The New Pay-Per-View

In the not too distant past, I was married to an all-encompassing, high-end premium Cable TV package that gave me instant and easy access to everything from HBO and ESPN to FX and CBS to…you get the point. Our relation was strong, nigh unbreakable. Yeah I had a side piece in Netflix but that is to be expected since, well, Netflix kinda gets around. Otherwise I could satisfy all of my viewing needs in one single place. Sure I had flirted with a little ad-filled Hulu here, a free week of Starz there, and a few random encounters with YouTube on occasion, but nothing serious. To my cable TV package, I was committed. I was all in. I was fully off the market. I was, until I moved.

Driving across the country, literally coast to coast, gave me a lot of time away from any previous commitments. I could tell as I settled into a new apartment in a new city on a new coast that perhaps I needed a new television partner. My old partner had been good to me with countless hours spent together in a haze of half open eyelids and mostly attentive participation, but something had changed. Perhaps it was the time apart or the sheer laziness of reconnecting, but I knew that a new age was upon me. I was free, decoupled. Ready to embrace a new partner, or heck, maybe a few partners.

For the first time, I found myself drawn not to a monogamous relationship, but to a polygamous one. I mean, I had recently driven through Utah. So, like a true player, I began to explore my options. Spoiler alert, I loved what I found, different though it was for me. As I looked, I realized that life was full of side pieces that were a bit one-trick-pony-esque, but hell if I didn’t love those tricks. Hooking up with Starz allowed me to check out American Gods, while reconnecting with Hulu gave me The Handmaid’s Tale and a quickie with Showtime gave me the new season of Twin Peaks. Everywhere I looked the more attracted to different options I became. I liked what I found. How could I go back to my old singular relationship? If I did, I’d miss my new way of life too much. The freedom of these casual flings, which burned bright and hot before flaming out just as quickly, was intoxicating. I was, I am, hooked.

Looking to the future, I can’t see myself or many others being able to make a single commitment. Instead, we will all make a series of short-term single commitments that together will feel like a whole. These momentary bursts of superficial, pay-per-view connection gives us what we want when we want. Unless we find a way to game the system, we will just pay to watch a show through a temporary provider, than bolt as fast as we can once we are done. Though the ease of one all-encompassing package will remain alluring, nobody, especially me, will want to be that constrained. Fear Of Missing Out on the new hit show that everyone is talking about is enough of a driver to guide us in a series of short-term one night stands options that are vastly superior to the old school alternative.

So, as I continue to do casual flings with the likes of Sling and Crackle, or simply choose to temporarily go off the grid and forgo any commitments for awhile, I’ll relish the fact that I can watch whatever I want at the exact time that I want. Sure I’ll keep my main squeeze Netflix around, but I think we both know we aren’t exclusive…


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