Forget the NSA. Forget the CIA. Forget AAA….not that they would really know anything too damaging.
It’s Netflix who really knows what you’re all about.
My husband recently went away for five whole days across the country. And while he was gone, I was the parent on duty, 24/7. He has been back for three days, and I am still exhausted.
I wasn’t entirely on my own while he was away, though.
Everyday after I would get my children in bed, I had someone special waiting for me. I just couldn’t wait to skip down the stairs, flip on the television and veg out. Mindless entertainment sounded great.
What parent doesn’t want to just relax in front of the television after a long day spent playing tea party and answering questions from their children about whether or not they still live in the United States? More importantly, who doesn’t enjoy them some Netflix? I know I do.
At first, I thought having Netflix would cut back on my television consumption. After all, you can’t just aimlessly browse Netflix like you can the television channels. This was before I realized that I don’t HAVE to wait for the next episode in the next season of whatever show I’m watching. Or that I can watch the shows I have always wanted to watch, even though they have been off the air for five years.
Netflix is really the best thing since sliced bread, antibiotics, scientific discovery and Taylor Swift be darned.
During my last night on my own, however, I noticed something. Something that has stayed with me. Something that has disturbed me.
I noticed how smug my Netflix sign in screen was.
“You’re back…” it silently broadcasted, while it loaded its many thousands of titles for my viewing pleasure. That night, I’m sure that it took extra time to load up, giving me every opportunity to watch that bars tick up as my blu-ray player connected to the great wide interwebs.
Giving me every chance to just turn the television off.
Even though it knew I never would.
It was in that moment that I realized just how much Netflix knows about me. About all of us.
It knew that seven minutes before that, I had hemmed and hawed with the idea of opening a book instead of turning on the television. After all, I have never felt guilty after reading 50 pages in a decent novel, as opposed to watching 4 episodes of some series I’d be too ashamed to admit to ever watching to any other adult, and staying up way too late, effectively turning my brain to mush. (Thanks, Gossip Girl.)
But Netflix knew. It knew I would come crawling back.
Netflix knows that you don’t have anything to do on a Friday night, parents. It knows that you’re going to watch old Harrison Ford movies in your pajamas at 9:40 after you finally get the kids down to bed, while the rest of the world passes you by, and enjoys an evening of fine wine and intelligent conversation.
It knows, moms. It knows that when your husband is out-of-town, you’re unshowered, and contemplating eating the last of the cold fried chicken that is left over in the fridge while you watch the entire series of Gilmore Girls, taking advantage of your husband being out of the house, because you KNOW he would never understand the plight of the Gilmore’s.
It knows how much you need it. And every few days, it messes with you. It “cannot establish a connection to the internet.” It is “unable to load right now, so please try again later.”
It watches as you punch the throw pillows on your sofa. It watches as you stomp around and chuck the remote across the living room.
It knows how much you need it. And it relishes it.
Netflix has specific algorithms in order to enhance your viewing experience. It’s never short on suggestions and never runs out of new titles for you to enjoy. You enjoyed Wes Craven’s entire “Scream” series all the same weekend? Well here are a few more horror movie reboots for you to enjoy (yay!), except these don’t star Neve Campbell (boo!).
Wanting to watch the newest Thor movie? Well, Netflix doesn’t actually have it, but it has a few rip off’s that you won’t know are rip off’s until you turn it on and see one of the kids that starred on Home Improvement back in the day. And it’s not Jonathan Taylor Thomas, either.
It knows you need it, people. There is nothing you can do about it. In the light of day, you can pretend that you don’t need it. You can shrug me off like you don’t know what I’m talking about. You can sit there all smug in your proper pants with a proper button them, all showered, eyes fresh as daisies. Chipper and youthful. Functioning like an adult.
But there you’ll be tonight. When the world darkens. After the sun has set. On the couch. With your ratty old pajama pants and t-shirt on. You’ll be there with your bag of Funions and diet coke. Watching season four of The X-Files.