I’m in a funk. It’s a beautiful day, but there’s a fire somewhere and the smoke is burning my throat. So I put away my garden tools and check to see if the coast is clear. Then I slink into the house, turn on the TV and let Netflix load.
Binge watching TV has replaced afternoon drinking as the way to avoid the boring things in life, like chores. I’m a serious reader with an obligation to my local library, but Don Draper keeps calling my name. His slicked back hair, immobile face and no nonsense tone compel me to drop what I’m doing and tune in. Especially when he says, “Betty, its going to be fine.” I know, Don. And thanks for the reassurance.
We have a complicated relationship, he and I. For one thing, I can’t trust him. These Mad Men and their lying ways. They spend their days making up stories about products, and their nights lying to their wives. “Just off to meet a client, honey.” Sure thing, Don. Roger. Pete. All you lusty, smoking, hard drinking men with your pressed shirts and suave ways.
Supposedly the series is a comedy. Well, I’m not laughing. Neither is Don’s wife, Betty. In fact, I think she only smiled twice during the first three seasons. The show was produced by AMC, who also made Breaking Bad and the Walking Dead. Of the three series, this one is the darkest. Sure, Jessie is chained in the basement cooking meth in the first. Zombies are trying to kill off the remaining humans in the second. But still.
Misogyny. People who smoke and drink day and night. (My chest gets tight just from watching.) Men who lie without turning a hair on their brylcreemed heads. Women named Sweetheart and Dear who choose to believe them. Characters so complicated, no therapist can ever sort through the dark closets of their psyches.
Remember this. If you’re going to binge watch Netflix shows, make sure you have a plausible story lined up. Grab a dust cloth. Take out the vacuum cleaner. And be careful. Once you fall down that rabbit hole, its very hard to find your way out again. To help kick the Netflix habit, find a supportive group. Once you’ve shared your concerns and confessed your darkest fears, there just might be time left over for to turn on Netflix and find a new series.