OR, The Real Reason why I Won't Let Anyone1 Be my Netflix Friend.
Potential Netflix friend: "Wow, so uh, how's it going with Season Three of The O.C? Three stars, that's it? And only two for Once and Again? I never get any recs from you. I mean--I saw that you've got Just My Luck in your cue--
Friend: You really should give Goddard a chance.
Me: Did he write Ally McBeal?
Friend: No, he's French.
Me: Oh yeah, the waiting guy.
"Friend": The what?
Me: You know, "What are you waiting for? We're waiting for Goddard--"
[Friend punches me in the face with North by Northwest, which p.s., I hated but not as much as I hated Citizen Kane. I mean, it's no West Wing.]
Some of my favorite inventions of the last ten years, as you may or may not already know, include: Easy-Mac, ipods and Seasonal Affective Disorder. But one of the really big ones is TV-on-DVD. Like how you can watch an entire season of a show in two days, depending on
Co-Worker (let's call him Milton): Hey mister, you look like total crap! You must have had quite a crazy night last night, huh, playa?
You: Oh, no, it's Ted who has the Crystal Meth problem. He really hit rock bottom last night.
Milton: Geez, that must have been some party. Meth! Geez!
Milton: Yeah, with uh---Ted?
You: Oh, no. Ted lives in Pittsburgh.
Milton: You went to Pittsburgh last night? You ARE a PLAYA!
You: No, I was in bed eating string cheese and push pops. And watching TV--well--not TV exactly, it's actually on DVD that I get from Netflix--but it's like--very real to me, you know?
Milton: (laughs like you just made a joke) Did you even brush your hair today?
You: (grab co-worker by the hair, kick him in the balls) Say NO TO PROPOSITION 14, BITCH!
Basically, I'm on the last disc of the Queer as Folk series and I consider these boys to be my friends. I have only one episode left. What will i do without my boys? I've been known to anticipate going home after a mediocre night out, expecting to chill with Brian Kinney and Mel+Linds. They have invaded my consciousness. Hour-long television dramas were not designed to be watched all in a row. Doing so can cause bad things, like confusing my actual family with The Fishers from Six Feet Under or confusing our actual government with Jeb Bartlett's White House on The West Wing. Which has it's benefits.
My old roommate, Lo, was a master of rationing episodes of television shows, which she often watched twice (once with commentary, once without) to extend the pleasure. I have no such self-discipline.
Ok, there are three different types of TV shows you can watch on DVD:
"I've never seen this show, but it's still on."
e.g. The O.C, Nip/Tuck, Grey's Anatomy, The L Word, Lost, Gilmore Girls
Benefits: When you are out of DVDs, you know that a new season of new episodes will arrive on your television set within a few months. The stories are still progressing. Nate has not died yet. Life stretches before you: glorious, promising, beautiful.
Drawbacks: The pace of the show as it unfolds on actual television will feel like you are on Weight Watchers and whereas you used to eat the entire pizza in one sitting, now you can only have one piece a week, and that's not a lot of calcium, and you're a growing boy, etc. After my relationship with Shane progressed so rapidly during Krista and I's week-long L Word Season One marathon, Season Two felt like slow water torture.
"I never saw this show when it was on, and now it's over."
e.g. Sex and the City, Queer as Folk, The West Wing, Dawson's Creek, Six Feet Under, Party of Five.
Benefits: You've got so much episode backstock that you're bound to get at least a 1-2 month relationship with these people. For a sucessful network show, like Dawson's Creek or Buffy the Vampire Slayer, you've got several months of escapism on your hands. And it's so sweet, like candy from a baby.
Drawbacks: The story is over. Nate has already died. Jen died too. Everyone is dead. Or married. Or like, moving. Somewhere. To sad music. Usually you also like, already know what happened, too, which kinda spoils it. Or makes it better, like knowing that Justin and Brian would eventually get married enabled me to make it through the rough spots of their relationship without panic.
"I never saw this show when it was on. Actually, no one did really. So it got canned."
Once and Again, Freaks and Geeks, Wonderfalls, My So Called-Life
Benefits: Access to the complete series means you can pace yourself appropriately, there is also rarely a wait. If it had a good run, you've got some time with the people.
Drawbacks: Shows that have been unceremoniously canceled usually don't have that grand hoo-hah known as the "Season Finale," which is when everything that would have ruined the show and made it boring in Season Two gets to happen to let us all end happy, or when someone dies from licking envelopes.
Moral: Jordan never really figured out how to read, and Brian never got laid, but at least they never died.
1: While living with Lo, she became my Netflix friend. Recently Janet made the same request. So, you know, there's that. Luckily, for every foreign black-and-white film, one of them gets the entire first season of Ally McBeal or, you know, Firm Up with Weights. But I'm not naming names. I'm just sayin'.