In this edition of Semtex’s regular column, Gendercidal, she explores the sadness of watching a new TV series alone on one’s couch, presumably with a half-empty bottle of red wine and suddenly having the epiphany that you’ve been in a longer-term relationship with most of these shows than an actual being.
Picture, if you will, the standard blue glow that pervades a room when any screen, TV or computer is on. The feeling of being in a meth addict’s “home” (or wherever it is they squat), for sometimes single people like to leave their various piles of clothes and random empty plastic bottles about the room. Then picture a lone human, likely a woman, lying on her side as she stares vacantly at a screen forewarning that the next episode of her show will commence in four seconds. She has started yet another series (yes, a Netflix one as they truly do have all the good shit)… alone. And while there are many tragic scenes from the horror movie called Being Single, one of the most tragic of all is commencing a new TV series whilst solo.
One can tell oneself that it’s fine, that there’s more enjoyment to be had in the pure focus that comes with taking in new media sans the “aid” of another. To boot, when the inevitable breakup happens, you won’t have to endure the suffering that comes with a show being ruined forever because it now reminds you of [insert name of softboy here]. Somehow though, that doesn’t seem to be worth the tradeoff of the self-ingrained image of yourself merely sitting there on your own basked in the dull, pallid light which is washing your brain over with dumbness in addition to forlornness.
Maybe one of the worst aspects of all about it is when you find yourself laughing at something and it echoes back to you, reverberating from the walls and ceiling because your apartment’s acoustics make it feel just as empty as your life. A life devoid of any real connection from people other than the fake characters you’ve come to know so well from the screen. And then, all at once, laughter turns to a slight misty-eyedness and the emission of a Claire Danes-like hybrid cry/moan. You have no one to share your emotions with–neither the jubilation nor the anguish over what might be happening in the plot of the show or your existence. Which is, most chiefly, why the word “grim” best sums up beholding a TV series in what can often feel like solitary confinement.
Although one of the underlying points of the development of this form of “television” (though it feels like it should have a different sort of moniker by now, as its former classification doesn’t apply as it once did during the era of “must-see TV”) is to make a person disappear into the ether of an alternate form of human contact, doing so individually is what makes it feel isolating.
In other forms of being a “watcher”–most notably, going to a movie theater alone–there isn’t as prevalent of a sentiment of lonesomeness. You are, at the bare minimum, surrounded by at least a few other midday creeps (going to the movie in the middle of the day is my bread and butter–perhaps another testament to the perpetual melancholic aura that hovers above me). And yes, despite the fact that one can’t put a price on the comfort of being at home and permitted the luxury of pausing and rewinding amid bathroom breaks and food/alcohol replenishment–that is, if one is also permitted the rare city-dwelling luxury of living alone–the separate penalty is the one that plagues the psyche. At the end of each episode or series, it’s almost as though Netflix wants to bludgeon you over the head with your patheticness for having come this far, bitingly asking you questions like, “Are you still watching…?” As if to say, what kind of hideous cyclops could possibly not find the company to do something else with?
And while there are many tragic scenes from the horror movie called Being Single, one of the most tragic of all is commencing a new TV series whilst solo.
Or maybe you should just calm the goddamn voices in your head with another benzo, mindlessly enjoy your media like a normal person and comfort yourself with thoughts of how couples that watch Netflix together are always populated by an alpha “chooser” who gets the final say in what will be consumed. That, and, domestically speaking, watching Netflix nightly with your significant other is the zenith of relationship mediocrity. But, oh to have someone you don’t detest to press up against while viewing. Kind of feeling like Faye Dunaway right now, screaming schizophrenically, “My sister, my daughter!” in (Chinatown 1974). I watched that on Netflix alone.
Credit for both images unknown.