Slave to the Series

 Square-eyed life



My partner and I were sitting on the couch, having just finished watching a series of American Horror Story on Netflix when a strange conversation took place.

I haven’t watched television for years because of adverts, and a general lack of good content. And I could never organise myself around the worthy series properly, so just never bothered.

A while ago I purchased an Apple TV box and have still preferred to watch a film rather than commit myself to an expensive series and all the viewing time required.

But my significant other got Netflix as part of some plan or another. And presto, he became glued to the TV, watching series after series that we’d both been hearing about, while I’ve been writing my articles.

Walking past the lounge on the way to my office, I have regularly been getting caught up too. I only need to see a few scenes — especially if I’m procrastinating — before I’m hooked. Suddenly, I’ve set sail on the high sea on Vikings (like seriously, Ruth? Vikings?) In truth I’ve become a “series addict” and it’s happened in a very short time now, combining Netflix and/or Apple box as the vehicle.

But now the big commitment: To buy or not to buy the entire set of Game of Throneswhich we haven’t yet seen — but know we will love? A conversation came up, first as a joke but then it got serious. If we broke up who would keep the series? Would he still be able to come over; would he get the rights to my iTunes password or me his? What is series etiquette in a divorce?

Jokes aside, I actually started to ponder the whole idea of breaking up in the time of Series-on-Demand technology. And it occurred to me that probably we never would because of it. I’m presuming less and less people are in fact breaking up because of Netflix and Apple TV, Stan and others.

Just like having kids used to keep couples together, now series do. Bonded by conversations about whether Bob should have done this or that. There is no need to talk too much or go deeply into the “Do you still love me?” routine. No time to argue about why the bill wasn’t paid; no bickering over chores or incompatibilities — just doing dishes together to speed things up, then rushing back to the set after dinner to hours of pure heart-stopping excitement. Or dealing with grief together when the series ends and your friends go bye-byes.

I’m sure that if you are in a long-term partnership all the things you used to love about each other come flooding back as you sit eating chocolate and laughing, crying, sharing the virtual experience, no longer bored with the same stale routines. And then you can find friends and do the same; a foursome? “Couples wanted to veg out on our couch and watch Netflix then go to dinner and discuss.” So reads my putative ad on Gumtree.

A friend says it’s got all the joys of watching her husband pushing the kids on the swings in the park, once-upon-a-time. “So sweet, sharing the laughing and crying.”

According to relationships experts, Series-surfing is a form of escapism; virtual reality can mask issues that aren’t being dealt with in relationships, just as having young families used to, or going away with friends — always! Never left alone together.

Sure it can, but do I want to deal with real-life issues any more? The fact is for most people the things in relationships that haven’t got better over the years won’t, the great things are still great. And spending a few hours living behind a prison wall being ravaged by lesbians is much more interesting than fussing about it.

It’s like falling in love again; and there are so many new people in our lives, Viking warriors, vampires doing erotic things with food, the sharing of other people’s problems. Ahhhh, yes! We will probably soon be investing in a new comfy couch.

The new catchcry: “Till death of the next series do us part.”


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