Just One More Episode…

Stephanie Schubert, CSUF junior, watching Netflix.

The plot intensified, the characters tugged at her heart and she became immersed in the town of Stars Hollow where Gilmore Girls takes place.

Diana De Vasconcelos, a senior at the Art Institute in Atlanta, Georgia became instantly hooked with Gilmore Girls and after clicking to play the next episode, she fell into the realization that she had clicked “play” 17 times for 17 episodes resulting in 17 hours of continuous watching.

“I prioritize school but I always save time for tv, it’s a great distraction and an excellent time filler when taking breaks,” Diana said, “I guess it ultimately depends on the show I’m watching. If I am seriously hooked like how I was with Bates Motel or Gilmore Girls, then it’s hard to stop.”

Binge watching television shows has grown into a massive phenomenon, specifically for college students as they try to relax from the pressure of school by escaping into distinct T.V. shows.

When it comes to epic binge watching, there are multiple stories college students have to share, whether it’s watching a show while your family is celebrating a special holiday or getting a headache from continuously watching 21 hours of a television series.

“If I start watching and I like it,” Diana said, “the binge watching just sort of happens.”

The option to be working productively or watching television shows, is at the touch of a button. College students are one of the main target audiences for streaming services providers. According to Benjamin Seltzer’s Netflix’s Effects nine out of ten students admit to binge watching. Binge watching is defined as watching three or more episodes consecutively, which has become accessible through providers such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.

Faced with endless deadlines on exams, projects, essays and other assignments, college students still find time to watch three episodes or more. Five out of the six interviewed students admitted to binge watching while having homework due the next day. Majority of college students pay for their own subscription service to either Amazon or Netflix because it serves as a relaxation method.

“Christmas Eve I watched American Horror Story all day. This particular season had a devil story arc, which made my dad disappointed,” said Josh Borjas, a junior at California State University, Fullerton, “Christmas day, my dad talked for an hour on how it wasn’t right what I did and that I needed to pray.”

Clearly, binge watching has an extensive effect that encompasses family members as well because they are indirectly affected by the choices that the watcher makes. Additionally, binge watching is most prominently occurring during holidays when there is plenty of free time.

Leigh Salvador, a junior at CSUF, said “There’s this show on Netflix called The Killing and I watched it from the moment I woke up around 8 a.m. until 5 a.m. It was to the point where I got a headache, but I didn’t care because the show was so good!”

Amber Reyes, a junior at the University of La Verne said, “About a year ago I started watching Orange is the New Black and binge watched three seasons in a whole day and whole night. I was hooked!“

Binge watching has expanded beyond being an ordinary activity into a vivid experience that everyone wants to participate in, so that they can join the current trend. Rita Mendes, a student at ESEL in Lisbon, Portugal said, “Nowadays, I think people do it just to be cool. Those streaming service providers have become so popular that people want to be a part of that experience.”

The popularity of binge watching has various explanations but the resonating reason for college students is that it’s quickly accessible and serves as a method of escapism. Diana de Vasconcelos explained, “Easy access, it’s cheap, you have entire shows just at the click of a button.”

Additionally, Leigh Salvador said “It’s just fun to escape reality from time to time. As a college student, I think these streaming service providers are highly used because we need a break from school work.”

Therefore it is clear that Netflix and Amazon are now playing the role that playgrounds played in elementary school, except that the recess time is unlimited and fully dependent on the student’s self control.

“It’s almost like a mental breather while getting entertained at the same time! One can talk about the shows they watch with other people and it becomes more of a sociable aspect,” said Joshua Borjas.

Binge watching through streaming service providers will continue as a growing phenomenon for as long as students remain stressed, and in need of cheap entertainment relief. Not only has binge watching become embedded into college culture as a common topic of conversation, but it has also created a unified community.

“Netflix is something that anyone in college will immediately recognize and connect with, it’s like a common ground,” said Stephanie Schubert, a junior at CSUF, “I guess not everyone understands it. So it looks like we’re addicted to television but it’s more about how these well-crafted stories help us escape from our stressful realities.”