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Culture > Entertainment

The Case Against Binge-Watching

If you’re anything like me, you probably plan out your afternoons and evenings around your favorite TV show whenever a new season is available. And instead of savoring every episode and taking your time to watch the season, you probably binge-watch the whole thing in one sitting — sometimes for over 10 hours straight.

When the first part of season 4 of Stranger Things became available on Netflix on May 27, 2022, your TikTok FYP was probably full of fan edits (some containing lots of spoilers), not even 24 hours after the episodes dropped. It’s understandable: fans sometimes have to wait over two years for a new season of their favorite show. And Stranger Things, for example, had a three-year gap between the release of seasons 3 and 4. It’s normal that fans wanted to basically inhale every single episode as soon as they become available — I know I did. But, is binge-watching the best way to consume media?

I don’t think so.

BInge-Watching Eliminates community in person and irl

Take Euphoria nights, for example. On January 9, 2022, HBO released the second season of the show, and the fans got a new episode every Sunday—which dubbed it the official Euphoria day. Everyone and their mothers were watching the show, commenting about it on social media (even Euphoria actor Angus Cloud joined us), and discussing details and possible easter eggs during the entire week until the next episode was available. Euphoria fans created an online —and real-life— community, almost like a type of book club, to dissect every episode, create memes about it, and experience the show together. Some people took the community to the next level, inviting their friends over to watch the show together with snacks, face masks, and glittery drinks to celebrate a long week of waiting.

Instead of viral trends and dances, TikTok became Euphoria-infested, and suddenly everyone wanted to comment on it. When will Rue have a break? What are Nate’s motives for acting like that? What the hell is wrong with Cassie? When will Fez and Lexi meet again? Who IS THE THIRD KID IN THE PHOTO?!


In my friend group, we have a tradition of binge-watching TV shows and then commenting about them after we’ve finished all the episodes. On July 1, 2022, when the second part of season 4 of Stranger Things dropped, I basically glued my eyes to my TV screen for a few hours, then messaged my friends to comment about it. We talked about the major things that had happened but somehow had already forgotten the minor details we would’ve definitely talked about had we not binge-watched for hours. 

My passion for creating communities around TV shows I love has, probably, a lot to do with my culture. As a Latina, I grew up watching telenovelas, and the episodes would drop either weekly, bi-weekly, or every day, from Monday – Saturday. I remember eating dinner quickly to not miss a single second of the episodes, and after watching I’d comment about them with family and friends. Print magazines would even make theories about the next episodes, and families would reunite in front of the television to watch them together. I still have photos I took as a child of my TV screen on my old Nintendo DS from the last episode of my favorite telenovela, which I, of course, cried when it ended, and still remember fondly to this day.

BUT, at this point, you almost have to binge-watch

But can’t we go against “binge-watching culture” and watch one episode at a time, even if all the episodes are available already? Of course, but it’s not the same thing. Not only are you risking receiving a major spoiler every time you scroll through social media, but everyone you know probably has binge-watched the series already and can also probably accidentally spoil you. Binge-watching is the opposite of creating an online community: instead of wanting to go on social media to see all the theories and commentary on your favorite show, you might avoid social media to not receive spoilers from those who have already seen all the episodes.

As a very anxious viewer, however, I’ll keep binge-watching TV shows, because even though I love online communities created around TV shows, I hate spoilers and won’t risk them. But my appreciation for TV shows like Euphoria and WandaVision, which go against binge-watching culture, will remain intact, and their online communities will always be appreciated. I really do wish networks released more shows with weekly episodes — but until they do, I’ll remain a part of binge culture. 

Carolina is a national contributing writer and was formerly a summer and fall 2021 editorial intern at Her Campus. She's a Brazilian journalist and writer, and she's very passionate about TikTok, coffee shops, and Taylor Swift.