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September 25, 2014 - Image 8

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The Michigan Daily, 2014-09-25

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28 - Thursday, September 25, 2014

The Michigan Daily - michigandaily.com *
Free yourselffrom
the 'nowhite after
Labor Day' prison

Where's the beef? NETFux
Television bi
without the guilt

Shows with cheap
cliffhangers are best
for marathoning
By CHLOE GILKE
Daily TV/New Media Editor
My name is Chloe, and I'm a
binge watcher.
I say this with no shame or
regret. Where others might brag
about their two-minute mile or
impressive collection of Beanie
Babies, I speak -with the same
pride about mytelevision viewing
habits. I watched the entirety of
"Lost" (yes, 121 episodes) in the
course of a single lazy June. I
caught up with "Breaking Bad"
in the two weeks before the
fourth season's premiere. One
of my friends (no doubt worried
about my mental health) tries to
justify my habit, saying: "You're
a film major. For you, it's like
studying." But there's no need for
explanation. It's not all work, and
I can only write about a fraction
otthe endless stream of television
I watch. Sometimes, it's just
fun to watch an entire season of
"Justified" in one sitting.
The luxury of being able to
binge on TV is a relatively recent
development. Even ten years ago,
catchingup on TV meant parking
yourself in front of the TV for 6
p.m. reruns or spending $70 on
DVD boxsets. The term du jour
was "marathon," and I actually
prefer this one, since it makes TV
viewing seem like an impressive
hobby. Sure, it's a hobby that
involves staring at a little screen
andlittle tono physical movement,
but just like a running marathon,
a television marathon is a test of
endurance and willpower. The
first few miles are pretty easy, but
as I approach the finish line, it's
increasingly difficult to maintain
the momentum I took for granted
at the beginning. (This is as good
a time as any to mention that I
am not an actual runner.) The
semiotics of the word "binge"
point toward negativity and guilt.
Like eating three chocolate cakes,

binging a season of television
is by definition excessive, not
impressive. Binge is the word of
group meetings, circles of chairs
and downcast eyes. Despite all
the progress that TV has made
into being considered a legitimate
medium, and the university
courses and nonfiction books
dedicated to exploring its merits,
consuming television in large
quantitiesis still stigmatized.
But there's no shame in
enjoying television however you
please - Netflix built its entire
business model on subscribers'
love of viewing episodes one after
another. With its first hit original
drama, "House of Cards," Netflix
took an enormous gamble in
putting all thirteen of its episodes
online at .once. Theoretically,
viewers could spend a single day
marathoning the episodes, and
then forget all about them: For
"House of Cards," this wasn't the
case. The hype was practically
inescapable, and a series that
might have been mediocre fare on
an established network like HBO
catapulted Netflix (and "House of
Cards") to prestige cable status.
The spoiler grace period was
extended beyond that of a network
series. (I didn't watch "House of
Cards" until a few months ago,
but miraculously, nobody spoiled
me about That One Thing That
Happened). Netflix smartly called
the episodes "chapters" - just like
a book, it's up to the viewers when
and how to watch episodes. With
other Netflixreleaseslike "Orange -
is the New Black" and "Arrested
Development," the same viewing.
flexibility is offered. If you're a.
trained marathon viewer like me,
you can let episodes play one after
another. If not, they'll always be
waiting.
Binge culture has also helped
some network series garner a
larger live audience. "Breaking
Bad" had a niche audience in
its earlier seasons, but Netflix
marathon viewing helped its
ratings climb to unprecedented
highs for its final episodes. Even
eleven months after its series
finale, "Breaking Bad" is still the

second most watched series for
U.S. subscribers. For series that
have a slow build, the marathon
strategy can be crucial for
building a fanbase. "Scandal"
initially struggled to find an
audience on ABC, but a Netflix
release made it easy for viewers to
catch up for season two's fantastic
Defiance arc. While it was on the
bubble of cancellation after itsfirst
season, "Scandal" is now headed
into its fourth year with some of
the highest ratings on television. I
countmyselfasoneofthe"Scandal"
converts. I underestimated .the
show after its lackluster pilot,
but all it took to correct that
misjudgment was a few days of
marathoning. The phenomenon
isn't just limited to good shows.
It can't be a coincidence that
series like "The Walking Dead"-
see massive ratings growth
with each season, while similar
shows that are less easy to find
on streaming platforms (like BBC
America's "In the Flesh") have
smaller audiences. Simply, binging
translates to continued viewing.
Many critics claim that
marathon viewing is an insult to
the television medium. Instead
of fully immersing yourself in the
narrative, some say that it's better
to parse out episodes one by one,
letting their subtleties sink in
whileyoucarryaboutyournormal
life. The traditional method is
okay,too.Sometimes marathoning
isn't feasible, and with shows
like "Mad Men," the slow pacing
pairs nicely with slow viewing.
But with series like "The Walking
Dead," where cliffhangers are
cheap and zombie thrills are
best enjoyed while finishing calc
problem sets, it's pretty ridiculous
to adhere to such a code for
viewing. Not all television is art
worth deliberating, and there is
no ideal way to watch television.
Watching at whatever pace feels
right, letting the episodes take as
much (or as little) breathing room
as they require, is the way to go.
After all, marathoning TV isn't an
assignment (well, maybe it is for
me). There's no shame in running
a fast race.

While packing
to move back
to Ann Arbor I
made the rookie mistake of
only bringing what ended up
being 85
percent
shorts, 10
percent
pants and
5 percent
miscel-
laneous
pajama ERIKA
bot- HARWOOD
toms that
haven't
made sense since the late
'90s. My hometown is an hour
away from A2 and I figured
I'd make it back there in
time before Michigan turned
uncomfortably cold. What I
forgot was that this state is
almost always uncomfort-
ably cold despite the month
or season, and with complete
disregard for the contents
of my closet. While I'd typi-
cally shrug my shoulders and
writhe into a pair of cut offs
regardless of the forecast,
exclaiming, "it's still ┬žummer
dammit!," the past couple of
weeks have been a very lit-
eral pain in my ass - because
what are cutoffs if not
healthy exploiters of one's
behind - and this is the year
of the booty after all.
So I was prematurely
forced into pants and left
with few options. I had one
pair of your standard blue
jeans, which are ill-fitted
thanks to either a positive
fluctuation in my weight
(doubtful, since I lived off
Ramen and SpongeBob mac
and cheese this summer) or
because they actually belong
to an anonymous friend to
whom they will most likely
never be returned. My sec-
ond pair, a slim-fitted,
floral-printed, hikes-up-the-

crotc
you'v
trous
over
And 1
jeans
WI
betw
the w
ably t
the la
notin
rocki
lately
We'll
w as r
rocki
An
absen
tom h
to wh
much
white
if I'm
stater
fresh
Kim-
whicl
peopl
I1
crc
sh
consi
As
boyfr
the o
the st
notic
white
she k
Day?'
"Of
after
"Besi
We
ner, b
"M

h-way-too-far-after- wearing white year round,"
'e-been-sitting-for-a-sec I proclaimed, my gospel
er from Zara that I got falling on deaf ears. "What
the summer for work. about winter whites? I can
lastly, white skinny keep going on about winter
whites."
hile I've been alternating For the sake of my rela-
een the blue denim and tionship, I didn't keep going
vhite jeans, I've unargu- on about winter whites. But
become co-dependent on what really is everyone's
atter, with one co-worker problem with a post-Labor
g "you've really been Day closet full of white?
ng those white pants According to a very thor-
." Was it a compliment? ough Google search, the
never know. But she whole "no white after Labor
ight - I've really been Day" schtick started over a
ng the shit out of them. hundred years ago as a way
d I haven't limited the for crotchety ladies to distin-
ice of color to my bot- guish women of new money
half, but gone so far as from those of old. It had to be
iite out my wardrobe as done.
as I can. White shoes, Yet here we are, decades
e button-ups, white bra and decades later still
feeling like making a upholding an old white lady
ment. It looks crisp and rule that has no relevance
and makes me feel very beyond 20th century society,
K-after-she-met-Kanye, which really had nothing going
h to me and a few other for it except, like, playing field
le (e.g. Kris Jenner) is hockey in floor length skirts.
Coco Chanel wore white
year round and the ever-per-
feet presence of winter whites
aka those of the off-white and
ajanas and cream variety have become
sartorially acceptable, and
tops, white yet falls and winters are still
saturated by darker palettes.
tould be OK, As awearer of primarily blacks
and neutrals, opening the
- doors to make wearing white
past late summer a socially
dered a good thing. acceptable custom has truly
I walked to meet my become my pilgrimage (in
iend at a friend's house addition to adopting a pug and
ther day, he came down telling everyone I know to get
airs and told me "Rob Venmo). In a world where we
ed you were wearing dq'.tgkg, second,glgpgegt
pants and said, 'doesn't the resurgence of crop tops
now it's after Labor and let pajamas become haute
couture, there's ample room
f course I know it's for all white wardrobes. Or,
Labor Day!" I defended. at the very least, me and my
des, that's so dated!" white jeans.

0

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proceeded to go to din-
ut I didn't let it go.
ore people should be

Harwood is avoiding drinks
that stain. To join her, e-mail

EVERYTHING WILL
BE ALL RIGHT IF
YOU JUST CLICK
M GFOLLOW."
@MICHIGANDAILY

T H E D'ART BOARD
Each week we take shots at the biggest
developments in the entertainment world.
Here's what hit (and missed) this week.
He kouldn d
Kris Jenner files for divorce fri
Jenner after 22-year
She said
Avril Lavigne to divo
Chad Kroeger after 1

Design by Gaby Vasquez
gins.
/aughn
'ue Detective"

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