Unbinging 'Mad Men': One Slow Viewer's New Way To Watch TV

What’s the opposite of binge viewing? Whatever that is, I seem to be doing it.

I’m not talking about watching one show at a time, and then waiting another day or so to watch another episode. I’m talking about not even watching a single complete episode in one sitting.

Take the second episode of the new “Mad Men” season.  Instead of watching the entire nearly hour-long show, I watched the first 17 minutes -- stopping at the first commercial break -- and then went to bed.

I plan to watch another 17 minutes on another night. Maybe I’ll do 34 minutes after that -- which should finish the episode. Like anything in life, one needs to savor one’s media consumption -- not rush through it. Some people believe that if you blast through episodes by binging, you don’t have time to appreciate the effort. I appreciate the effort.

I have plenty of other activities: Staring intently at my smartphone’s weather apps; figuring out over-the-top ways to pay TV providers as little money as possible; and gazing into space. Digital space, perhaps.



So what can I call this TV consumption? Nibble-viewing? Peck-screening?

Some of this makes sense in a growing digital video world where episodes of new original online video series can be 4 to 8 minutes long. By Internet standards, my “Mad Men” viewing of 17 minutes could be considered binging.

This should both please and upset TV producers everywhere. For AMC, which airs “Mad Men,” I’m spending a lot more time -- over a number of days -- with the network, perhaps even catching a commercial or two.  

At the same time, my new activity may upset producers because I’m watering down their art -- with possible interruptions for all that other good TV to consume on broadcast, cable and online.

Fast-forwarding through commercials? Sure, why not? Now, I’m pissing off both producers and advertisers. Perfect.

But hey, producers, I’m an equal opportunity TV/video offender. I haven’t even finished one 13-minute episode of Jerry Seinfeld’s online “Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee.”  See you tomorrow night.

2 comments about "Unbinging 'Mad Men': One Slow Viewer's New Way To Watch TV".
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  1. Jonathan Hutter from Northern Light Health, April 23, 2014 at 4:08 p.m.

    I had an interesting exchange with one of Barbara Lippert's readers, who said he didn't like the "previously on Mad Men" intro, because it set up the night's story line rather than let him absorb it. I told him I did, because it caused my brain to recall that story line for continuity. This is just an example of viewer control. We'd better be prepared for it. I would never watch Mad Men the way you do. But, I'm not Calvera.

  2. Tom Messner from BONACCOLTA MESSNER, April 24, 2014 at 3:57 p.m.

    dexter and 24 and breaking bad and house of cards all perfect for binging....for some reason, i like the breaks in mad men

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