‘Binge-watch’ has been named the word of the year by Collins English Dictionary, with an apparent usage increase of 200 percent from 2014, The Guardian is reporting.
Good. This is a good development. I mean, if something has to get Collins’ word of the year award, then ‘Binge-watch’ is a worthy enough recipient of that crown. It certainly is inescapable, and for good reason: it perfectly describes the activity that it’s tied to, and it’s as fun to say as the activity is to do (who doesn’t like a good ‘ng’ sound).
‘Photobomb’ won the Collins award last year — which is OK, guess. But not great. In my humble opinion the actual act itself is better than the word chosen to describe it; while 2013 was the year that ‘Geek’ took home the top prize — which seems a tad late and post-zeitgeist-y to me, but then what do I know.
Meanwhile, 2012? 2012 was a goddamn shambles. The people at Collins seemed to think it was such a bumper year for transcendental internet gibberish that they apparently couldn’t narrow it down to just one and had to choose one word for each month! Not so much a ‘word of the year’ then is it? More of a… A… Well, I can’t think right now, but I’m sure there’s a name for that.
Some of the illustrious winners of the months of 2012? ‘Legbomb’; ‘Mummy Porn’; ‘Romneyshambles’; and ‘Gangnam Style’.
Ok, 2012, whatever you say, 2012; I’m just gonna back away slowly.
The internet is a fickle, fast-moving beast. So often, just at the moment when something (a concept, a word, a person, a website) has ascended online to a world-conquering and consciousness-saturating peak — that’s when its cataclysmic and total fall will begin. Internet phenomena can be like comets lighting up the night sky: a brief Gangnam-flash and then they’re gone; perhaps someday to return, most likely forever consigned back to the endless void.
Collins’ choices for word of the year seem to be — for better or worse — consciously a lot more on the shallow, ephemeral side of things compared to, say, Merriem-Webster (whose last few winners have been ‘culture’, ‘science’, and ‘socialism’!), so who knows if ‘Binge-watch’ will still be in our lexicon in a few years’ time. It all depends on whether or not the Netflix-led business model of dumping a truck of content in our laps and inviting us to gorge ourselves will prevail, or if something else will come along and takes its place.
After all, we used to binge-watch long before Netflix (remember the mid-2000s DVD boxset-mania?) Netflix just made the practice into a widely accepted cultural phenomenon.
So, to commemorate the Collins-recognised ascendancy of ‘Binge-watch’, I thought I’d cast my mind’s eye back my fondest binge-watching experiences. Some incredible shows had to be excluded because they were watched week-by-week as episodes were released (True Detective season one, I’m looking at you), but others that were eventually watched week-by-week are included due to initial majority binge-watch catch-up (BWCU).
It was a difficult, painful list to write.
Except for number 1. Number 1 was always gonna be number 1.
9. Parks and Recreation (BWCU)
8. Community (BWCU)
6. Game of Thrones (BWCU)
5. Archer (BWCU)
4. Arrested Development
3. Breaking Bad (BWCU)
2. It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia (BWCU)
1. The Wire