"Oh my god! Do you see that? Did she mean to do that? Shit." I sigh, struggling to contain my frustration. This is the third, maybe fourth question I've been asked mid-episode of Killing Eve. I’ve already pretended not to hear my mate’s first few interruptions so, for the sake of our friendship, I take a deep breath, suppress my side eye and put on my least sarcastic tone of voice. "I don’t know. I’m sure if you keep watching, you’ll probably find out."
She seems pacified, for now. I nestle further into the sofa and try to reimmerse myself in the terrifyingly glamorous world of Villanelle. A scene passes, tension mounts and I hold my breath in anticipation of what’s going to happen when Eve and TV’s best-dressed assassin finally come face to face. But of course, that deliciously orchestrated moment is shat on as soon as I hear rustling. She’s gone for the fucking Starburst, hasn’t she?
Now, before you tell me that I’m an awful person with low tolerance levels, or that I need to get off my high horse and let people live, hear me out. I bloody love a snack. There’s no better companion to a late-night TV sesh than a packet of sweets, crisps and dip, and a probably-bad-for-you-but-tastes-delicious fizzy drink. Or wine. And I’m no monster. Of course I encourage the same pleasures in my dear friends. But all affection is thrown out the window if I can hear you chewing. Lip smacking, saliva swashing and unwarranted teeth grinding cut through me on a good day. Ruin my intimate moment as Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh’s trusty mediator and I might just have to cut you out of my life. Lol, but seriously.
Ruin my intimate moment as Jodie Comer and Sandra Oh’s trusty mediator and I might just have to cut you out of my life. Lol, but seriously.
I wasn’t always this way. I have fond memories of sitting around the TV, chatting away with friends and family in my younger (and less agitated) years. But times have changed. I have changed. And I kind of blame Netflix for it.
A whole new world of entertainment was quite literally thrust into our hands and with so much choice and so little time, it’s no surprise that our viewing habits started to shift. With the rise of streaming we’ve seen the downfall of shared time in front of the telly, and more of us (grown-ups included) are retreating to our smart devices to binge-watch solo. If the number of people with their eyes glued to their phones as they attempt to navigate trains, pavements and coffee shops is anything to go by, I’d say we're all pretty into it, too.
Last summer, Ofcom research revealed that 45% of people now watch a programme or film alone every day, while nine in 10 watch alone every week. It also found that at least half of us are watching TV in the bedroom now. All of a sudden, what was once the default way to socialise at home has become one of the most intimate and isolating moments of our days – in bed, barely clothed with a strategically positioned pillow tower and the duvet half on and half off. Dorito dust on your chin, unidentified crumbs on your chest and nothing but the cool blue glow of your laptop screen to light your otherwise pitch-black bedroom. No interruptions and no one to answer to. Dreamy, don’t you think?
What was once the default way to socialise at home has become one of the most intimate and isolating moments of our days – in bed, barely clothed with Dorito dust on your chin
Don't get me wrong, there is a time and place for social television. Great British Bake Off? Please, let's discuss how ridiculous the hazelnut dacquoise technical challenge was. X Factor (back when it was good)? I would love nothing more than to speculate whether Louis Walsh intentionally chose an awful song for that act. But this type of weekly programming that actively invites banter with those around you is dwarfed by the intense (but brilliant) drama genre that has only become more competitive over the years. And by that I mean the type of meaty programme that should be talked about, not over.
Call me a spoilsport, but I want to figure out whodunnit on my own. The mid-scene announcement that "she's telling him something in code, I bet that's how he's gonna die" kind of ruins the catharsis of the big reveal later on. Adjusting to Netflix's method of consumption – on your own and at your pace – has tuned me out of the reality of communal telly. Now, whenever I dip my toe back into the far more sociable waters of prime TV, I can barely sit through it. I love my friends and I adore spending time with them. But when it's time to tune into Clique or The Little Drummer Girl, everyone really needs to leave me TF alone.