Netflix And The Insane Pressure To Keep Up With It

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A couple of months back, Netflix announced its first Indian original series- Sacred Games. The series took the Indian market by storm and there was a race to finish watching it to catch up with the cultural conversation.

I was traveling the week Sacred Games was released- worse- I couldn’t watch the show. And every time I would indulge in a conversation with my friends or scroll through my social media feed, it would hit me. FOMO. The pressure to keep up in the race. To keep my meme game strong. 

In this busy world, where we are already running to survive and keep up with the competition, this chore of binge-watching intimidates me, where everyone flies through a whole week to catch up with the trend.

It’s astounding when I look back and see how fast we have entered into a world where keeping up with latest shows and binge-watching is not just a norm, it’s encouraged. It’s like you just had a big slice of chocolate cake and just when you are trying to calm your sweet tooth down, someone offers you another slice- something you would love but is unhealthy to a large extent.

When you don’t keep up with the trend, your friends assume your inability to binge-watch or, worse, your disinterest in brilliant shows, art and cinema. You are berated for not taking out time to keep yourself updated or learn things in this age of digital media.

Sometimes, I watch series recommended by my friends but finishing it feels more like a chore and less like the entertainment that it is supposed to be. You feel a social pressure to catch up to what the rest of the world is watching. However, the fault lies in us since we have accepted this norm of keeping ourselves updated- even if we don’t like the medium of entertainment- or not to mention withdrawal symptoms.

Moreover, if you are a week late to catch up with a particular show, you already get to know the end- courtesy spoilers- and the entire build up shatters in a minute. When you know how something ends, it ruins the story, but you finish the show anyway to complete the ritual of watching the story unfold. I know people who go to great lengths to avoid spoilers until they can sit down and watch the whole story in one go.  

Many people count down the weeks or months until a new season starts- no matter how hectic their lives get-they find a standing date to watch. If you look back, you will see that this is not how we used to watch television. You would indulge in a conversation with people around you while some show droned on in the background. It was also family dinner time where everyone ate together while watching something on the TV in between. That was entertaining.

But this is not how it is today. We are on the hard stuff today- where we don’t like to talk to anyone while watching a show. And when someone has to say something, we first go to the pause button.

This culture of binge-watching also robs us of time- and makes us struggle with our physical and mental health. It has become like a task where you have to meet the deadline. Else, you would not be able to be a part of the cultural conversation. While physical conversations have been replaced by Netflix and Chill, we also regret of spending the time on creative endeavors we have at the back of our brains.

It’s time we question why we, as a modern society, have made this trend so important that it deprives us of the basic happiness and satisfaction that we seek in our daily lives. Why we have let digital content overpower our minds and made it a part of our culture where we are constantly looked down upon to have not been updated with the latest shows.

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Shubha Shrivastava

An escapist from the worldly problems, seeking solace in words. Discovering the unknown and the unsung and telling their stories, one at a time.

About the Author

Shubha Shrivastava

An escapist from the worldly problems, seeking solace in words. Discovering the unknown and the unsung and telling their stories, one at a time.

Read more from Shubha