To binge-watch or not to binge-watch?

By The Beacon | September 12, 2013 12:59am

By Rebekah Markillie |

Junior Harry Blakeman spent two full days watching all the episodes of “30 Rock” and watched the entire fourth season of “Arrested Development”’ in about 16 hours.

Freshman Briana Rossman spent approximately 90 hours watching all 121 episodes of “Lost.”

Freshmen Adel Barnes, Abigail Maddigan and Austin Moehnke watch four hours of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” almost every night.

These students aren’t alone in their binge-watching habits. According to a study by Magid Generational Strategies, 70 percent of today’s binge-watchers are millennials, ages 16 - 35. With sites like Netflix and Hulu making entire TV episodes accessible at any moment, it’s easier to watch entire seasons in one setting. Students find watching shows for multiple hours in one sitting a relaxing way to wind down and an opportunity to socialize as well as an addictive pastime.

Blakeman has been a television enthusiast for several years.

“I’m kind of OCD about it. When I say I watch a show, I watch a show,” said Blakeman.

It doesn’t have to be in one sitting. His requirement is only that every episode of every season gets watched.

Blakeman likes the development of the shows he watches.

“I like stories that have interesting characters. I think that’s what’s interesting about television is that it lets you explore the character for a lot longer,” Blakeman said. “In a film you have a story so you have to balance character development with the story but in television you can really develop the characters. I’m looking for a show that has good characters.”

Along with 56 percent of binge watchers, Rossman and Blakeman’s habit is mostly a solo activity.

“It’s kind of a resting time for me. It helps me unwind from the day, which is why I usually only watch (television) at night,” Rossman said.

Blakeman watches television when he’s bored and alone.

“I don’t sleep, that’s kind of a key element. I’m sort of a natural insomniac so I just watch TV when no one’s around,” he said.

With their current hook on “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” Barns, Maddigan and Moehnke enjoy watching television for the social aspect of it. Since they live in the same dorm, Barns and Maddigan will go to Moehnke’s room to watch their shows.

“We lay down blankets and sit on the floor,” Maddigan said.

Moehnke makes sure their homework is done before the television parties begin,

“I always make sure to get my studying out of the way,” he said. “I don’t think it’s (watching too much television) a hindrance because if I was really too tired, I would just go to bed.”

Barns, on the other hand, will let sleep go and admits to falling asleep.

Rossman has noticed how her television watching has cut into her day.

“It takes time away from studying and friends,” she said.

Since he burns through so many shows, Blakeman has run out of American sitcoms to watch.

“I’m watching British sitcoms, and they’re not funny. They’re just on,” he said.

Even though he doesn’t find the British shows funny, Blakeman will watch them anyway.

“I’m an addict,” he said.