A Love Affair with TV and How Hitchcock Contributed to the Binge-Watching Trend - Daily Hudson Valley News

A Love Affair with TV and How Hitchcock Contributed to the Binge-Watching Trend

Jan 1st, 2015 | By | Category: Lifestyle

Mid-afternoon on New Year’s Eve, I said to my boyfriend, “Maybe next year we’ll be at the top of some mountain, a few days into an incredible hiking trip. But this year, we’re having pizza and champagne, watching ‘Shameless’ until we can’t keep our eyes open.” We made it through 11 episodes – 11 hours – before exhaustion got the better of us. Around midnight (about nine hours in), we turned on NBC to watch the ball drop. Thirty seconds after we clinked our glasses and wished each other a happy 2015, we both thought the same thing: how long do we have to wait before we can flip back to Showtime?


My Meet Cute with TV Binge-Watching


It began in 2009, after a friend of mine took his life. I couldn’t sleep and so I spent my nights watching episodes of “Lost,” finishing them all just in time for season six to premiere. When the final episode aired, I made themed Rice Krispies Treats and went to a “Lost” viewing party. I’d become an expert on a five-year show in four months. (Like everybody else, I hated the ending. Are they dead? Were they dead all along? We’ll never know.)


The Alfred Hitchcock Example


We’re not hard-wired to be lazy; we’re built to be focused. A study by a Princeton University psychologist had four people watch notably different clips while their brain activity was studied. Hitchcock’s “Bang! You’re Dead” had the highest level of response: 65% compared to 5%, 18%, and 45%. The studied concluded that the more commanding the clip, the more attention was paid. Hitchcock – a cinematic control freak – regulated everything in his films, from what had your attention to what you were feeling and even what you predicted would follow. Today’s television show creators do the same thing, which is why I watched every episode of “Lost” twice just to make sure I didn’t miss anything, yet can work through any Real Housewives without missing a beat.


Next week, I’ll be writing about my defenses for going on a TV bender and why you shouldn’t feel guilty for devoting part of your life to the boob tube.


Lindsay Pietroluongo is a lifestyle writer in the Hudson Valley. Visit her website at LindsayOnTheRocks.com.


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