With 2016 upon us, television season is about to be in full swing, with premieres galore, mid-season premieres galore, the Golden Globes this weekend and – most importantly – ABC’s 1,000 word hashtags flying in our direction as frequently as new January cleanses. Therefore, the responsible thing to do is take time to recognize an affliction we all suffer from when it comes to our favorite TV shows returning…Can you guess what it is?
We’re all familiar with the after-effects of the eight-season-binge-watch (made possible by providers like Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu) which can include sensitivity to sunlight, a temporary inability to interact with other human beings and a deep sense of hopelessness only cured by A. a new season or B. a diversionary show that will make the subject temporarily forget former said show. Still, there are three other serious afflictions that go widely unrecognized in media today: Character-channeling, wardrobe-channeling, and in the absolute worst case – both simultaneously.
Character or wardrobe-channeling are often done subconsciously, and can be characterized as a kind of trance that the viewer needs to be snapped out of, whether by their friends, their family, their pets or their colleagues.
If you’ve ever become an addict of a show like ABC’s How To Get Away With Murder, or namely binge-watched it, you may have found yourself ambling through your home at night with a drink, sporting a skin tight Alexander McQueen or Victoria Beckham dress, with the weight of the world on your shoulders as you pace from left to right. Suddenly – whether by your dog’s bark or someone entering your apartment – you come to. You slowly turn to the mirror the same way Hermione Granger examines herself after a mean bout of Polyjuice Potion. It hits you: You’re not Viola Davis/Annalise Keating, and you don’t have a huge murder case on your hands to get to the bottom, with court just hours away. You’re an associate editor and work’s been relatively stress-free this week…
Or maybe you’ve been smoking out of a windowsill in a color-blocked Narciso Rodriguez dress. It was only in the moment when you practically coughed up a lung that you realized: You don’t even smoke cigarettes, and you can’t afford yet another power-suit…even if House of Cards’ Claire Underwood has a closet full of them.
And we know, the world seems dramatic and exciting now that you’re subconsciously channeling SVU’s Olivia Benson, but you’re not her – and the scoop neck three-quarter-sleeve top and flares doesn’t work on you…or anyone besides Mariska Hargitay for that matter.
And when you ask your coworker to print out your 3PM presentation on his color printer in the same tone Olivia Pope uses when she exclaims “Fix it!” to her gladiators-in-suits on Scandal, you need to realize you’re just freaking him – and the guy in the cubicle next to his – out.
What better way to make all this even more clear than with a ninetie’s reference? Friends’ Joey and Chandler had the same problem when they randomly got free porn that wouldn’t turn off (so basically the twentieth century version of full seasons dropping on Netflix). They abandoned their day jobs to binge-watch porn, and after awhile, the two couldn’t comprehend things like going to the bank and not having the hot teller have sex with them in the vault, or the pizza delivery girl not commenting on the size of their bedrooms. Character-channeling.
The point is, Chandler and Joey eventually turned off the porn, which was a thing even harder in their day – a time when the binge-watch was scarcely possible, rather a mere twinkle of a possibility in Rachel Green’s eye. If they could do it, so can you. Avoid these afflictions by going for a walk, getting fresh air, and taking binge-watch-breaks. And stop knocking your ring on the table every time you leave the conference room…it’s bad for the gold plating.
-From a self-proclaimed character/wardrobe-channeler (the first step is admitting you have a problem)