Rewatchers, Unite!

I’m going to start out by saying that you’re going to hear a lot about TV on this blog. So sit back and relax for the next 90 minutes while you enjoy a documentary on the origin of the television.


Well, kidding about the documentary part, not about the hearing a lot about TV part. Between all of the quotes and references I’ve pulled from TV so far on this blog, and all of the memes and images I’ve put in my posts, I’d imagine this doesn’t surprise you.

The television was always on in my house as a kid. Don’t get me wrong, I spent most of my afternoons playing outside and talked to my family quite frequently, but the television was always on in the background. Even now, in my old age, very rarely in my house is the TV in our den sitting idle. Even if we’re not really paying attention or in the kitchen doing something else, the TV is usually playing something.

Some people seem disturbed by the fact that the TV has always been on in my house, but I’ve never really seen a problem. Honestly, my social awkwardness is much more likely caused by my crippling self-doubt than years of mindlessly watching television!

I was raised by auditory people and am an auditory person myself. Having a buzz in the background just makes everything more comfortable. The same goes for my office. While I do have my headphones in most of the time, in an industry that involves and encourages a lot of collaboration, in a building with an open floor plan, there’s always a buzz happening around me. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

It also makes it easier to share whatever funny thoughts pop into my head without really being an interruption. When things are quiet, I’m less likely to just start rambling. And while I’ve never really tested this theory, my guess is that if I’m unable to talk for longer than about 20 minutes, I will probably explode. Let’s hope we never find out.

It seems like, in a quiet office, no one wants to feel like they’re distracting someone. And if you’re surrounded by silence all day, anyone’s voice will be a distraction. Or worse, more people will hear my joke than intended, and that could attract a crowd. If there’s one thing I hate more than pants, it’s crowds.

You just know that some curly-fry haters will sneak their way into a crowd, but there are too many people to accurately weed them out and publicly shame them. Such is life.

Not only was I raised in a household where the TV was always on, but a commonly-heard phrase in my house was, “put on something I’ve already seen so that I don’t really have to pay attention to it.” Growing up in this “rewatch culture” has definitely affected the way that I watch television. Not to mention the fact that my overstimulated millennial brain has trouble focusing on only one thing for too long. While it is a nice comfort to have the television on and have some background noise, I don’t necessarily want to really pay attention to it and watch what’s going on, y’know?

Another reason that rewatching is my default television-viewing setting is depression brain. While I’m not always in the midst of a depressive episode, when I am, I frequently get caught into a rewatch loop. When all you want to do is surround yourself with comfort, for me, rewatching old TV shows is one of the best ways to make myself even a smidgen more comfortable. I already know the characters and the plot, and I already know that I like it! When in the dredges of emotional turmoil, you expect me to get emotionally invested in a new show without knowing that I will like it, and an entire cast of new characters?! As Sarah Lynn would say…

I even go so far as to rewatch in my sleep! Ever since my most recent depressive episode began last year, I’ve been falling asleep with a familiar show in my ear. If you could look at the data from the Netflix and Hulu I have watched in the last year, I’m sure that you will find the most watched episodes are the episodes that I fall asleep to. The nice thing about listening as I fall asleep is that the sound will keep my mind from racing, but I don’t need to pay attention to the words since I’ve listened to the episodes so often that I basically know them verbatim! It’s a win-win!

I actually didn’t even realize that there are anti-rewatchers until I attended college. I can still remember sitting across the table from Amy on wing night, mouth agape, pieces of hot-wing-coated chicken tumbling out, hearing that she prefers watching new shows to rewatching ones she’s already seen.

You know how when you’re young, you just assume that the traditions in your house are universal? That’s what I assumed about rewatching! Only instead of realizing at 5 years old that not everyone’s refrigerator is in the same spot in their kitchen, I was realizing at 22 years old that there are people who don’t rewatch shows! Equally shocking.

You mean to tell me that there are people who only watch new shows and movies and actually pay attention to them?! Those must be the same people who climb Mount Everest and compete in the Olympics because those are the only things that I can imagine take the same amount of energy as watching new things all the time!

I can’t remember the last time I had that much energy. Actually, if you add up all of the energy I’ve ever had in my life, it wouldn’t equate to that much energy.

How do they do it? I have no idea. Maybe I’ll go and ponder it while watching Jane the Virgin for the 5th time…

18 thoughts on “Rewatchers, Unite!

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