With the more intense workload I have accumulated as a new college student, it is reasonable that I haven’t been consuming half the media I did when I was back home. That being said, in the time I do have, I find myself ignoring the newest hits on Netflix in favor of old favorites.
I have rewatched the classic movie Ferris Bueller’s Day Off dozens of times. I find compilations of bits from Impractical Jokers on YouTube, all of which I have seen already. I have only created a single Spotify playlist which I haven’t updated in months and would bring professional playlist curators to tears.
The only new content I consume comes from social media, but how new is it? My TikTok “For You” page is flooded with videos of influencers trying on the same filters, doing the same dances, and writing the same type of text over videos with the same audio in the background.
Arriving at Boston University put into perspective how “uncultured” I am when it comes to movies, TV shows, and music. I can’t count how many times I smiled and shook my head when asked, “You’ve never seen La La Land?” during orientation week.
A few reasons have contributed to my chronic rewatching.
For one, I have developed an intense mindset of productivity culture. I always have to be working on something, so I never have time to just relax.
When I start watching a new show or listening to a new album, I want to put all of my attention into it. However, that isn’t productive when I should be writing my essay or getting ahead on my readings for class. Every opening in my schedule must be filled with work that will help me stay on top of things and be free later, but I hardly ever use that free time when “later” comes.
Therefore, I often end up listening to music or putting on a show as “background noise” while I do my work. This causes me to opt for content I’m familiar with, so as not to get distracted from my assignments.
Another reason is simply laziness. Why pick a new movie to watch tonight when I know I like this one that I’ve seen a dozen times? Why create a new playlist on Spotify if I have one already made?
It takes work to listen to new music or watch new movies. Of course, it doesn’t take that much work — just a few extra clicks. But the convenience of opening Spotify and choosing from your recently played options or the “Watch Again” category on Netflix is too tempting for someone like me who’s looking for an easy wind-down after a long day.
A final reason is choice paralysis. There is so much content out there for us to choose from, so it becomes near impossible for me to decide what to watch or listen to next.
I haven’t seen Succession yet. I know Fleabag is a hit. I understand that Guts by Olivia Rodrigo and Scarlet by Doja Cat are must-listen albums, and believe me, I want to jam out to more than just the 15-second snippets of “get him back!” and “Paint the Town Red” that I constantly hear on TikTok.
Despite all of these reasons for my current state as a chronic rewatcher, I have a plan to incorporate more new content into my life.
I plan to watch an episode of a new show at least once a week to try and get hooked on a new series.
I’ll listen to a new song every once in a while rather than overzealously plan to listen to an artist’s entire discography and categorize their songs into a thousand mood-themed playlists. I’m not that kind of listener, and that’s okay.
My roommate is one of the biggest cinephiles I’ve ever met, so she’s been great at helping me discover new movies. Last week, we watched You’ve Got Mail for the first time, and we already plan to do movie marathons for The Godfather and Twilight. I plan to let friends choose what we watch, so I can discover and share in some of their favorites too.
It’s time to forget extensive watchlists and try to pick the first new show that sparks our interest.