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Column: Binge viewing plans nearly collapse like house of cards


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My wife and I went on a binge last week. If you think I’m talking about an eating binge, you’ve never seen how skinny we are. If you think I mean a shopping binge, you don’t know how cheap we are. And if you think it was a cleaning binge, you’ve never been in our basement.

The binge we went on was a little embarrassing. I will admit that, after we were done, it would have been inappropriate to drive. Oh, we weren’t drinking. But we were much too tired to get behind the wheel. We had just watched 14 episodes of the Netflix series, “House of Cards,” the political drama starring Kevin Spacey as the conniving congressman and then vice president of the United States.

Binge watching, as most of you know, is the act of viewing all of — or a good portion of — a particular TV series in one sitting. Generally, the term is restricted to contemporary critically acclaimed television shows, so if you once sat through 39 episodes of “The Honeymooners” or 234 of “Leave it to Beaver,” well that doesn’t qualify (although you would have impressed the heck out of me).

As I reported a couple of weeks ago in this column, Mary Ellen and I only recently purchased our new Blu-ray player, and we were still a little rusty on handling the technology; but we did want to watch this series that everyone was talking about. I was reluctant, however, because I was afraid if we viewed anything on Netflix I wouldn’t know how to get back to regular television.

So on a Monday afternoon we started with Season 1, Episode 1. We watched for about six straight hours, until we realized that by being glued to the TV for this show we were avoiding any communication with each other. So we switched to ABC and turned on “Dancing with the Stars,” where we could discuss which dancers were probably romantically involved. Later in the evening, we went back to “House of Cards.” Yes, I figured out how to make that switch … at least I thought so.

We were soon totally shocked to see (SPOLIER ALERT) the vice president push (SPOILER ALERT) a newspaper reporter in front of a (SPOILER ALERT) moving train. “Well I didn’t see that coming,” my wife said. (Note: Neither did the reporter, by the way).

“I must say,” Mary Ellen continued , “this was a very unexpected development here in Episode 14.”

“Wait a second,” I said, as the show ended and we watched the previews, “ I think that was number 16. Not 14. That’s why we were totally surprised. We missed two episodes. Netflix must have still been running while we were watching ‘Dancing with the Stars.’”

“Oh no, Dick, now we have to go back and watch 14 and 15.”

“We can’t do that. That would make both those episodes flashbacks. I hate flashbacks. Not only that, if we watch episodes 14 and 15, then what will we do when we reach Episode 16? I don’t want to watch it again. We already know what happens. And if we try to skip it, Netflix may take us back to Episode 1.”

We watched 14 and 15 and then 16 (again) and soon got up to date for this season. We’ll both be glad when it’s over. Mary Ellen said she’s had enough of Spacey pandering to the public for votes, breaking the rules and destroying the competition.

I didn’t have the heart to tell her that next year Spacey will do exactly the same thing again … this time on “Dancing with the Stars.”

Television personality Dick Wolfsie writes this weekly column for the Daily Journal. Send comments to letters@dailyjournal.net.

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