Binge watching TV becomes American teens’ new pastime


Chandler Cummings-McBride

After finishing the class assignment and homework for the day, a student pulls out her phone to watch FOX’s “Prison Break” on Netflix.

Chandler Cummings-McBride, Features co-Editor

After a long day of work and finishing hours of homework, junior Maria Mezosi dives onto her bed with laptop in hand ready to indulge in an episode of “Grey’s Anatomy.” “I can’t wait to sit back, relax and enjoy my favorite TV series,” Mezosi said.

As a teenager in the binge TV-watching era, Mezosi and her peers often face the difficult choice of deciding which television series to start watching, what platform they will use and why start a series in the first place.

Among the numerous binge-TV platforms, Netflix, Xfinity On Demand, Amazon Video and Hulu remain the most popular. In recent years, these platforms have taken over the advertising industry and social media. “I see a ton of Netflix advertisement all over social media sources, especially Twitter,” Mezosi said.

These movie and television catalogs allow people to access their favorite TV shows or movies with the simple click of a few buttons, as long as Internet is available. Mezosi said that one benefit when using Netflix is “it’s easy access. I’m able to access it on my phone, iPad and TV, which is convenient depending on where I am. If I’m in class and I finished my work, I can plug my earbuds in and watch ‘Grey’s [Anatomy]’.”

Her reason for starting a series is mostly owed to her friends’ recommendations. “Once I clicked play, I fell in love with the characters and their stories,” Mezosi said.

For many binge-watching students, including junior Sofia Quinones-Viela, binge-watching TV series “becomes a never-ending cycle. You start a series, finish it, and then you’re onto the next. It just never stops,” she said.

Junior Caitlyn Patterson streams Netflix on a 74” TV for a relaxing Friday night. Netflix is an internet-based television platform available for people to binge-watch their favorite shows and movies for $7.99 a month.
Caitlyn Patterson
Junior Caitlyn Patterson streams Netflix on a 74” TV for a relaxing Friday night. Netflix is an internet-based television platform available for people to binge-watch their favorite shows and movies for $7.99 a month.

The cycle of binge watching is regarded as “incredibly antisocial behavior” by psychology teacher Sean Hickey. “I think that binge watching leads itself to be compulsive and may also rise to ignorance.”

Junior Alexandria Thomas admitted “that when I’m on Xfinity on Demand, sometimes I don’t answer my mom when she speaks to me. It takes a couple seconds for me to realize that she’s talking.”

Senior Garrett Prellberg disagrees with Hickey and Thomas’s initial argument. “I think that the benefits outweigh the cons,” Prellberg said. “It’s a good pastime if you manage it responsibly.”

For juniors Craig Riley and Kristen Stogner, indulging in episodes of NBC’s “Parks and Recreation” “is something fun and relaxing to do, which I don’t see to be anti-social behavior,” Stogner said.

Hickey agreed that binge-watching shows with friends as a social activity isn’t “antisocial.” “I guess if you are gathered in a room with people to watch a show and forging connections with those people, it could lend to prosocial behavior,” he said.

Considering his status as a veteran “Netflixer” as being prosocial, Prellberg gets pulled into the comedic world of HBO’s “Veep” daily. Prellberg said that he binge watches his favorite shows on Netflix because he gets to escape from reality or responsibilities for a while. “You kind of get to be in another world for a little bit,” Prellberg said.

After entering and exiting the world of his favorite characters from an all-weekend TV marathon of “Parks and Recreation,” Riley said he scrolled through his Twitter feed and stumbled on a meme, or a comedic modified image shared on social media, about binge watching.

The illustrations in the meme are almost always depicted as girls, and Riley said that he isn’t sure why this is the most prevalent advertisement. “I mean, guys binge watch too,” he said.

Prellberg had similar thoughts. “Now that I think about it, I can see that binge watching is portrayed more as a female activity,” he said. “I think it’s a pretty normal thing for anyone to do and isn’t gender specific.”

Although binge watching is universal, students have noticed that a lot of girls seem to gravitate toward a particular show.

“‘Grey’s Anatomy’ is definitely a trending series right now. Most of my friends watch it too, and I can honestly say it’s one of the best TV series,” Mezosi said.

Mezosi said that she loves “Full House” more than “Grey’s Anatomy,” and she looks forward to the new Netflix original series, “Fuller House,” based on the original late 80’s sitcom with the same characters.  

“I used to love ‘Full House’ and I’m super excited for the series sequel,” Mezosi said. “Fuller House” will be available to Netflix users across the nation on Feb. 26.

Students at the Mill binge watch shows as a regular activity after school or on the weekends, and this trend seems far from over. “If anything, binge watching seems like it could eventually replace normal TV,” freshman Marissa Mezosi said.