Backtrack

We’ve all been there- some of us more than others- but there’s really no reason to be ashamed. Of course I’m talking about those times we spend five hours we don’t have to waste finishing the newest season of our favorite television show. What’s worse is when we spend that time re-watching episodes we’ve already seen hundreds of times before.

Last year, a new friend and I were discussing our favorite television shows- or more accurately our Netflix obsessions- over a couple cups of hot coffee. She mentioned Gossip Girl, a cult classic I’ve actually yet to finish (I know, I know…). She told me that she loved the series so much, she’d not only watched every episode forward, but she’d also watched every episode backward. Yeah, take a minute to chew on that.

When I asked her where on earth she got the idea to do something like that, she just looked at me and shrugged-

“I don’t know…I like being able to watch how the characters digress instead of progress.”

I had to give her some credit for stepping off the bandwagon. It was honestly one of the most revolutionary things I’d ever heard. So the moment I got home that night, I clicked on that tab I keep open on my laptop, waiting for those signature red block letters to pop up. I had to try it.

There’s no question that How I Met Your Mother is my Netflix obsession. The characters are diverse and relatable and never fail to make me laugh- whether it’s with them or at them. And in my opinion, even the ending fit the storyline well. Because it’s one of my favorites, I’ve no doubt seen every episode of HIMYM in order…more than twice. But I’d never seen the entire series backwards. Until a couple days ago.

Now, there are some pros and cons you’d expect from an experiment like this. Pro- obviously, you get an excuse to watch your favorite show yet again (like we need any more of those). And it gives you a new perspective on whatever show you do pick. Con- picking the right show is probably the hardest step of this process. Things like choosing a sequential show are easy to check off the requirements list. But choosing a show you won’t get tired of and one that has enough seasons for significant character and plot development is a little harder to do.

Because I’d seen HIMYM several times, I didn’t have any major problems following the storyline or remembering inside jokes. But a lot of the time I didn’t have this overwhelming urge to watch the next episode because I knew the series so well. It was harder to focus on the purpose of what I was doing.

Still, when I kept up with new episodes, the experience was like no other. It was weird seeing Lily go from being pregnant to not even thinking about kids. At first thought, Ted seems like the same hopeless romantic, but watching the series backwards highlighted his growing moments- moments he chose to be realistic instead of idealistic (like when he finally learned to give Robin up). Even Barney matures from the world’s biggest player to managing real relationships.

It isn’t for everyone. And it can be harder than it sounds. But if you’re looking for a new way to spend your time with your second family, I would ten out of ten recommend trying this. Let me know what your Netflix obsessions are and if you think trying to backtrack is worth it!

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