Life As We Blow It: All binge, no purge

Do alternatives to cable TV offer more than gluttony?

Several months ago, we “cut the cord” and got rid of cable TV at home.

It seemed like a win-win at the time. We’d save money; we’d spend fewer hours in front of the tube, flipping through programs we weren’t really interested in watching in the first place. We didn’t watch a whole hell of a lot of TV anyway, and with the plethora of subscription streaming services available, we’d be covered on about 85 percent of the stuff we cared about.

(Plus, I follow a lot of tech blogs, and while I can’t afford to be what they call an “early adopter,” I’m definitely the kind of person that gets sort of all itchy and sweaty and excited whenever a new smartphone or online trend of which I might possibly attempt to avail myself comes along.)

So I talked Rebecca into canceling our cable TV subscription — picking up a sweet new deal on our monthly broadband Internet contract in the process — and added another one of those futuristic hockey pucks that connect the TV to the web to our home network, which already included one that I, as a half-assed tech dabbler, had been half-assedly dabbling with.

It took a little getting used to; when you’re conditioned to watch your stories at a certain time on a certain night, you definitely feel it when that particular routine is upset. But hey, we watched stuff a couple of nights later, when it became available on Hulu. We went back and checked out our favorite episodes from the previous season. We toggled between services, refining our new viewing habits to make sure shows about which we couldn’t care less auto-played throughout the night via the Roku connected to the TV in our bedroom, because we’ve both slept with the TV on for most of our adult lives, and we weren’t about to give that shit up.

We re-trained ourselves. We were no longer reliant on network or cable television schedules. We were free. It didn’t seem like any big deal.
Fast forward a few months, to now.

Now, I’m watching more TV than I ever have in my life.

I’ve watched every available episode of Justified. Every available episode of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Every available episode of Party Down. Every available episode of Supernatural — twice, because apparently I missed some key plot developments (?!) while working or napping, and also because I love cheesy monster shows.

Do you know what’s almost as good as watching one episode of your first-choice program? Watching every episode of your second choice.
We were gonna cancel Netflix, because it’s basically the same as Amazon Prime Video, but then Netflix got Melrose Place, and Rebecca could suddenly relate to my developing problem in a very personal way.

(I have also succumbed to the charms of Melrose Place. Wait, do we have Charmed?)

So how has this efficient, convenient, life-changing technology benefited me, beyond saving a couple of bucks and enabling me to avoid extended workplace conversations about new episodes of programs that are actually on TV now, in real time?

I’m not sure. I’ll figure it out after I catch up on Bob’s Burgers and The League


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