TV Marathoning: 5 Steps of Grief (The Taylor-Bartlet model)

In a world where we can easily access DVDs, DVR and Netflix, it makes it so much easier to watch a TV series for hours on end, lending itself to the highest form of laziness. In the moment, you think it’s worth it, but is it really?

For me, TV marathoning began in college, when a few of my friends and I decided to spend an entire day devoted to a whole season of Friends. We were/are fanatics of the show, so it’s not like we needed to watch it, but it’s the experience of watching it together with, ahem, friends, that makes it 10 times better. We called it a Friendstravaganza, and literally played episodes non stop all day, only stopping to get take out for dinner.

That was the beginning of the end, because I’m pretty sure the Friendstravaganza taught me how to watch TV all day. In fact, I made it a goal to use this new found skill to catch up on series that I’ve been meaning to watch but haven’t seen yet. My roommates and I even made a list of all the series we aimed to watch. In the past few years, I’ve been able to cross off Veronica Mars, Grey’s Anatomy, Six Feet Under, Friday Night Lights, Arrested Development, Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, Homeland, and a bunch more.

Here is the original 2011 (?) version of the TV list. Crossed off 2, 3, 5, 6, 7, and 11. Plus 1 and 2 from the Catch up column. Here’s the newest version, if you’re still reading this.

I recently finished all seven seasons of The West Wing, thanks to Netflix Instant. A personal best, I managed to watch 155 episodes in 26 days. That’s about 1/7th of my month dedicated to President Bartlet and co. And as my beloved Tim Riggins would say, No Regrets.

But finishing The West Wing got me thinking, that just like Riggins and FNL, I found myself wanting to watch the last few episodes, but not wanting it to ever end. I was heading towards the usual post-show withdrawal and depression. In fact, with FNL, I immediately purchased all five seasons on DVD and watched the first season like a week after I finished the whole series.

Which got me thinking: post- TV marathoning is just like the five stages of grief, also known as the Kubler-Ross model. Except for entertainment purposes, I’ll call it the Taylor-Bartlet model. Let me explain.

**West Wing spoilers ahead**

1) Denial — “I feel fine.”; “This can’t be happening, not to me. Not to this show.”; “There’s gotta be more episodes, obviously.” ; “How can I go another day without watching another sexual tension filled episode of Josh and Donna moments?”

2) Anger — “How can this happen to me?”; ‘”Who is to blame for this show ending? NBC? Of course.”; “I want to know what happened to Moira Kelly’s horrible character, and now we’ll NEVER find out.”; “Why was Sam not at Leo’s funeral?? Come AWN Rob Lowe!”; “DID ZOEY MOVE TO DC TO BE WITH CHARLIE WHILE HE’S STUDYING AT GEORGETOWN TO BE A LAWYER LIKE HIS SOON-TO-BE FATHER-IN-LAW (I’M ASSUMING)??”

3) Bargaining — “I’ll do anything for another season, maybe Pres. Bartlet at his New Hampshire farm, driving Abbey crazy because he can’t smoke?”; “I will give my life savings if I can watch Toby’s kid Huck and CJ and Danny’s daughter get married”; “If only Aaron Sorkin came back for just one last half season and make a Two Cathedrals finale part two?”; “Ok, what if I rewatch season one in its entirety, that’s like a whole new revamped WW, seeing as it’s been weeks since I last saw it”

4) Depression — “I’m so upset that I never caught on to WW sooner.” “Nothing will be this good, why bother with any other show?”; “I miss Mrs. Landingham, why go on?”; “There will never be a series like this ever again. I’m looking at you, Newsroom.”; “No, it’s totally normal for me to be crying and laughing and eating ice cream while watching this reunion video, and this and this.”

5) Acceptance — “In hindsight, I’m just thankful Netflix finally decided to put it on instant so I could watch the entire series at a rapid pace.”; “It ended on a good note, so there’s really no where else to go with it. I’ll just watch the Parks and Rec episode with Bradley Whitford doing a walk and talk, now”; “It’s going to be okay. I still haven’t watched The Wire”

I’m pretty sure I’m still in stage one of TV Marathoning grief, so if you need me, I’ll be on tumblr reblogging gifs and photosets of Josh and Donna’s relationship.

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4 thoughts on “TV Marathoning: 5 Steps of Grief (The Taylor-Bartlet model)

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