“Who shot J.R.?” was the ultimate cliffhanger courtesy of the 1980 nighttime soap opera Dallas. Viewers had to wait an entire summer to find out who was responsible for trying to kill the “Texas oil baron/tycoon” who was the ultimate anti-hero. Spoiler Alert: The shooter was Kristin J.R.’s sister in law/mistress. If I ruined it for you, my apologies but it’s been awhile.
Nowadays with online platforms like Netflix no one would have to wait to find out who shot J.R. Netflix would release the episodes all at once. People would binge watch and discuss the outcome online. Anyone who didn’t have the chance to binge would have to avoid anyone talking about the show in order to maintain any element of surprise.
Though this pandemic provides us all with one of the biggest “surprises” ever there are so few surprises left in the world. Generally our culture subsists on immediate gratification. This need for immediacy makes us less patient and entitled.
Hulu, Amazon Prime and Apple tv have released episodes of new shows in increments. (I enjoyed two of these platforms through free trials. I highly recommend free trials. Free anything. I enjoy free. ) Hulu released 3 episodes of “Little Fires Everywhere” and then released episodes each Wednesday until the series was complete. Online conversations were full of anticipation and excitement but no spoilers because there was no content to spoil.
Amazon Prime rolled out 3 episodes and then 2 episodes weekly of “Making the Cut” the new fashion reality show with Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn. Apple tv parsed out episodes of “The Morning Show” with Jennifer Aniston and Reese Witherspoon.
The slow release of episodes provided viewers with something to look forward. According to self-help guru Gretchen Rubin (and many others) having something to look forward to is a key to happiness. It doesn’t have to be large scale like an exotic vacation. Sometimes it’s the little things that get us through.
There’s something maternal about these platforms making us wait. It’s good for us; the equivalent of having a slice of cake instead of the whole thing in one sitting. (Yes, I know that’s particularly challenging nowadays.) I find it strangely comforting even though I’ve also grown accustom to the immediacy of now.
So thank you Hulu, Amazon Prime and Apple tv. Who knew your entertainment platforms would also provide a life lesson to boot? The waiting we’re doing with this pandemic has no clear ending in sight. I can certainly wait 7 days for satisfaction though.
I recommend “Little Fires Everywhere” for some great sparring scenes between Kerry Washington and Reese Witherspoon as well as some resonant commentary on race. “Morning Show” could have used more attention to the racial components and nuances in the early morning show world central to the story. “Making the Cut” is fun mostly for how it features Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn on little excursions in New York, Paris and Tokyo; the shows various locales.
What have you been watching? Do you enjoy the slow release or do you want it all at once. “That’s what she said.” (Sorry I couldn’t resist.) Please share in the comments below.
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