Some people like to watch.
I have a more embarrassing admission.
I prefer to re-watch.
Re-watching TV shows may seem downright irresponsible here in television's new golden age, when there are so many good shows, so easily available, that even a hard-core binger can't get through them all.
The hard-core binger is a familiar type by now.
She's the person who has already sprinted through the second season of "Orange Is the New Black" and is up to the minute on "Game of Thrones." She hasn't missed a single "Breaking Bad," she devoured the latest season of "House of Cards" in three days, and at this very instant she's searching for the next TV series that can keep her up until 3 a.m. night after night desperate for the next episode.
That's not me. Not anymore.
I belong to a counterculture, one that I sense is growing among exhausted, glutted bingers.
Call us the re-watchers.
"What are you watching lately?" someone asked me the other day.
"'Scandal,'" I said.
Every episode available on Netflix. All three seasons.
For the second time.
But at a far more leisurely pace than the first time.
My friend looked shocked. She had no problem with my watching the implausible, overwrought, yet creepily realistic "Scandal." She'd watched it too.
But of all the shows, on all the networks, in all the world, I was wasting my life watching that again?
If I was going to re-watch, couldn't it at least be something highbrow, like "The Wire"?
My pleasure in re-watching TV shows goes back at least as far as late-night reruns of "Friends," "Seinfeld" and "Sex and the City."
A rerun, just one, made a good nightcap back in those days, before TV was streaming and on-demand and didn't require a television.
My preference for re-watching series the newfangled online way, however, didn't begin until a year or so ago.
I'd just blazed through all available seasons of "The Good Wife" and was looking for the next binge-worthy series when it hit me. I was tuckered out.
Like the tourist who had romped through 25 countries in as many days, I didn't need more novelty. I needed to rest.
I'd binged by then on some excellent series. "Slings & Arrows." "Friday Night Lights." "United States of Tara."
But by the time I was finished with "The Good Wife," I was spent.
No more new characters, please. No more new cliffhangers. I needed some consistency and predictability in my life.
A better person than I would have seen my exhaustion as a sign that it was time to finally read "Middlemarch."
Instead, I re-watched all of "The Good Wife" and made a discovery: It was better the second time around.
No need to gobble up an episode just to get on to the next. One episode, maybe two, in an evening, and then sleep.
I already knew what Peter Florrick was up to, how things would play out with Alicia and Will. Free from the suspense, I could savor the subtleties of dialogue and acting, marvel at how much I'd missed in my initial mad dash from episode to episode.
In exchange for the adrenaline of the first watching, I got the comfort of the re-watching. It was like hanging out with old friends: predictable, but not without pleasure and surprise. No reason to stay up past 11.
My survey of friends suggests that a lot more people are re-watching shows rather than hopping from series to series without a breather.
There is even research to suggest that re-watching shows is good for you. A couple of years ago, a researcher at the University at Buffalo's Research Institute on Addictions published a paper claiming that watching a rerun of a favorite show — not just any show, but one you like — gives you a mental boost.
Human beings seek novelty, but we also crave familiarity.
We think we want endless options when, in fact, somewhere deep down we want our choices limited. Infinity exhausts us.
So if you're re-watching "Scandal" too, stand tall. I know you're out there.
But wouldn't it be nice if they all stopped shouting?Copyright © 2015, CT Now