Dear Netflix: On my weekly writing process

“Every week, without fail, I get undeniably obsessed with my subject series.”

Dear Netflix,

Wanna know something terrible?

I didn’t watch a new series this week. Yeah, I’m writing this at 7 p.m. on a Thursday night (when I’d normally be sitting down to the pilot of another Netflix gem), but I’ve decided to boycott the effort this issue.

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It is my column, after all.

I wanted to take this week (in the midst of all the True/False mayhem and my exhaustion from a test and paper due earlier today) to give y’all some insight into my “Dear Netflix” process.

It starts on Thursdays. While I’m not a natural-born procrastinator, I like to think I married into the family. I’m really really busy, so seeing me start something earlier than 24 hours ahead of time should definitely make you turn your head nowadays.

I watch about three episodes to write my column each week. If it’s a completely new series to me, these are usually the first three episodes of the series itself.

The cycle goes: two Thursday night, bed at midnight. Up Friday at 6 a.m., watch another, then write until class at 10. Due at 11.

Thursday mornings I’ll try and figure out what I’ll be watching that night. I usually do this by: a. scrolling through my Netflix suggestions for hours; b. asking friends; and c. on occasion, revisiting a childhood favorite.

The suggestions on Netflix itself aren’t a fair bet because my boyfriend (who watches an eclectic mix of cartoons and documentaries about weed) and my roommate (a Vampire Diaries fan) both share a Netflix account with me.

My own taste, which lies somewhere between crappy reality shows you can’t talk much about in a column (RIP Mirjana from “ANTM” ☹) and overly dramatic anything with a strong female lead and lots of offhanded misogyny (see: “Scandal,” “Weeds,” etc.), is rarely represented when I log on.

What I’m getting at is that it takes some digging to get to the good stuff. And by good stuff, I mean the completely subjective subset of Netflix I decide is worthy of my viewing.

Sometimes, my decisions turn out to be flubs. However, more often than not, the time I spend deciding what to watch ends up rewarding me in the long run.

As it turns out, I know myself pretty well, and can usually pick a TV show that I’ll be passionate about. What I hadn’t banked on when I started this column was that I would pick a TV show that I’d be so passionate about every single week I wrote.

As a journalist, I’ve grown used to getting attached to the subjects I write about. When I wrote about the Department of Student Activities’ Speakers Committee, I wanted to join; when I wrote about theater I wanted to act; when I wrote about Sir Sly last week, I wanted to be a groupie.

When you devote your energy fully to understanding someone or something, you grow to love it in a way, and you want to continue to experience it for as long as possible.

The funny thing about writing a column regarding Netflix is that when I invest myself fully in the characters in my TV shows, and I mean completely delve into their psyches, there’s still a whole lot left of them open for me to discover when I’m done writing the article.

I stop writing and I’m still hooked. That’s not a cliché, or just me talking out of my ass. Every week, without fail, I get undeniably obsessed with my subject series.

It’s terrible, really. Where beforehand I could never find anything to watch, I now have an ever-growing list of series I’m convinced I need to watch in their entirety.

This past week, I’ve crammed in more “Orange is the New Black” than I have of any series in the past.

Perhaps that’s why I decided to have a “skip” week. I needed to be obsessed a few more days. Did you hear season three’s coming out soon?

We’re not even gonna talk about how behind I am on “HoC” now.

Ever yours, Netflix,

Elana

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