Over the last weekend, all I can notice on social media was Netflix’s latest docu-reality series, which was trending on number #2 “Indian Matchmaking”. People on Instagram, Twitter, and Facebook were criticizing the show and the memes were being circulated, I am no fan reality shows but I was just curious to know what the fuzz is all about.
The show begins with a woman (Akshay’s mom) listing all the qualities, to a Mumbai based matchmaker- Sima Taparia, that she is looking for in her future daughter-in-law, and trust me when I say this that 10 minutes into the show and I am already hating it but I still watched 2 episodes in the same sitting. “I shouldn’t be watching this shit,” I say to myself but somehow, I finished all eight episodes of the show in a matter of hours within a day. The show is downright cringe-worthy. Sima Taparia, the narrator makes pretty nasty and mean comments, especially about girls who are ambitious, independent, and looking for a partner that would treat her as an equal. Such girls for Sima Aunty are stubborn, not-flexible, demanding, and difficult to find a match for; while on the other hand if a boy demands those qualities then it is normal. So much for the double standards. The show without doubts contains all the elements of a binge-worthy reality show- A man-child, who wants a wife like his mother, nosy mother, who blackmails by pointing to her high blood pressure the boy into marrying, a most probably closeted guy, an ambitious, career-oriented woman, a face reader, astrologers, life-coach, and US-based scenes. It is worth all the hate and I too watched it under the hate spell.
It happens to a lot of us that we get glued to television for such shows that we hate, those shows don’t make any sense, we make fun of them, get offended by them but we still binge them. But why does that happen? Why can’t we stop watching something that we do not like? According to psychology and communications experts, love and hate are 2 strong emotions and once our emotions are unleashed, whether it’s because we’re very attracted to something or very repelled by something if we feel strongly enough about it, we want to know more, we grow curious about it.
The same happened with Indian Matchmaking, I was annoyed by Sima Taparia and other problematic characters and it unleashed my emotions. I was furious when Sima Taparia said, “Indians don’t like lawyers as a daughter-in-law”, words like “flexible”, “compromise”, “tall”, “well-settled” were thrown around and I was screaming, “Why even bother getting married then?” at my TV screen when Sima Taparia said, “In India, marriages are breaking like biscuits” and thus her job is getting tougher. But with every episode I felt that I do want to know what is going to happen next in their lives, I might miss something and everyone is already talking about it. When there are no good options about what to do, we tend to do this like binge-watching a show that you dislike because you have developed an interest as it is more interesting than doing nothing.
When we start a show that we begin to hate, we think that we have wasted our time by start watching it in the first place and to compensate the lost time and effort we keep going on in a hope that we will get at least something out of it in the end. And eventually what happens is you dislike it more and more, you waste more and more money, and things generally just get worse.
But how do we stop this hate-binge? Well, psychologists suggest that turning off the auto-play is a good start, if you don’t like something in the first two episodes stop watching it then and there and if you feel peer pressure by the Social Media into watching the entire series because everyone else has, try to start a new series and then go back to the one you hated. I honestly would love to try this technique out because hate-binge just makes you feel guilty and nothing good comes out of that.