We at the Clog love lots of things about summer. We love sunshine, lemonade, cool popsicle recipes and finally exploring the city, and we also like wearing comfy old T-shirts, planting ourselves on the couch and watching 15 straight hours of television.
Binge watching is one of the great joys of vacation time, but it’s also an unhealthy, somewhat obsessive commitment, and there are definitely some shows that are best consumed more like a vitamin and less like a big, crispy bag of chips. For sanity’s sake, here are the shows you might want to take in smaller doses.
Do not watch all seven seasons of a misanthropic but also hot Hugh Laurie yelling at people, yell-flirting with Cuddy and solving medical mysteries in the nick of time, unless you’re ready to embrace life as a raging, paranoid hypochondriac. Every spot is malignant, every headache a neurological disaster and every discomfort a rare parasite, and the slight, dull pain in your chest that struck you in the frozen-food aisle of Trader Joe’s is a slow-building heart attack or hopefully just stable angina. Web M.D. says your lower-back pain could be the result of inactivity or lumbar degenerative disc disease. Either way, you should probably get an MRI.
This is not a fun state of mind. Don’t do this.
A lot of binge watching happens between the hours of midnight and 4 a.m., curled up in bed, bleary eyed, clean-toothed and comfortably full from dinner. Or so you thought. The addictive format of “Chopped” — four chefs, three rounds, mystery baskets that reveal cool uses for marshmallows, a fancy-but-comforting host and a panel of “esteemed” judges who eat everything like it smells funny — means you’ll keep watching, and the qualified-people-making-food aspect leaves you hungry. In the middle of the night. In your home, where, chances are, nobody has bothered to cook you up some pan-seared salmon with a red-wine reduction and watercress puree at 3:35 a.m. (Side note: What is a reduction?)
On anything less than a revoltingly full stomach, food shows will make you sad. Even then, the sandwich you made yourself to stave off the hunger pales in comparison with the deconstructed bruschetta that the spunky sous chef with bigger dreams just cooked up onscreen.
- “Law & Order: SVU”
The following applies to all procedurals — “CSI,” “Criminal Minds,” “NCIS” and any other crime shows we may be forgetting — but we’re going with “SVU” because 1) it’s on Netflix, 2) we watched a bunch in high school, and 3) Mariska Hargitay is hot and cool. Also, it’s 16 seasons in and therefore ripe for long-term binge watching. Which is a terrible idea. Excessive procedural watching leads to a crippling fear of cabs, Craigslist, Airbnb, nice strangers, doing anything that will make people angry (and therefore turn them into murderers) and all vans. To make matters worse, you will think that jury duty will be super interesting — and it won’t be, at which point your annoyance may fester into anger … and that anger may drive you to murder!
- “Lie to Me”
“Lie to Me” is also a crime procedural and comes with all the same paranoia and misinformation of “SVU.” But there’s more! Cal Lightman is a moody, genius psychologist who reads microexpressions to uncover deception. A microexpression is a fleeting, involuntary facial expression or tick that reveals truth. The “loving” husband was twiddling his thumbs — he killed her! The result of powering your way through a show such as this is that you may find yourself staring really intently at people, looking for that lying flash on their eyebrows. But because you are not a qualified psychologist with a cool accent, you will actually just be staring really hard at people, and it will be very weird.
Image source: Daniel Fleming via Creative Commons