NETFLIX STREAMING IS THE NEW ADDICTION, AND THERE’S HELP
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.
Dramas are written for an addictive audience, writes Emma Teitel.