• Stephanie Hinds

My problem with Netflix


Whoever invented Netflix is a genius.

I would suppose that’s why a ton of other programs, like Shomi and CraveTV that provide bulks of movies and television series to be watched from the comfort of our home, computer-or TV-are now booming. Right in time for winter, too.

Not so genius, however, are the people that get sucked in to the $7.99 warp of over-consumption of what these programs offer. But at such low costs, it’s hard not to. Less than $10 for unlimited access to entertainment? Sign me up.

And I did sign myself up.

When Netflix first came out, I avoided subscription as if it were the plague. I thought, why on earth would I pay to sit and watch marathons of television shows when I barely use my television?

Why would I sacrifice precious hours of my day that I could be outside, you know, doing actual stuff, as opposed to being inside watching people do stuff for me?

But on second hand, that didn’t sound like such a bad idea.

And that, precisely, is my problem with Netflix.

Netflix has preyed on the weakness of many North American and western world inhabitants-boredom.

Boredom is what makes social media the big deal that it is. It sells itself to us as being “social” and “progressive” when all it’s done is allow everyone to have a say and then argue over who’s opinion is the most correct. They call it social but true, authentic communication doesn’t happen through a screen.

Boredom is what makes people fat. It’s what makes us believe that eating is productive, and junk food is a real activity, a past-time of sorts.

Boredom is what makes people shop. It reminds us of all the things that we could use in our house like a potato peeler and maybe another mirror for the hallway and ou! Another jewelry organizer!

Boredom is what makes kids play unhealthy amounts of video games, so bored of playing them that they don’t even recognize that their boredom is now dressed as a habit.

Yet, the convenience of it is marketed to us in such a way that we come to believe that it truly is the greatest thing to happen. What’s better than a night in with Netflix and snacks? What’s cheaper than that?

When I first converted, I authorized my credit card for the monthly payment thinking of all the money I would save by staying in and binge watching television shows that I had missed out on because I never had any interest in them. But now, suddenly, with the opportunity to watch all six seasons of Gossip Girl, I cared about the rather pathetic series that only grew to be more pathetic and addictive, followed by all four seasons of Pretty Little Liars.

I learned something about myself, and probably many other Netflix subscribers while locking myself in my room under my blankets day in and day out:

It isn’t about enjoying the show, it’s about finishing it.

It’s as if each finished episode was another race I ran, each season was the marathon, and the completion of each show was a trophy I would put on my imaginary shelf of what I did, or didn’t do, rather, with my Christmas break.

The reality set in when I had looked at my crumpled up “Holiday Bucket List” a few nights before school started.

Go ice skating.

Visit the Christmas Market,

Watch a Christmas movie.

Drink hot chocolate. With marshmallows.

Write.

Perhaps it was the fact that throughout my entire break, I hadn’t written a thing that made me the most disappointed in myself (and in the creator of Netflix). Here I am wanting to be some big famous writer and journalist, but I was cooped up in a mess of blankets wishing Blair Waldorf and Chuck Bass would just be together already.

“Ariana Huffington didn’t make it laying down watching Netflix,” my trusty inside-the-head-voice mocked.

And for the umpteenth time, it was right.

We live in a world where kids don’t ride their bikes outside as much as they used to. You don’t see children playing double-dutch . And do they even sell chalk in stores anymore, you know, for hop scotch?

There are just so many distractions that don’t require us to even think that we’ve succumbed to a very passive way of living, if we can even call it that anymore. Sadly, we have to remind ourselves not to give in to the distractions that keep us from engaging with life.

We have to remind ourselves there is life outside of other people’s lives, one especially worth living, no matter how cold or expensive. There are memories to be made.

I promise you that in five years, you will not be sharing the story of that time that you laid in bed and watched Netflix and nothing epic happened.

So don’t give up your subscription just yet; watch an episode here and there. But let’s not forget about how beautiful life is, not the scripted in some studio with a shitty cast that didn’t do the book justice. But the life that we’ve created for ourselves, and continue to create every time we do something; insignificant or remarkable.

Perhaps my problem is just that I have very little self-control when it comes to these things. That’s why my life so far has been so memorable. Because I act on impulse, and sometimes it’s the best damn thing ever. Other times it’s the worst. But it’s always a lesson, and it’s always a memory.

There are probably a lot of amazing series out there. Maybe I’m biased because I filled my head with the two most insulting shows. But I guarantee you that there is no show better than the one about your life. Where the cast is your friends and family. The setting is wherever you go. It’s actually unpredictable. And the best part?

You’re the star.


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