A lighthearted look at news, events, culture and everyday life in New York. The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer.

By Nina Pajak

So, have you watched the new season of Orange Is the New Black? I’m holding out, but I plan binge-watch it like I did with the first season. Currently, I’m binge-watching House of Cards and also can’t wait to catch-up binge on seasons of The Good WifeParenthood, and the most recent season of Parks and Rec. I know it sounds like a lot of television, but summer is the perfect time to cram in marathon sessions of series-watching.


According to a newly published 80-year study out of Spain, there is a higher risk of dying early if you watch more than three hours of television a day. On the other hand, if you watch less than an hour a day, you may go on to live a long and prosperous life provided you don’t get hit by a truck or fall off a cruise ship or get bitten by a Tsetse fly while you’re out not watching Mad Men or whatever crap it is you’re doing.

Here is the confusing part: the premature mortality associated with excessive television-watching seemingly is not related to other sitting activities, like driving or working on a computer. Scientists are going to continue studying this angle and hope to let us know more in another eighty years, when we’ll all be dead from all the extra time we spent at our computers to compensate for the decrease in our TV time.

Well, we’ve got to get up to speed on Breaking Bad somehow, don’t we? We do. Seriously, you really need to do that. Like, right now.

Perhaps, as some speculate, it is due to the fact that watching television requires almost zero energy whatsoever. At least with driving, you’re moving your feet and hands and you’re alert. On the computer, you are theoretically moving your hand (a little) and you’re perhaps reading or writing or using other brain-related skills.

But this whole thing feels prejudicial. I don’t see any 80-year studies being conducted on excessive book reading, piano playing, or letter writing. But back when these were the only forms of in-home entertainment, the average life expectancy was, like, forty! Have you ever even read a Jane Austen novel? All they do is read, play piano and write lengthy letters, and one character always dies or nearly dies after accidentally taking a walk in the rain.

Coincidence? You be the judge.

In the meantime, I will work on negotiating a way to log in my TV series marathons and cheat death. Possible solutions I’ve got cooking: working on a computer while TV is on the background, watching TV while driving (may increase risk of driving-related early death), watching TV while exercising (feels too obvious), watching TV instead of sleeping (because you’d be lying down anyway), and only watching shows that confuse and/or thrill you, thereby engaging your brain and heart rate. I’m doing my best to sort through this. Stay tuned.

Nina Pajak is a writer living with her husband, daughter and dog in Queens. Connect with Nina on Twitter!

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