You know what I’m not doing this long weekend? I’m distinctly not watching all 15 new episodes of television’s second greatest series Arrested Development, even though Netflix released the entire season yesterday. And even though it’s the second greatest television series of all time.
I know many people decided to watch the entire season in one sitting, a phenomenon known as “binge watching.” After all, devoted fans of the critically acclaimed series have waited seven long years (okay, they were actually average length years) for the return of the cleverly-crafted, joke-riddled series. We mourned it when it was cancelled, so why shouldn’t we celebrate its return with a day-long Bluth bash?
Well, allow me to make a case against bingeing. Here are my reasons for extending my viewing of the new episodes over an excruciating 15 weeks.
It will make me happier. Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project, has written about the important role of anticipation in happiness. And a 2011 paper from the Journal of Consumer Psychology supports the theory that delaying gratification increases overall enjoyment. I’ll have something to look forward to each week for the next few months!
It will be funnier. The show’s creator, Mitch Hurwitz, has recommended spreading it out, arguing that you’re likely to miss jokes and sight gags if you watch too many episodes in a row. As he puts it, “Comedy takes a lot out of you.” I want to savor every joke.
It will allow me to prove to myself that I can do it. It won’t be easy. I’ve become so accustomed to being able to watch television on the internet, on my own terms, that I hardly remember the time when watching one episode per week was the norm. Now that we have the technology to watch whatever we want whenever we want, it’s up to us to manage our consumption. I think there are some lessons here that might apply just as well to chocolate, cheese, and Nancy Drew books.
In addition to self-discipline, the other major challenge will be avoiding spoilers. No one tell me anything, please!
What about you? Have you ever delayed instant gratification in favor of anticipating or savoring something?