If there is one thing I love about the advancements in modern technology, it is how they have enabled us to binge watch an entire season of one television show over the course of a weekend. And in this vein there is nothing better than finding a show that already has five or six seasons for you to catch up on. Hours and hours of entertainment at your fingertips, free from the interruption of adverts and free from the agony of having to wait an entire week to find out what happens next. I mean, how did people live like that before?!
But as with anything good, you have to watch out for its evil, yet subtle downsides. First there is the Spoiler Alert. This can happen in a number of different ways. Maybe it’s taken you a bit longer than everyone else to discover this particular show. Colleagues discussing the latest episode around the water cooler, or a crucial character’s death during mid-season finale of season three while you’ve only just started season two… And while I’m on the subject, when did mid-season finales become a thing?? Like torturing us for months at a time once a year wasn’t enough, we now we have to suffer twice?? I feel this merits a blog post of its own, so back to the spoilers…
When a season is in session, social media is your biggest enemy. As discussed in a previous post, I am not one of those people capable of watching a show week by week. (Unless it is something where suspense is not built into the long-term plot – like The Big Bang Theory, or Grey’s Anatomy these days). As such, I have to painstakingly wait for the entire season to end (or half season – please see mini-rant above) before I can begin watching. This necessitates not only un-following all of your favourite shows on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, etc. It demands that you un-follow all of the actors’ pages as well, not to mention fan pages that you may subscribe to. You also have to be vigilant when scrolling on Buzzfeed and 9gag is just a warzone. It takes commitment, and it’s exhausting. It only takes a second, a lapse in judgement, or in some cases, an act of sheer brutal betrayal, to bring it all crumbling down.
Let me set the scene… As you may know by now, Husby and I have a strict TV watching regime. One “thirty minute show” and one “sixty minute show” an evening; shows selected at random from the Cookie Jar, no Power of Veto. Roughly three weeks ago we very ceremoniously selected Scandal (also known as The Fixer in South Africa in order that it not be confused with the popular (?) soapie of the same name). I had been skeptical about adding this one to the Cookie Jar. We all love a bit of Shonda, but Grey’s has really been testing my resolve in recent seasons. But hey, the world is nuts about it and although they may have been wrong about The Walking Dead (jury still out on that one), my friends’ persistence had got it into the Cookie Jar and the Cookie Jar cannot be denied.
And so we settled in to watch it, and twenty minutes in, I was hooked. By the end of the first episode all thoughts of a watching regime had been tossed out the window. We had hit gold; a series that would ruin our lives; leave us sleep deprived; wrought with anguish over characters’ futures. And there were four glorious seasons to catch up on (season five still in progress at time of typing and we all know my feelings on “still in progress”.) We swiftly devoured three episodes and by the next night had finished season one (which only has seven episodes before you get too judgemental). On to season two the next night and TV addicts’ heroin had firmly taken hold.
It was three weeks later when the anxiety (more than usual) started. Only four episodes left. Should we save them, return to the “one episode a night” regime and really savour the final moments? Or should we face the unavoidable oncoming emptiness head on, devour all four episodes in one mini-marathon and then hold each other close and consume too many milkshakes as we fall into that void that inevitably follows running out of episodes of a show of pure gold? As fate would have it, the decision was made for us, sort of. It was the weekend and I was being subjected to a ridiculously over the top bachelorette party stay over at some spa in some mountains somewhere that probably still counted as Joburg. A whole weekend of sisterly bonding with ladies I only sort of knew. Oh how I love family commitments. What ever happened to a good old kitchen tea?
It was every bit as awful as I had anticipated, maybe worse. There were games; mandatory games. And a lot of alcohol was consumed as I sipped surreptitiously from my Coke Light In A Can. But all was not lost, I was coming home to Scandal (and Husby of course); a mini-marathon would be had and the trauma of an extrovert’s dream weekend would be washed away.
I should have noticed something was wrong the second I walked in the door. Everything was just so clean; dishes washed, counter tops wiped down, I think a broom may even have made its way across the floor. The milkshakes had been blended, the popcorn had been popped, there were milk tart cupcakes in the fridge. Now Husby has his moments, and making an extra effort after I’ve suffered an ordeal of a weekend is not beyond him. I chose to feel warm and fuzzy; until I saw his face – a picture of guilt. He’d broken something, that must be it; something I treasured, a gift from my late Gran maybe. Or worse yet, he’d broken a promise, caved in in my absence and invited his Uncle Cyril to our wedding. But turns out all he broke was my trust. He had watched the last four episodes of Scandal without me.
Words cannot describe the hurt. He made his excuses; he was lonely, there was no Grand Prix that weekend, he didn’t want to delve into the Movie Hat without me, his brother was meant to come for a braai but had cancelled last minute; but nothing could fix this, he had ruined everything. For three weeks we had been in this together; side by side through the “will they / won’t they”, the torture scenes, the kidnappings, the blackmail. We had been a team (just like Fitz and Liv, dare I say) *sniff. And he’d thrown it all away with four precious episodes in solitude. He made his apologies, all kinds of promises to make it up to me. He didn’t mind watching it again with me, he said. Dear god; why couldn’t he have just cheated on me.