If you don’t watch OITNB but are pop culture savvy, then I’m sure you’ll be aware of the fact the second season of the incredibly popular Netflix show rolled out Friday 6th June.
I only started watching the show at the end of April (I did ‘binge watch’, also!). It’s a strange thing, to not have to wait until next week to watch what’s happening next, until you watch the show yourself; I can imagine it’s hard for people to understand the buzz surrounding the show. I’m not really one for marathoning shows, I’ll watch four episodes at most in one day (usually). With OITNB I watched the first season in the space of a bank holiday weekend – 3 days. It just so happened that the trailer for S2 pretty much came out straight after so I knew I didn’t have to wait too long before it was out.
To my luck, I had Friday (6th) off work, so of course I decided to get up 8am (UK time) which is of course midnight in PST. Sounds stupid, but I didn’t get in to it lightly. I had no clear intentions to watch it all that quick, it just kind of happened. After watching three episodes I went out for an hour shopping – couldn’t get the show out of my mind. When I got home, I watched another four, by then the evening was already upon me. I went to the cinema at 8pm, returned home and watched up to episode 10 – this took me to 3am so I thought it was best to stop then before eye sockets give up on me. When I woke (AFTER 5 hours sleep?!) I then proceeded to watch the last three episodes (I wasn’t aware the finale was 90 minutes, but hey-ho!)
I was kind of weird for me to watch them all so quickly, I’m constantly finding new TV series’ to watch; I’ve nearly finished working my way through Grey’s Anatomy and just started on Prison Break. Grey’s has become my favourite TV show – I bought the boxset after watching seven seasons online, so although I have all the episodes on DVD and ready to watch, I still don’t feel this addiction? urgency? to watch one after another, and another and so on.
It’s a weird one to think about. I’ve seen a few articles about this ‘why do people binge watch shows?’ etc. some good points stated that it can be seen as a competition, who can finish first? I can most certainly see that being a factor especially in this day and age with the likes of Twitter & Tumblr. Friend’s might ‘compete’ to see who can finish first, for what reason I’m not entirely sure, I guess it could count as an achievement. (Side note: may I add; binge-watching isn’t as easy as it sounds, to keep that level of concentration, scheduling ‘regular’ food/toilet breaks, and trying to make sure you at least move after every two episodes or so – this isn’t for amateurs, I joke, although I’m half serious about this).
From my own perspective I watched the episodes this way due to two main reasons:
They are SO damn hard to avoid. Yes, you can avoid going on entertainment sites in which you know they’ll be a recap/discussion thread etc. but it’s super difficult to avoid these if you’re an avid lover of Twitter. I go on Twitter at least once a day, and see a whole show spoiled in 140 characters, right in front of my eyes. I pretty much knew everything about Grey’s Anatomy before I even started watching it, still I’m glad I gave it a chance. With shows like Orange is the New Black it’s practically inevitable that you’ll be spoiled here or there. It’s got such a fan-following that spoilers will be coming from all directions; some live-tweeting, some documenting every big twist, and those that even attach photos of certain scenes’ to their tweets. I absolutely have no problem with this, once I’ve watched it myself, but most of the times I haven’t.
2) (lack of) Patience
I’m generally a patient person; when it comes to TV shows however, I do not possess this quality, quite the opposite actually. I imagine this is the main reason people watch shows like OITNB in one go, because they cannot actually wait. There are definitely tactics to TV habits, I’ve heard people saying they’re going to watch one episode a month as this will last them up to S3 (why oh why, is it so far away?) If I had the will power (and was certain I wouldn’t get spoiled) I would definitely employ this tactic, it’s brilliant. However stretching a show out like this doesn’t always have it’s benefits, talking specifically in the case of OITNB, I genuinely find it’s a show that needs to be enjoyed in a short space of time, perhaps not to the extent of watching it over a couple of days, but perhaps two episodes a day. This would only last you a week, but it’s still short enough to stay engaged with the show yet not rush it at the same time. I think if you really stretch a show like Orange out that it loses a bit of it’s charm.
…that being said, now that I’ve watched all of S2 already, I don’t find it comforting to know I will have to wait A WHOLE YEAR for season 3. There doesn’t seem to be anything that can fill the void for me, except either rewatching or going on Tumblr and finding gifs from the show. Easier said than done, but I think my best bet is to try and temporarily ‘forget’ the show until April 2015, I think I might drive myself a little crazy otherwise.
In conclusion, there doesn’t seem to be a right or wrong way to watch Orange is the New Black, except to just enjoy it and celebrate how completely amazing the writing, cast and storylines are. Embrace the fact that the show is making people question themselves, their morals and just generally opening up the floor for all sorts of issues/opinions to be discussed – it’s incredible what a TV show can do, the power!