Ted's Thirty Day Awakening
“Hello, I’m Ted and I’m a Binger,” Ted said to his cat.
It was 2 AM and Ted had been watching now for twelve straight hours. For someone who hates three-hour movies, he was quite the paradox. He relished watching episode after episode, sitting for hours, glued to the screen. Yet, Ted routinely skipped past movies with run times of over two hours—it didn’t make any sense. How could he watch twelve hours of a show but lack the patience to sit through a two-hour movie? All Ted could figure was that the break between episodes some sort of mental reboot which allowed him to keep watching
Yeah, Ted is an admitted Binger, but he knows he is not alone. According to Netflix, three of four viewers who streamed the first season of Breaking Bad finish all seven episodes in one session. Eight in ten Netflix users agree that binge-watching a TV show is more enjoyable than watching single episodes. (Ted is a member in good standing in that club—just ask him.)
In a study commissioned by Netflix, cultural anthropologist Grant McCracken concluded that we’re actually craving the long narratives that today’s best television series can provide (due to the transient nature of content found on social media). Instead of dealing with our life’s stresses by zoning out, we’d rather become engrossed in an entirely different (and fictional) world. A world where we can forget about our real-life issues and wonder who in Miss Fisher’s amazingly large cast of friends (including friends with benefits) would be the next one to get murdered.
Ted is of the opinion that binge-watching is societies first step toward a world where the lines between the real and the fictional become so blurred that it’s impossible to tell them apart. Leading to a day when people don’t just watch a show or read a novel, they become active participants in the story. According to Ted, “One day the fictional will live among us. They will even help us land a better job or point out a great new restaurant in town that we need to try out.” For someone like Ted that will be a dream come true. The only best friend Ted ever had, the only person he ever talked to on a regular basis, was his wife. In fact, he could not recall a non-work or financially related conversation with anyone in the past year. Ted could really use a Miss Fisher in his life right about now.
In 1920 few people believed that someone from earth would ever walk on the moon. Today few people believe there will come a day where fictional characters interact with people in the real world in meaningful ways. Not only does Ted believe in this altered reality life, he is certain he will live to see it. Which is why he created the2032conspiracy website and is working away on the story about a message in a bottle and a billionaire and how they are the ones that make it all happen. (In case you missed the introduction to Ted’s story, you can read it here on Day 10.)
But for now, Ted still has two more episodes to go before he reaches the end of Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries and at least a decade before stories go on as long as we keep interacting with them. No more “The End” no more “Game Over” no more “That’s All Folks.”
Ted can’t wait!