A Beginner's Guide to Binge-Watching

A Beginner's Guide to Binge-Watching

Warning: this is not for the faint of heart.
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Binge-watching: it can be a pretty daunting task but when it comes down to it, I am a bit of a professional. I don't mean to brag, but I did watch all nine seasons of The Office in three weeks. And while some people—*cough* my family—may think that this is a problem, those of us who binge-watch know that it takes a special type of skill to accomplish such things. But it takes time to develop such a skill and we all must start somewhere. There are two ways that you can begin binge-watching: either dive directly into the deep end or ease into the kiddie pool slowly. But if you're not ready to dive head-first into this lifestyle and you feel you may need a guide, this is the post for you. Here are some steps to binge-watching.

Clear Your Schedule

This is going to take some time and it's best to start binge-watching with nothing else to do in your day. At the very least, the middle and later part of your day should be free for optimal viewing hours and comfort.

Stock Up!

It's best to get your snacks together before you watch the show so that you don't have to continuously pause for anything other than to pee. So grab your snacks, drinks, tissues, blanket, etc., and you're almost ready to begin!

Choose A Show

As long as the show has at least one season, you're good to binge-watch it. I typically just go with the first show on my Netflix or DramaFever list. The only time I choose differently is if there is a show that I have been putting off or I desperately need to catch up on—those types of shows always take priority.

Get Comfortable

Yes, you need to mentally prepare yourself for the hours of binge-watching you'll be doing. But you can also physically prepare yourself by getting settled in a spot that you can binge-watch in. Careful, this can be a difficult decision.

Do NOT Bring A Friend

Binge-watching with a friend can be fun but your first time should be by yourself. It's important for first-timers to discover their own speed. Feeling pressure from a friend to either stop watching or watch past your enjoyable limit can stop you from wanting to binge-watch anymore.

Press Play!

This is the easiest step. You've already made the choice and gotten comfortable. All that's left now is to begin binge-watching. But if you think that's the end of this guide, you're sorely mistaken.

Persevere

There comes a time in every binge-watcher's life that they are struck by the "itis." You may start to doze off a little, or you may start to become restless or maybe you just can't seem to focus on the episode. Whatever the form of "itis" you develop, it's important that you push through! When the going gets rough because Netflix keeps asking if you are still watching and you're stuck in a sea of ads, you push through and remember that nothing can come between you and your TV fix.

Order In

Trust me—you're going to want to order in food. The time it takes to cook a meal is time that you could be spending watching your show.

Make The Tough Choices

It always comes down to these choices: do I go to sleep before the sun comes up or do I finish these last few episodes? The choice is up to you. If the show is just that good, it might be worth fighting sleep.

By following these steps, you will begin your journey into the wonderful world of binge-watching. Happy watching!

Cover Image Credit: Wired

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Why High School Musicals Should Be As Respected As Sports Programs Are

The arts are important, too.
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When I was in middle school and high school, I felt like I lived for the musicals that my school orchestrated.

For those of you who don't know, a musical is an onstage performance wherein actors take on roles that involve singing, and often dancing, to progress the plot of the story. While it may sound a little bit nerdy to get up in front of an audience to perform in this manner, this is something you cannot knock until you try it.

For some reason, though, many public schools have de-funded arts programs that would allow these musicals to occur, while increasing the funding for sports teams. There are a few things that are being forgotten when sports are valued more than musical programs in high schools.

Much like athletic hobbies, an actor must try-out, or audition, to participate in a musical. Those best suited for each role will be cast, and those who would not fit well are not given a part. While this may sound similar to trying out for say, basketball, it is an apples to oranges comparison.

At a basketball try-out, those who have the most experience doing a lay-up or shooting a foul shot will be more likely to succeed, no questions asked. However, for an audition, it is common to have to learn a piece of choreography upon walking in, and a potential cast member will be required to sing a selected piece with only a few days of preparation.

There are many more variables involved with an audition that makes it that much more nerve-racking.

The cast of a school musical will often rehearse for several months to perfect their roles, with only several nights of performance at the end. Many sports practice for three or four days between each of their respective competitions. While this may seem to make sports more grueling, this is not always the case.

Musicals have very little pay-off for a large amount of effort, while athletic activities have more frequent displays of their efforts.

Athletes are not encouraged to but are allowed to make mistakes. This is simply not allowed for someone in a musical, because certain lines or entrances may be integral to the plot.

Sometimes, because of all the quick changes and the sweat from big dance numbers, the stage makeup just starts to smear. Despite this, an actor must smile through it all. This is the part of musicals that no sport has: introspection.

An actor must think about how he or she would respond in a given situation, be it saddening, maddening, frightening, or delightful. There is no sport that requires the knowledge of human emotion, and there is especially no sport that requires an athlete to mimic such emotion. This type of emotional exercise helps with communications and relationships.

Sports are great, don't get me wrong. I loved playing volleyball, basketball, track, and swimming, but there were no experiences quite like those from a musical. Sports challenge the body with slight amounts of tactic, while musicals require much physical and mental endurance.

The next time you hear someone say that it's “just a musical," just remember that musicals deserve as much respect as sports, since they are just as, if not more demanding.

Cover Image Credit: Cincinnati Arts

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10 Shows To Watch If You're Sick Of 'The Office'

You can only watch it so many times...

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"The Office" is a great show, and is super easy to binge watch over and over again! But if you're like me and you're looking for something new to binge, why not give some of these a try? These comedies (or unintentional comedies) are a great way to branch out and watch something new.

1. "New Girl"

A show about a group of friends living in an apartment in a big city? Sound familiar? But seriously, this show is original and fresh, and Nick Miller is an icon.

2. "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend"

Ya'll have been sleeping on this show. It's a musical comedy about a girl that follows her ex boyfriend across the country. I thought it sounded horrible so I put it off for WAY too long, but then I realized how incredible the cast, music, writing, and just EVERYTHING. It really brings important issues to light, and I can't say too much without spoiling it. Rachel Bloom (the creator of the show) is a woman ahead of her time.

3. "Jane the Virgin"

I know... another CW show. But both are so incredible! Jane The Virgin is a tongue-in-cheek comedy and parody of telenovelas. It has so many twists and turns, but somehow you find yourself laughing with the family.

4. "Brooklyn Nine-Nine"

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Brooklyn Nine-Nine has been in popular news lately since its cancellation by Fox and sequential pickup by NBC. It's an amazing show about cops in, you guessed it, Brooklyn. Created by the amazing Michael Schur, it's a safe bet that if you loved "The Office" you'll also love his series "Brooklyn Nine-Nine".

5. "The Good Place"

Another series created by the talented Micael Schur, it's safe to say you've probably already heard about this fantasy-comedy series. With a wonderful cast and writing that will keep you on your toes, the show is another safe bet.

6. "Fresh Off The Boat"

Seriously, I don't know why more people don't watch this show. "Fresh Off The Boat" focuses on an Asian family living in Orlando in the mid 90s. Randall Parks plays a character who is the polar opposite of his character in "The Interview" (Yeah, remember that horrifying movie?) and Constance Wu is wonderful as always.

7. "Full House"

Why not go back to the basics? If you're looking for a nostalgic comedy, go back all the way to the early days of Full House. If you're a '98-'00 baby like me, you probably grew up watching the Tanner family on Nick at Night. The entire series is available on Hulu, so if all else fails just watch Uncle Jesse and Rebecca fall in love again or Michelle fall off a horse and somehow lose her memory.

8. "Secret Life of the American Teenager"

Okay, this show is not a comedy, but I have never laughed so hard in my life. It's off Netflix but it's still on Hulu, so you can watch this masterpiece there. Watch the terrible acting and nonsense plot twists drive this show into the ground. Somehow everyone in this school dates each other? And also has a baby? You just have to watch. It might be my favorite show of all time.

9. "Scrubs"

Another old show that is worth watching. If you ignore the last season, Scrubs is a worthwhile medical comedy about doctors in both their personal and medical life. JD and Turk's relationship is one to be jealous of, and one hilarious to watch. Emotional at times, this medical drama is superior to any medical drama that's out now.

10. "Superstore"

I was resistant to watch this one at first, because it looked cheesy. But once I started watching I loved it! The show is a workplace comedy, one you're sure to love if you can relate to working in retail. If you liked the Office, you'll like Superstore!

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