On Smoking: Mad Men, Friends, and Sex and the City

Mad Men is one of my favourite drama series. When it has become available on Netflix, I have watched the whole series that were available as fast and as much as I could. I could not stop watching it the first time and watched the whole series couple of times more.

For obvious reasons, I smoked more that I usually did while watching the programme. I was still a smoker back then. The plot of the story is after all premised within the time where smoking was not yet frowned upon.

In that programme, smoking is associated with strength and smokers are presented in the light of success. The underlying message is: smoking cigarettes makes us strong and courageous. It helps us not only to get through our difficult life but also to thrive in it.

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Friends on Netflix: From Watching To Studying It

In the beginning, I was just merely watching the sitcom hit in the 90s entitled Friends. The more I watch it, the more I find myself to be studying Friends and treating it like a case Study. In this blog post, I intend to reflect upon my ‘addiction’ to watching Friends, but also how this addiction has made me immune to the humour of my favourite sitcom.

Since ‘Friends’ becomes available on Netflix, I cannot stop watching it. Last weekend for instance, I have spent the whole Saturday watching its episodes after episodes. As much as I do not want to be disrespectful to the experiences of those individuals who are actually struggling with their substance addiction, my watching behaviour last Saturday mimics addictive behaviour if not a symptom of addiction itself. I have lost control and this has already happened in the past.

Unlike the more structurally scheduled programmes on local television channels, Netflix offers us relatively more choices and freedom to watch what we want, when we watch them, and how much of it we want to watch in one sitting. As David Brook once wrote in his book entitled, The Social Animal: ‘freedom without structure is its own slavery’ (2012:58). While my face was glued on the screen watching Friends the whole day last Saturday, I was quite aware that I was being a slave of my own freedom.

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