A Beginners Guide to Binge-Watching by Derek Lau

Considering a quiet night at home with the last season of ‘Mad Men’ for Valentine’s Day? Derek Lau has some tips for how to make the most of your episode-engorgement.

Well, its that time of the year again. For better or worse, Valentines Day is nearly upon us and will soon force us to consider the status of our relationship (or lack thereof) like a nosy, but well-meaning best friend in one of those cheesy Rom Coms. Some of us will go out of our way to make up for the past 365 days when the only fantasy we cared about was the football kind. Some of us will pretend to be above it all and spend the night in with just our bruised ego for company. Either way, one increasingly-popular activity is sure to put a little glitter on your paper heart this year, whether you’re looking for an excuse to cuddle for hours on end or you just want to unwind in your bachelor pad and forget all about the gooey cards, plastic roses and bow-wielding teddy bears: binge-watching.

Thanks to the internets infinite shelf space, catching up with your favorite show now requires neither a trip to Blockbuster (remember those?) or springing for the full season on DVD. Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime now allow us to dive right into the latest crop of Walking Dead or Downton Abbey episodes and function as entertainment Libraries of Congress, with near-complete corpuses of everything from nature shows to sitcoms to Filipino cult horror series. Its all there and it can all be watched right now and the only thing that can stop it without warning is you falling asleep in your Chex Mix.

Although binge-watching and careful planning are pretty much antithetical, I’ve come up with a few helpful tips that I think will help smooth out your evening in.

1. Come Prepared: If you’re going to plow through all of Arrested Development in one sitting, chances are you’re going to be sitting on your couch through lunch and on into dinner. Preparing a nice meal for yourself or even just getting some snacks together before you binge cuts down on between-episode down time later on, so you can get right back to finding out where exactly George Sr. is hiding this time or what soul-crushing compromise Michael will make next.

2. Make sure you’re comfortable: No one likes a sore tailbone, especially when you’re trying to catch every last clue in your third Sherlock episode. Throw down a pillow or blanket if you’re not in the market for a couch or a big comfy chair or leave furniture behind altogether and jump onto your bed.

3. Minimize distractions: Assuming it doesn’t feel like getting an amputation to you, turning off your phone will ensure that you can get lost in Kevin Spaceys political string-yanking on House of Cards without worrying about Twitter updates filibustering your evening.

4. Know when to stop: A good binge doesnt have to be limited to just one day. Seasons commonly top out around 10 hours when all is said and done, so dont be afraid to call it quits and get some sleep already when a good stopping point presents itself. After all, whats the use in plowing all the way through Battlestar Galactica when you can barely tell the Ceylons from the maybe-Ceylons?

Happy couchsurfing and please remember to binge responsibly!