iPad + Netflix = social outcast

It’s a recurring theme lately — especially Friday nights, when schedules go out the window (no lunches to make, no homework to help with) but we’re too bagged to commit to a movie.

On these nights, we tend to sink down in front of the TV, me in my chair and Steve on the couch (don’t ever confuse the two), and we throw on… whatever. Now to be clear, that excludes cable TV. We got rid of cable several months back, and aside from the odd longing for House Hunters International or Escape to the Country, we really don’t miss it at all.

So sans cable — we have Apple TV as a replacement — we might put on some middle-of-the-road flick that we’ve either seen before or aren’t sure we even want to see.

Or, to be more precise, Steve might throw on something — while I just zone. Steve knows that “just zone” is code-speak for “I’ll cruise my iPad”.


Let me say right off: I’m not a techie (just the word “techie” tells you I’m anything but). And neither are most of the people I know who use iPads. Most of them are people who, as an example, can’t stand discussing trivial matters (“Isn’t that the same guy who played the villain in The Terminator?”) without being able to Google it on the spot. Or planning next summer’s vacation without Street Viewing the B&B they’ll be staying at in Mykonos. Or YouTubing that Steve Miller tune with the cryptic lyrics that played at grade 8 graduation (“so it’s a plane he’s talking about…”).

Not that I speak from experience. But my informal research tells me that these are the kinds of activities iPad owners are using them for. Yes, you can also use it to read email and text your kids and play games and even do simple word-processing through apps like iA Writer.

But it’s that instant, book-sized, flip-open, click-a-link access to the World Wide Interweb that clinches it for me.

Oh — and being able to watch Netflix.

iPad + Netflix. Deadly combination. Bad for social interaction. Bad for sleep. Bad for… other things.

But so good. You simply cannot own an iPad and not watch Netflix. And yes, I know there are other movie-streaming sites out there, but let’s face it, even with our Canadian Netflix inferiority complex, that app has so many movies, it’s befuddling at times to scroll through them. Talk about a candy store. And I don’t care that many of them are old and some are obscure or even unheard of (insert random title of weird Asian flick here). In fact, the obscurity makes it better. Walk on the wild side. What have you got to lose? You watch a few minutes — heck, you watch one minute — and if you don’t like it, you move on.

And there are some real gems to be found too. I remember when I tripped across The Night Stalker (one of my all-time favourite TV shows as a kid) and the wonderfully creepy (and based on a true story) 10 Rillington Place. Personally, I have a thing for British television, and in that arena I find Netflix doesn’t do too badly, with mini-series like North & South, comedy like The Office and Little Britain, and razor-sharp crime dramas like Luther and Sherlock.

Of course, Netflix titles come and go (10 Rillington Place, for one, is no longer there), and there is the risk of mass purges like the one that recently took place after some contracts with major movie studios expired.

But contractual nitty gritty aside for the moment (hey, I have my Night Stalker; what do I care?), the promise of all those movies just waiting to be watched is delicious. And the iPad makes it so dangerously easy.

In bed… as snug as a bug in a rug, basking in that LED glow, ear buds in, a veritable cinematic cornucopia at your fingertips…

While cooking dinner… I’ll have a side of The Killing with that, thank you very much…

And (of course) while (occasionally) working out… Only The Forsyte Saga could make one forget one was doing crunches.

Recently, I’ve wondered about bringing my iPad to certain family functions and discreetly pulling it out after dinner. You know… during that “empty” time between finishing dessert and going home. The time when everyone’s talked out, tired, and full. Would they really care if I silently sat in the corner by myself and watched re-runs of The Walking Dead?

When I jokingly mentioned this to Steve, he said he thought I’d be doing everyone a favour. Good thing he’s got an iPad too.

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