What I See with Peter Fiorenza: Diving into the pros and cons of television binge-watching

Peter FiorenzaGeraldton Guardian
Are you a fan of binge-watching? Or do you believe it’s bad for you?
Camera IconAre you a fan of binge-watching? Or do you believe it’s bad for you? Credit: Kaspars Grinvalds - stock.adobe.

What do Ray Trapani, Jens Soering, Anne Boleyn, Katherine Hepburn and Cary Grant all have in common?

This unlikely bunch all played their part in my Christmas-New Year TV binge, that’s what.

There is no doubt the term “binge watching” has become part of the common vernacular. Despite thinking it is not the best way to spend time, I hate to say, it’s something I have started to do, especially during this time of the year.

Maybe it’s a way of relaxation and recharging the batteries, or is it just a negative habit?

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According to an internet source, binge watching dates back to the early 2000s.

Procon.org suggests it really came into its own when streaming giant, Netflix, released all 13 episodes in the final season of the popular drama, House of Cards, instead of posting an episode each week.

And by 2015, “ binge-watch” was declared the word of the year by the Collins English Dictionary.

But is it a good or bad thing?

Procon.org lists three pros and cons.

The listed pros for binge-watching are that it establishes beneficial social connections, has health benefits like stress relief and makes a show more fulfilling. On the con-side, binge-watching can lead to mental health issues, cause serious physical health problems and make a show less fulfilling.

What side of the argument do you belong to?

Another site, nm.org, states binge-watching could produce a natural high.

“When you engage in an activity you enjoy, your brain produces dopamine — a chemical that promotes feelings of pleasure, excitement and happiness,” it states.

But we cannot neglect the evidence there can also be negative side effects.

In my opinion, a good aspect of TV today is that because you have a choice, you can continually stimulate the brain. And, personally, that has been my experience.

Now, back to my binge-watching list at the start of the column.

During the Christmas-New Year break, I learnt that Ray Trapani is sheer affirmation that our world continues to produce extraordinary characters, Jan Soering exposed how our justice system is certainly not perfect, Anne Boleyn was a remarkable woman for her time and movie stars Cary Grant and Katherine Hepburn were not who many thought they were.

If this doesn’t make sense or you need to know more, I suggest you too have a good binge.

Peter Fiorenza is a City of Greater Geraldton councillor and hosts Fiorenza on Sunday on Radio MAMA, which returns to air in early February.

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