I am an online TV junkie. A crackhead. A fiend. I’ll put my hands up and admit my problems. I’m not sure when this became an addiction, but I’m ready to come clean to those around me as the voices in my head continue to stage daily interventions. If you’re an addict, you’ll know which voices I’m talking about. You know, the ones that urge you to sleep instead of watching another episode or suggest interacting with real people instead of fictional characters.
As a writer, you can imagine the allure of online TV: immediate and unlimited access to a plethora of stories that I can immerse myself in. When I was younger, I used to find myself in various worlds (Narnia, Hogwarts, Dystopias) through the countless novels I would read. Now, I’m older. I am a ‘millennial’ and few of us read for pleasure. In fact, I can count the times I’ve seen conversations online about the latest bestseller; yet, the dialogue surrounding Love and Hip Hop (and the AMAZING Cardi B – yeah, I said it) is as vast as it is complex.
How did I figure out I was addicted? How do you know if you need to join me at a HFO meeting (Help For Onliners) meeting? The answers can be found below
1) You watch online TV before you sleep – every night.
Having a favourite show that you watch before bed every now and again is absolutely fine, but if you find it difficult to sleep without the glare of the laptop, my friend, you might just have a problem.
2) Sometimes you feel like you haven’t spoken to a friend in a long time but then you realise you’re just awaiting the new series of your (third) favourite show.
I miss Frank and Claire – then I remind myself they are not real people.
3) You use fictitious situations as a foundation of the advice you give to your friends
“I totally understand why you feel you need to become a drug Lord so that you can provide for your family, but there was this one time that things didn’t end too well…”
4) During your day, you wonder whether your favourite individuals will eventually get their act together and become a couple.
Remember how frustrating it was when Jess and Nick (New Girl) were fighting the chemistry between them? Remember when they got together and the show became awful as a result? Big Lol.
5) You are constantly looking for a new show (or as I like to call the, ‘new friends’)
Last week was Dexter, this week was Breakout Kings (which was surprisingly enjoyable). I’m forever on the hunt for some new buddies.
6) The thought of watching shows at home makes you feel more excited than the prospect of socialising with friends
Cancelled plans = pure joy
7) Netflix asks you if you want to ‘continue watching’ all the damn time.
Yes, Netflix, I’m here. I haven’t slept. My eyes are burning but I’m here until the very end so don’t ask me silly questions.
8) You and your friends (who are crackheads too, because birds of a feather and all that jazz) discuss the characters in depth and analyse their personal growth
This is a real conversation that I had yesterday.
9) You secretly believe that the Grey’s Anatomy cast are your family
You know that when you need them, they’ll be there; Callie will fix your broken legs, Kerev will deliver your baby and Bailey is there if you ever need that good, good talking to.
10) You watch so many shows that you often forget which shows you’re watching, miss too many episodes, but because you’re unsure of how things might have changed, you never return.
10 is a really whole number so I will stop there, but trust me, I could go on!
Although I’m treating my addiction as a (semi) joke, I am in the process of analysing my obsession with online TV. Why do I watch indulge to the point that my eyes literally hurt? I am literally letting life pass me by as I watch shows. I could be socialising, reading, or creating my own stories that other people could watch. Instead, like most, I use Online TV as a form as escapism – as an opportunity to forget the crazy that is often happening around me.
More and more I’m challenging myself to spend as much time with God as I do with my beloved shows – I’m not always successful. We used to sing a song in Sunday School:
‘Read your Bible everyday pray everyday, and you grow, grow, grow,
Close your Bible, refuse to pray and you shrink, shrink, shrink.’
In hindsight, it was not only a very aff song, it was arguably profound. If you invest in your relationship with God, you will grow, you will see how amazing God is, you will find your purpose and you will feel secure. If you’re constantly watching shows (as I am), God often gets lost in the mix and…it might even impact the growth you’re experiencing as a Christian.
So my goal, this week, (*gulps*) is not to watch any shows. Even typing the sentence fills me with dread. I’m really interested to see what I’ll fill my time with when I’m not swimming with my fun, fantastic, fictitious friends.
To my fellow addicts, will you join me?
Lots of love,