I don’t have a Netflix account, and I’m chill

January 24, 2016 — by Kyle Wang

When I first saw my invitation to the “NETFLIX AND CHILL” Facebook event, I was confused for a couple of reasons. One, I had no idea what “Netflix and chill” meant, so I had to look that up on Urban Dictionary (I won’t say any more about that). And two, I don’t have a Netflix account. 

When I first saw my invitation to the “NETFLIX AND CHILL” Facebook event, I was confused for a couple of reasons. One, I had no idea what “Netflix and chill” meant, so I had to look that up on Urban Dictionary (I won’t say any more about that). And two, I don’t have a Netflix account.

No, I’m not an 80-year-old Neo-Luddite who believes technology will ultimately cause the apocalypse; I just don’t feel like a Netflix subscription will be worth my money — not when it takes me 20 seconds to download Popcorn Time and find a show on its website. It isn’t legal, strictly speaking, but it works.

I don’t have a Netflix account, and I’m chill with it.

For one, the $7.99-a-month subscription cost is steep, especially if I’m going to pay for a limited selection of often mediocre TV shows and movies (Netflix even excludes “Game of Thrones” and “The Wire” from its streaming services).

To be fair, Netflix does have some gems: “House of Cards,” “Daredevil,” “Master of None” and “Jessica Jones” are all fantastic, binge-worthy shows, from what I’ve heard.

But here’s the problem: If I (or my parents) were to pay for a Netflix streaming subscription, I would feel obliged to watch every good show and movie on Netflix, from “Attack on Titan” to “Mr. Bean’s Holiday.” A compulsive need to watch all critically acclaimed shows just to make sure my parents were getting their money’s worth would consume me.

And I can’t even begin to imagine what it would be like to live with my mom after she’d finished watching five seasons of “Scandal.” Dinner and long car rides would grow even more unbearable (and awkward) if all she could talk about was what sort of foolish and raunchy trouble Olivia Pope had gotten herself into in Episode 5 of Season 3.

Sooner or later my parents and I would realize that Netflix doesn’t have every good show that exists (“Key and Peele,” “Downton Abbey,” etc). But by then we’d be so engrossed in “Master of None” that we’d be virtually helpless to do anything about it. We’d be so absorbed in our binge watching that all the rationale for cutting off our subscription would fly out the window — all we’d care about is the next season’s release date.

In essence, nearly all my friends who have Netflix accounts are wholly addicted to them, and I can see why. It’s hard not to fall into some of its shows, and even harder not to watch its filler content while waiting for the release of a show’s next season.

In fact, Netflix seems to be designed for chronic binge-watching. Entire seasons of TV shows are released all at once, instead of episode-by-episode. So instead of waiting patiently for the premiere of episode two of my favorite show (and probably doing some homework to kill time until then), I’d just watch the whole show in one afternoon. I wouldn’t do my homework or study for my Trig test when I’d have seven seasons of “30 Rock” to watch.

So, I’ve come to a conclusion for myself: I can’t have a Netflix, for my own good. The moment I get a Netflix is the moment I will cede control over my free will and turn totally into a binge-watching couch potato, even more so than I already am.

So, for now, I think I’ll stick with whatever pirated shows I can find on YouTube and the shady back corners of the interwebs. Sure, I might get a few angry emails from my Internet Service Provider, but at least I’ll have time to finish my math homework.

To paraphrase “House of Cards:” how quickly poor grades are forgotten in the shadow of Netflix.