NET­FLIX STREAM­ING IS THE NEW AD­DIC­TION, AND THERE’S HELP

StarMetro Edmonton - - BIG OPINIONS - Emma Tei­tel

It doesn’t mat­ter how old you are, sooner or later ev­ery­one is made to “feel old” by some­one or some­thing — be it the knowl­edge that teenagers are con­sum­ing Tide Pods, or the knowl­edge that Tide Pods ex­ist. For me, this old feel­ing has noth­ing to do with the evo­lu­tion of laun­dry de­ter­gent (from a liq­uid to a tablet to an ap­pe­tizer), but with the evo­lu­tion of tele­vi­sion.

It’s Net­flix that makes me feel old be­cause it’s Net­flix, and TV stream­ing in gen­eral, that makes me re­al­ize I am among the last gen­er­a­tion of TV view­ers who will be able to say to my chil­dren and grand­chil­dren: “when I was a kid I had to wait a full week to find out what hap­pened next on my favourite TV show.”

For me, that show was The OC. It aired in the mid-2000s on Thurs­day evenings.

This was the last decade in which a cliffhanger was a cliffhanger — when TV dra­mas left a viewer hang­ing for a week or more as op­posed to seven sec­onds be­fore the next episode streams au­to­mat­i­cally, and all is re­vealed. When the OC’s lead­ing lady Marissa Cooper — spoiler alert — died in lead­ing man Ryan At­wood’s arms, I had to wait sev­eral months to watch him brood about it.

Such a thing is al­most un­think­able nowa­days, when most pop­u­lar TV dra­mas are writ­ten for an au­di­ence not only ac­cus­tomed to in­stant grat­i­fi­ca­tion, but in some cases, ad­dicted to it.

This month, ac­cord­ing to a now vi­ral story in the In­dian news­pa­per The Hindu, a 26-year-old man checked into a spe­cial clinic in Ban­ga­lore for this very rea­son: he is of­fi­cially ad­dicted to Net­flix. Ac­cord­ing to the pa­per, the 26-year-old “was un­em­ployed and turned to Net­flix to shut out re­al­ity for more than six months,” watch­ing more than seven hours of TV a day.

The Net­flix ad­dict was ad­mit­ted to the SHUT Clinic (Ser­vice for Healthy Use of Tech­nol­ogy) at the Na­tional In­sti­tute of Men­tal Health and Neu­ro­sciences, for nu­mer­ous con­di­tions re­lated to his NA — in­clud­ing “eye strain, fa­tigue and dis­turbed sleep­ing pat­terns.”

What ex­actly he was binge­watch­ing we don’t know. Is he a Black Mir­ror man? A Riverdale fan? Is he the per­son who watched the Dana Car­vey com­edy spe­cial?

What­ever the case it would be in­ter­est­ing to learn how the clinic’s doc­tors will treat him. For ex­am­ple, will they ask him to cut out TV cold turkey or in­tro­duce a harm re­duc­tion pro­gram?

THIS WAS THE LAST DECADE IN WHICH A CLIFFHANGER WAS A CLIFFHANGER.

THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Dra­mas are writ­ten for an ad­dic­tive au­di­ence, writes Emma Tei­tel.

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