It’s 10 p.m. on a Tuesday and I’ve just gotten home from my three hour class on the opposite side of campus after braving the sub-zero tundra that is currently State College.
Now I find myself sitting in front of my computer, fully aware that I have yet to complete my economics homework and also of the growing problem that I am quickly losing my capacity to keep my eyes open as I scroll half-heartedly through the emails that I should have checked Monday.
I know it’s kind of pathetic that one day after the long weekend, I already feel drained. This is likely in no small part due to the fact that I completed absolutely none of the work I knew I had to over the break. Somehow it always felt like I had one more day.
In any case, it is immediately evident I need to get studying. And yet, minutes later — for no reason I can think of other than the lingering notion I have that a slow-witted imbecile sometimes takes over control my sub-conscious when the smart guy isn’t paying attention — I’m moderately horrified by the fact that I’m watching the latest episode of “How I Met Your Mother” on Netflix.
Netflix. That instantly gratifying, addictive, and enabling demon that stalks my computer day and night in his bright red suit.
I don’t care to know the hours I have wasted entrenched in battle against his endless frivolities. These television shows are his minions, constantly beckoning for twenty-minute intervals of your attention. “It’s only twenty minutes,” they whisper in their sadistic little voices, “you’ve had a long day, come on and sit here with us for a while, we promise it won’t take long.”
Later, between episodes, a glance to the clock hits you like a ton of bricks once you realize you’ve just somehow managed to exit the space-time continuum and insert yourself back into the world an hour and 40 minutes from where you began.
This is the moment when you start cursing at the red-devil, who by now has already started to play the next installment of “A Wasted Night” for your viewing pleasure.
And even as you come out of his spell and obliterate him from his onscreen existence, you can hear him snickering maliciously to himself; because he knows you’ll be back. You always come back.
Beautiful, GPA-murderous Netflix. I will always come back.
I can remember years ago, scoffing at them when they told me that “LOST” was the gateway drug. “It’ll never happen to me,” I said. “It’s non-habit forming.”
Nowadays I’m constantly fighting off bouts of Walking Dead Withdrawal and Breaking Bad Syndrome.
Those terrible calamities that have claimed the lives of so many innocent college students like myself. And here they’ve just told me I’m suffering from Mad Men Disorder. A disease of the mind that causes you to want swill Old Fashioned’s like they went out of style in the sixties and wear fedoras like you look good in them.
Yet, despite my ravaged physical and mental health, I still adore Netflix to the point where the girlfriend I don’t have because of it gets jealous of all the time I devote to him instead of her.
No longer do I have to wait a week, or a month, or a year to know what happens to these characters I’ve come to identify over the seasons of their struggles. Now watching a show is like reading a good book. You can’t put it down.
You just want to keep reading chapter after chapter until you realize it’s probably about time you did get to that stupid homework so you can free up more time for Netflix later. The worst thing about Netflix is its ability to perpetuate your spiraling procrastination and lack of productivity, but that is also the best thing about Netflix. For the first time in history, people are able to view television instantaneously and sequentially — the way it was meant to be seen.
Gone are the days where you happen to catch a passing glimpse of the end of that show your friends keep telling you to get around to watching. Now it is all there for you, waiting on your terms. And this is a good thing because actors on television work just as hard, if not harder than those in movies to produce something of great substance for their viewers.
And Netflix has finally allowed us to take notice of that fact.
Still, one day I’ll probably realize I need to stop, or at least slow way down. I’ll wake up one morning and see in stark clarity what exactly Netflix has done to my social life and how exactly he’s alienated me from my family.
But until that day comes, or, God-forbid, until my parents cancel our subscription, it’ll just have to be my burden to carry along with the nameless masses who have also fallen victim to its instantly available musings.
Anthony Bellafiore is a junior majoring in English and economics and is The Daily Collegian’s Thursday columnist. Email him at email@example.com.