I haven’t watched TV or loyally followed a single show in over a year. I honestly can’t say the last time I watched something on Netflix.
No, I didn’t give it up for Lent or intentionally make some vow against TV. I promise I’m not a pretentious freak – I have nothing against TV, and I’m sure I would enjoy it.
The habit probably started last spring when I lived in a 600-square-foot apartment in downtown Austin. There was no living room, no cable connection and no space for a TV. Of course I could have watched anything on my computer, but I just never thought about it.
When I first realized I didn’t know what anyone was talking about anytime they brought up The Walking Dead or House of Cards, I didn’t think anything of it. I thought maybe devoting my spare time to other things would actually be beneficial to me. You know, like those parents who come up with reasons for not letting their children have cable, or limit the hours of after school TV.
But I quickly realized my lack of TV knowledge was actually detrimental to my social skills.
I found myself in countless social situations where someone quickly tried to make conversation by referencing a TV show, and I continually had to stare at them blankly, admitting I hadn’t seen whatever latest Netflix series they were referencing. Even my parents struggled to include me in some of their conversations about the latest plot twists.
TV used to give those who were too dedicated to it a negative stigma, like a guilty pleasure. It required them to be glued to their couch on the same day, at the same time, every week.
Now that entertainment has taken on new life via DVR and streaming, it’s reversed said stigma, and now those who haven’t watched any of it are the outliers.
It’s become more than entertainment. Movies and series’ have embedded themselves into our culture in a way that would make anyone outside of the culture feel uninformed or foreign.
I’ve sat around listening to so many conversations about shows that I can recite most main characters and settings. I know that Crazy Eyes is in prison and that Walter White sells drugs, but I probably won’t laugh at your jokes referencing them.
What’s funny is how what I assumed would be good for me, turned about to be the worst party trick ever.
The bad news is: I’m too far behind to ever catch up with everyone now. The good news is: I’m graduating in May and still don’t have a job. So does anyone want to lend me their Netflix login?