You press play, the final episode begins and excitement/anxiety begin to rise because you know this is where everything comes to an end. It’s coming, and there is no way to avoid it. You’ve dedicated hours upon hours of your time to reach this very moment where the plot finally unveils itself to you and you will discover all the show’s secrets, or at least, all the secrets this season has to offer. When the long list of names scrolls across the screen, that’s when it hits you: Your binge session is over and the beginning of “post-binge syndrome” are already settling in.
What is this post-binge syndrome, you ask. Simply put, post-binge syndrome describes a series of symptoms and feelings that transpire after a binge-watching session. The symptoms are easily identifiable, so much to the point that people can perform their own self diagnosis. If you’ve just finished or have ever participated in the act of binge-watching, then you may have experienced the four signs of post-binge syndrome.
1. You’re itching to talk about the ending
Almost immediately after the last scene fades to black and the ending credits roll across the screen, you’re grabbing your phone to text someone, anyone, about the thoughts and emotions running through your head. Whatever emotions you’re feeling, that person is sure to hear about it, even if it’s 3:30 in the morning. This is the first sign of post-binge syndrome: the desire to discuss the series with any and everyone.
As most series do, your current show ends on a cliff hanger, which only makes the desire to discuss it even stronger. There you are, drawing your own conclusions about the ending and what secrets are bound to be revealed in the next season, and even though you have the plot somewhat figured out, you really just want to hear someone else’s thoughts. Fortunately, you aren’t the only one who’s been staying up for three nights in a row desperately consuming episode after episode, especially on a college campus; you have, at your disposal, a plethora of classmates and friends to bother at the break of dawn with questions and exclamations regarding the cliff-hanging episode.
In the case where the eagerness to discuss the show makes even a thirty-second response twenty-nine seconds too long, you have already taken to Twitter to read other people’s ideas and reactions. This way, you don’t need patience, just need quick fingers and a fully charged phone.
2. You’re asking yourself “what now?”
There is never a moment of rest for a college student; between exams and essays, social gatherings and financial obligations, students don’t even have the time to come up for air. Nonetheless, after binge-watching a show, you find yourself with more time on your hands than you care to have, which brings up sign number two: you’re asking yourself “what now?”.
This sign of post-binge syndrome leaves many college students feeling as if life has no purpose, that is to say everything is meaningless outside the life of Jane Villanueva from “Jane the Virgin” and Eleven from “Stranger Things.” In simple dramatics, your world has revolved so much around a fictional universe and every fiber of your being is so invested into constructs of writers’ imaginations that everything is purposeless outside of the binge.
You have scheduled your life around a television show: missed classes, traded job shifts, ignored all texts and calls just to watch one more episode. So forget the mountain of homework you have deliberately avoided doing or tomorrow’s exam that you have yet to study for, because now that the show is over, nothing else is worth your time or energy, and you will be dead to the world until the next season is released.
3. You’ve become a “show detective”
Now that you’ve finished the show, you need something else to give your life purpose. It is, or at least it should be, common knowledge that nothing fulfills the desires of a college student’s soul more than hour-long episodes of drama, slightly annoying characters and perfectly timed plot twists, which leads to sign number three: you’ve become a “show detective.”
As a college student, the first place you will look for new show recommendations is social media; you’ll take to Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube and maybe even Facebook, leaving no stone unturned in the search for your next binge. This symptom not only fuels viewers’ constant search for something bigger and better, but also keeps producers on their toes in terms of satisfying the growing insatiability of binge-watchers everywhere.
More importantly, this symptom exists so students may forget their responsibilities because, if there is no show to binge, there is no other rational or acceptable excuse for not studying or doing homework. So, snoop away you little detective, you may find your next distraction on your roommate’s Snap story.
4. No other show seems good enough
One thing you’ll undoubtedly notice on your search for a new, binge-worthy series is the constant nagging sensation that nothing else seems capable of replacing your show. Your taste becomes so specific that any slight, microscopic differences will make the replacement show appear boring and unsatisfying. So when you finish Stranger Things, seasons one and two, even though X-files has the same amount of alien and supernatural activity, you’ll come to the conclusion that it just isn’t Stranger Things.
In reality, television series and movies tend to have similar, if not exact, storylines. For example, there are fundamental elements present in any dystopian plot, even if fans might argue there are express differences in storylines. Regardless, it’s difficult not to think, “This just isn’t (insert series name),” when moving onto a new show. It’s unavoidable, but it’s still a part of the process, and there is no better way to re-enter the binge cycle than by dipping your toes in new water and pressing the play button.