Binge-Watching and the Soul

After a long day, I just want to sit in front of my computer and watch Grey’s Anatomy. I’ve watched as the doctors of Seattle Grace grow up, die off, move away, fall in love, fall apart, and practice medicine every now and then. I feel like the characters are my best friends and I could tell you each one’s life story.TV_highquality

But binge-watching Grey’s Anatomy is very unhealthy for me.

Binge-Watching: Watching multiple episodes of a television program in rapid succession.

There is nothing wrong with having a favorite show. We all have one or two that we are invested in, but binge-watching is not always healthy, for two reasons.

  1. Motivated by an escapist mentality

Fiction is not escapist, unless it is consumed in excess. Often when I decide to watch a show for an extended period of time, it’s because something went wrong in my personal life. Binge-watching is effective for forgetting our problems for a few hours, but it doesn’t make anything disappear. We need to learn to face our problems, instead of sweeping them under the rug while we indulge in television.

  1. Unfruitful emotional commitment

I throw my heart and soul into shows. I worry about the character’s problems during the day. Maybe I am just an overly empathetic weirdo, but I think everyone does this to some extent. We invest in the lives of the characters, forgetting they are fictional. However, this emotional commitment doesn’t bear fruit because the recipients of our empathy are not real. We should engage in these fictional stories, but pull back periodically to remember reality and spend time empathizing with real people.images (2)I love TV shows, but I have found a fault in my binge-watching. Fictional stories open our eyes to help us live better, but they should not let us avoid real life. Enjoy the story, characters, and connection in television, but do so in moderation. We cannot love a TV show more than we love the life and people around us.

-Megan R.



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