Wrapped in a blanket, eyes glued to a screen, its 2am, and the screen turns to black. The show that you’ve spent the last 72 hours binging is over. Just like that, the characters you grew to love and hate, the setting you called home are gone and all that remains is a scrolling list of text listing everyone that helped create this marvelous show that you fell in love with. You’ll be feeling a lot of varying emotions in the next several days and that’s ok because we’ve all been there.
Stage 1: Denial
The first stage consists of immediately googling fan theories, rumors, sub-reddits, and anything else that can bring back that connection. You just can’t accept the finale or that you saw the final episode. The deeper and deeper you delve into fan fiction and far fetched gossips about a return of the show or a spin-off, the worse the feeling gets. At this point you may be thinking, “I’ll find a new show, a better show” leading to flings with different sitcoms for an episode or two. You have fun for a little while, but then after each episode the emptiness in your heart remains and the next chapter arrives.
Stage 2: Depression
Dead and empty inside, finding yourself in a permanent malaise wondering just why it had to end? Did you do something wrong? That question is quickly answered in your mind after realizing it’s a fucking television show but nevertheless, the depression sits like the all the universe’s gravity pulling down on your heart. You wonder how long this loneliness will last and shudder after coming to conclusion that you really don’t know. As the days go on it festers until mutating to a new, more powerful emotion.
Stage 3: Anger
“Why?!” You yell, cursing at the showrunners or the actors or whomever you’ve found guilty of destroying the series that you fell in love with. Friends and co-workers may not realize the state you’re in and try to make small talk, “You see the Duke game last night? It was close, but they pulled out the win! I think they’re gonna take the ‘ship this year” The babbling of your friend continues until you finally can’t take it anymore, “DUKE?! Who cares about swimming?! Those entitled rich kids don’t know what they have!” Confused as he was clearly talking about basketball your annoying co-worker saunters away leaving you furiously questioning your state of mind. But then, seemingly out of nowhere, a calmness falls over you, and a feeling of peace overtakes the anger. You look up at a conveniently placed television, see a trailer for a new, upcoming, anticipated show, and smile.
Stage 4: Acceptance
There’s always another one. The end of The Sopranos led to Breaking Bad, which led to Stranger Things, and so on and so forth. This is the pivotal point of the cycle as you start to remember the bad things about the show that ate up the last week of your life. Remembering senseless dialogue or shoe-horned plot twists. Each new show begins a whole new journey with new characters to fall in love with and references to make with your friends or shitty co-workers that think Duke Basketball makes interesting water cooler talk.
Stage 5: Recovery
The final stage consists chiefly of aimlessly surfing through Netflix or your various streaming platform of choice but with a sense of purpose. Maybe you’ve asked your friends for recommendations or consulted social media because of crippling social anxiety. Either way, the hurt is almost over, and you’ll soon find a new show to spend a week binge watching only to start the cycle all over again.