Not a serious topic this week as we move into the Holiday weekend but I felt that given a lot of us will probably indulge in a bit of a binge over the holidays (you know, those of us who are avoiding spending actual time with people) might need a bit of a survival guide to a decent binge session (and I’d love for people to share their bingeing tips in the comments below). Now, I mentioned this wasn’t serious as in honesty I will spend the various important days with family and close friends, but all those other days in between Christmas and New Years… well I can definitely see a few marathon viewing sessions calling me.
Before I get into preparation and tips for a good binge (and I take no responsibility if you take any of those tips seriously) I’ll just put out a few series that I am thinking about binge watching.
01. Yuri on Ice. Okay, it has been months since I watched this through from start to finish and it has been over a year since it came out. Definitely time for a marathon viewing session of this one.
02. Is It Wrong to Try and Pick Up Girls in a Dungeon. I love this show. It is great fun and I haven’t watched it in awhile so this seems like a good time for a binge session.
03. Full Metal Panic. I mentioned that I loved this to someone the other day and then realised I hadn’t yet reviewed it so I’m going to try and binge it over the holidays so I can prepare a review of season 1, season 2 and probably fumoffu.
Should I get through that, there’s plenty of other shows on my list that I can add to the line up but to be honest if I get through all of that I will probably need some sort of medical attention so let’s get on to preparation.
Starting with the necessities for a decent binge, you have to figure out where you are going to do it. If you are like me and travelling from place to place to see family and so on during this time period finding a place can be tricky (though fortunately portable screens and hard drives make the how you are going to watch much easier). Ideally you should have a TV with a large screen and a couch or beanbag to really get into a binge but we can’t always have the ideal. At the very least, you need a room with a door to shut the rest of the world out for at least three-hour blocks (or it doesn’t count as a binge session).
Secondly, you are definitely going to need food and water stocks. And I know soft drink, chips and chocolate look fantastic as options but you are not going to last days on end with that sort of fare. Straight water is key to longer binge sessions and try and supplement some of those chip and chocolate snacks with bread and other grains for ongoing viewing. Okay, the bread can have a healthy dose of nutella or similar on it if you really have to go for a junk food binge at the same time as an anime binge, but trust me, you’ll last longer with some semi-decent food in your system.
Thirdly, know what you are going to watch. Don’t set up for a binge and then wonder what to put on. Have a plan and be ready to press play. You’ll thank me later for that one if you are a king or queen of procrastination.
Finally, in preparation phase, you are going to need to be either be on your own, or have people that get your hobby. Otherwise they are just going to keep interrupting your flow and dragging you out of your zone. If you aren’t in a cooperative environment, forget it and plan a binge after the family time is done.
Now, as to tips for bingeing itself.
Don’t pause. No matter how good a scene might be or what you may have just missed, do not break the flow mid-episode. Plan bathroom breaks and things during closing credits or pauses between episodes but do not pause mid-episode. Once you start this it is far too easy to start pausing and doing other things which is certainly going to take you out of the binge zone.
Stick with one show until at least the half-way point. Binge sessions are signficantly easier to handle and more satisfying when you are making real progress through a narrative so don’t chop and change shows. Which is actually why bingeing works best with shows you have already watched because you shouldn’t get a few episodes in and want to drop it if you picked it for a binge.
If the show is an old favourite, do say your favourite lines, sing opening themes, get up and dance, or shout down the villain. Interaction and movement will all help you keep going and prevent atrophy in your limbs.
If you aren’t certain you can handle a binge session because you’ve never tried one before, pick a show with plenty of appeal (by appeal I mean cute guys/girls or plenty of action/comedy/whatever floats your boat). You don’t want to be in pain and you want to enjoy the session. Make sure you know exactly what you want from your viewing and pick a show that will give it to you in generous portions.
Lastly, and most importantly, don’t apologise because you want some time for you. No one asks the athlete to apologise for spending hours training or the concert musician for the hours of practice. This is your hobby and what you like to do, so don’t apologise. (That said, ensure you have met your family/friend obligations – humans are social creatures whether we want to admit that or not someday). But if you’ve done the family thing all Christmas Day and want three hours to yourself on Boxing Day there really isn’t any need to apologise for that.
Enjoy your Christmas and if you are planning a binge, I’d love to know what is on your watch list these holidays and what your strategies are for a successful binge watch.
Thanks for reading.
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