How streaming has taken away democracy in picking what to watch as a family

It’s the holiday season, and you know what that means. You’re stuffing your face with food, leaving you comatose on the couch. The only thing left to do is watch TV.

Haley Alvarez-Lauto | Senior Graphic Artist

But what do you watch? Maybe holiday movies or you can rewatch “The Office” for the third time. Anything works as long as you can lay on the couch and hope your stomach digests the last meal in time for the next one. But with food comas comes tired brains and impatient attention spans for you and all your family members, causing fights to ensue. 

Everyone wants their pick of what to watch on TV, but no one can seem to agree. You’ve probably also noticed that recently, it’s gotten harder to choose what to watch.

Back in the day, it used to be so easy with cable. You’d channel surf for a while or so before you’d finally settle on whatever seemed like the best choice. When it came to picking as a family, it was a little more difficult, but not compared to today’s struggles. 

Each member picked maybe a couple of channels to choose from and everyone voted on which channels were playing the best show at that present moment. It was much less of a debacle and much more of a fair democracy. 

In this way, everyone still got to watch something they’d enjoy, even if it wasn’t their first pick.

But now, most families have gotten rid of cable and have acquired at least one (or maybe more) streaming services like Netflix, HBO Max or Hulu. While all these services are great in their way, they also have their flaws. What feels like an endless selection of movies and TV shows to choose from is a demon in disguise — especially for the indecisive family members. 

Now, not only can everyone have exactly their choice of what to watch on streaming platforms, you also have no limits with which platform to watch from. What previously was at most a 30-minute argument, debate, and then vote, could now be an hour-long fiasco where everyone believes they deserve to pick what the family watches.

One person will decide that a Christmas movie on Netflix is the way to go, while another member will come in roaring that HBO Max has a better selection and that they should look through their library before settling on some dumb hallmark movie. 

Now everyone is screaming and shouting. The family is nowhere near deciding what to watch. No one wants to vote, and everyone just wants to watch what they want to watch.

The worst part about all of it is that usually, no one ends up getting what they want to watch. Sometimes the argument goes on for so long that eventually, no one wants to watch TV anymore. People have gotten stomach aches and headaches from all the arguing, and everyone just wants to be by themselves in a room somewhere in the house.

Streaming services give us the illusion of choice when really, the endless selection makes it almost impossible to choose. 

Hopefully, your family members are fairer and try to keep it somewhat civil during the holiday season. Regardless, enjoy the holidays and bring on the food comas!


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