#6 Binge Watching

The couple that prays together, stays together. The couple that views together, never runs out of things to talk about? Fights less over the remote?

She doesn’t like screen violence; I’m not a fan of screen sap. To this day, she has not nor will not see Book of Eli; to this day I have not nor will not see The Notebook. Yet we do seem to find common ground, things to watch together. Some obvious, but some because one of us gave in (see “Yes, and…”).

She agreed to watch the talking racoon movie on our anniversary and fell in love with The Guardians of the Galaxy. I got suckered into the first season of Poldark, enough to be excited to see the tin mines on our England trip. WandaVision would not have been the same without her; and I wouldn’t have discovered the fantastic About Time if we weren’t looking for a romance for her. She finally gave my obsession with Dr. Who a shot, and her crushing on David Tennant brought us several seasons of joy. (And it is hard for a fella to be too jealous of her crushing on Tennant when I share the sentiment.)

Not to say exploring together hasn’t led to some duds – we will never get back the time we wasted on the final season of The Good Wife. I mean, come on! But the treasures outweigh the dross. Ted Lasso, Bunheads (hello Sutton Foster!), The Great British Baking Show (do not watch while on a diet!), Sherlock (most of Sherlock), The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Downton Abbey, The Mandalorian, Schitt’s Creek, The Chosen… Each more the suggestion of one than the other.

Even the mediocre or not great was worthwhile with the right couch mate. Even the awful can be better with someone that can reassure you that you aren’t crazy, the critics and/or audiences are, and that massively talked about show is a massive waste of airwaves.

There are two traps that come with mutual watching that you have to be careful of. The first, anyone who has tried to stay up on a show with a partner knows all about: what do you do when one viewer is not available? Do you watch without him/her?

The answer for those young and foolish enough to not know better is: NO YOU DO NOT!

Running off to Scotland with David Tennant to live a life of romantic readings of Shakespeare’s sonnets while leaving me to tend to the cats is much less of a betrayal. To have the spoilers at your fingertips, while the other one doesn’t know that Anna Bates has been arrested, or of Sybil’s childbirth woes – how does a marriage survive such secrets?

The second, less obvious problem is when you realize that the shows just aren’t as sweet without her along for the ride. I got hooked on season one of Virgin River while visiting my parents (thanks to my mom and my sister). I frequently turned to make the eye roll at the outrageous plot twist, or reached out to squeeze her hand at the grand romantic gesture, or whispered, “What does she think she’s doing” knowing I’ll get the “Right?!” response. But didn’t.

She wasn’t with me on the trip. Watching without her is, well, like a great looking cake with a soggy bottom. Kinda ruins the experience.

So binge away; try her suggestions as she tries yours; find yourself lost in plots together; think of the wait for both of you to be read as delicious anticipation.

But more than anything else, travel into those stories with the right couch mate.

{originally posted as part of the countdown to our silver anniversary}

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