“In the decade since streaming TV technology ushered in the concept of binge viewing, the “rewatch” has evolved as a phenomenon with motivations and rituals of its own. While bingeing is associated with devouring new shows, rewatching is more about savoring old favorites.” Wall Street Journal
Who doesn’t like to just occasionally plop down in front of the TV and watch a show we’ve watched before, perhaps multiple times?
In my case, that show is probably King of Queens. When I’m in the mood to just zone out and get a few laughs, that’s my go-to show.
Of course, that’s not the only old show that I’ll stop for when scrolling through the cable guide.
Friends, The Office, Parks and Rec all meet the bill.
I have always justified such rewatching by claiming that there is something comforting in watching something I’m already familiar with.
The WSJ article points out that while such a reason may be part of it, another reason has to do with the paradox of choice.
This is a psychological concept that claims that an overabundance of options stymies consumers’ ability to choose among them. Scrolling through your remote is a classic example of this. How do you decide what to choose when faced with 500 choices? Probably something you are already familiar with; it’s the easiest way to deal with the paradox of choice.
I think this also explains my hesitancy to start watching new shows. There are already so many shows to choose from, why would I want to add to that list?
And it’s been amazing to watch how much the streaming services have been willing to pay for these old shows, simply so people can rewatch. While Seinfeld seemed to receive the highest offer, it’s not even in the top 10 most rewatched shows, according to Twitter mentions:
- Game of Thrones
- Gossip Girl
- The Office
- Grey’s Anatomy
- Pretty Little Liars
- The Walking Dead
- Breaking Bad
The only one on that list that would interest me is Friends. And it’s amazing how easily that show seems to transcend generations. My students are in the midst of presenting their “vision board”, and man of them talk about how important their old friends are and how much they want to make new ones. Many times the image they use to depict such a goal is a publicity photo of the cast of Friends.
It seems like rewatch has a chance to be the 2019 Word of the Year, at least based on these stats:
Twitter says there was a median 542,110 posts per month last year that included the term “rewatch,” a 60% percent increase from 2017. So far in 2019, the rate is already 23% higher than it was last year.
So that’s a wrap; it’s time for me to watch the episode where Doug buys an Ice Cream Truck…