to start in five minutes…
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Richard Allan Jones is the author of the comedy adventure “Drafted” and the soon to be released political thriller, “Party Favors.”