So: you finished Netflix’s “House of Cards” in a single weekend. (No? You didn’t? Just me? Alright…) This type of feat unleashes a wave of emotions that can overpower even the most elite TV viewer, so I thought I’d capture it here.
THE SIX STAGES OF “HOUSE OF CARDS” GRIEF:
1. ACCOMPLISHMENT: Congrats! You managed to consume over 12 hours of programming in a handful of days, proving that you are willing to forgo any social obligations in the name of a self-imposed dare. High fives all around to your other hand, soldier. You tweet out your victory proudly to the public, and pity those barely through episode 4 of “Cards.”
2. REMORSE: Wait. You just finished a compelling drama in a handful of days. This is akin to eating your favorite dessert too quickly, and you find yourself regretting your decision to hole up in your bedroom with your laptop for hours on end. What could you have accomplished this weekend that you neglected because of Kevin Spacey? And did you really have to blow through those episodes so quickly? Is tantric TV viewing a thing? If it’s not, should it be?
3. FRUSTRATION: What the hell, Netflix. You didn’t even give us a premiere date for season 2 and we’re
just supposed to sit around and wait until that announcement comes out, and then, you guessed it, wait some more. You, the viewer, find yourself angrily Googling “House of Cards season 2 premiere” only to come up empty-handed with a meaningless article from EW.com. “Screw this,” you think. (In therapy down the line, you’ll eventually realize you were never mad at Netflix, but rather yourself for lacking the self control to parse out your viewing experience. You were childish, eating all of your Halloween candy in one sitting and now stuck with a stomach ache and an empty Pumpkin-shaped basket. “Radical Self-Forgiveness” is available for purchase from Amazon’s Kindle store, when you’re ready.)
4. DEPRESSION: You return home from work or other responsibilities and find no TV show or movie is replacing Kevin Spacey’s direct-to-camera smugness. Depression, peppered with regret, begins to set in. You watch your Twitter feed as others discover episodes you hastily consumed last week, and are jealous of them reveling in the poignant moments of “House of Cards.” You eat a pint of Ben & Jerry’s, but it only does so much.
5. URGE TO FIND A REBOUND: Time to get back in the game. After all, you’ve seen all of those articles about Netflix licensing programs from a trillion networks, so there are for sure plenty of streaming shows in the sea. What’s next? This, you think to yourself, is a perfectly good time to watch “Psych,” which you’d been meaning to tune into anyways. And “Bones.” It’s fine, it’s fine that these aren’t cinematic like “Cards,” it’s fine that they don’t have Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright in the cast, it’s totally, totally fine that David Fincher wouldn’t direct these with a ten foot pole, really. Really it’s fine. You tell yourself this as you weep over your keyboard, before realizing you could short circuit your laptop with tears and retire your face to your pillow instead. Rebounds aren’t often a good idea.
6. ACCEPTANCE: After some introspection and the realization that “Walking Dead” returns Sunday, you
come to understand that everything will be just fine, even though you binge-viewed “House of Cards” in an ungodly amount of time. There is a life outside of Underwood World, you discover. You have hobbies, and a sink full of dishes that need to be tended to, and your cat may warm up to you again if you feed it a few times, which you forgot to do while staring at Netflix.com all weekend. You have a family that loves you, even though you have twenty five missed calls and texts that read, “Really? You can tweet about Zoe Barnes not being a realistic character, but you can’t call me back?” It’s time to apologize to those you neglected, sift through your DVR and do some yoga.
After all, you’ll need to regain your strength before you surrender yourself to this self-hatred yet again when “Arrested Development” comes out in May.
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