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I seem to have reached a new stage of binge-watching behavior, and I suspect it will become so common that it should have a name.
Stage one was the joyous and much-discussed discovery of television series — mainly on Netflix and HBO — that were so smart and gorgeous and compelling we could happily inhabit them for hours on end: "The Killing," "The Night Of," "Black Mirror."
Then, this fall, came "Westworld" — TV more beautiful than ever, a great mysterious maze of a series packed with violence and nudity, but most addictive for the carefully rationed parceling out of clues to the final answers at its secret center.
This month, "The OA" seemed to offer the potential for a similarly compulsive binge. But instead, my husband and I found ourselves watching just a couple of hours, then jumping to the end for the reveals, unwilling to spend five more hours on the slooooooow storytelling.
Maybe it was just the weirdness of this particular series? Or an after-effect of "Westworld?" Perhaps both or neither, but I do think we may be entering a new developmental stage in media consumption — a wearing off of the Netflix wonder, a greater willingness to skip to a series end, just as some of us skim to the last page of a less-than-compelling book.
If this skipping is taking place, what should this phenomenon be called?
I put the question to my Facebook friends, wondering if there could be some play on "cutting to the chase" or "jumping the shark." One, professor David Yamada, suggested "binge warping," with this example: "Instead of binge watching, we simply binge warped to the end."
Others offered "binge peeking" and "video bypass procedure." The suggestions trickled in for hours, brightening my day with the out-loud laughs they gave me. A sampling:
End vaulting, Endisoding.
Binge-spoiling, Binge-hopping, Bingey-jumping.
Netleaping, Netskipping, Netflipping.
Music maven Beth Kates told me about a song by a band called The Futureheads: "Skip to the End." "You could say 'futurehead it,'" she suggested.
Former New York Times executive editor Max Frankel proposed: to "Netflee."
But the suggestion that drew the most likes came from Robin Herman, a former sports reporter for the Times: "Pulling a Rosie Ruiz."
The older Bostonians in the crew all knew the reference, but for others: Rosie Ruiz, also known as the Boston Marathon Cheat, appeared to win first place among women runners in the 1980 marathon — until it emerged that she had taken the MBTA's Green Line part of the way.
Whatever we call it, some will surely say that it's wrong. From reviews with spoiler alerts, I gather we missed some dramatic and memorable scenes in "The OA." And of course, much of the pleasure of binge-watching comes from the profligate time it involves, the long immersion, the excess, the willful pretense that we have all the time in the world, enough time to inhabit other worlds for hours on end. It's not supposed to be about using time well.
But year's end always reminds me how limited our time is. And truth be told, I guess I just wasn't enjoying "The OA" very much. If I'd been loving every minute, I never would have ... binge warped? Bingey-jumped? Netfled?
As we struggle for a verb, Times columnist Frank Bruni offered a suggestion for a noun that captures the phenomenon: "Premature epiphanation."
Readers, your thoughts? Which suggestion would you use, or do you have your own?
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