I’m a big fan of categories, but after scrolling through what pops up on my menu about a million times, I’ve got to tell you that I’m getting bored. I have heard that there are secret hidden categories that wise people can unlock, but that’s way too much effort for me–or anyone laying on their couch watching Netflix, right? Besides, I’m guessing the mystery nuggets are things like “Canadian TV Infotainment” and “Movies You Fear Might Star Nic Cage But Don’t.”
I think you can find room for something new in the spaces currently occupied by either “Popular on Netflix” and “Trending Now” and either “New Releases” or “Recently Added.” I’m sure someone can tell me the subtle distinction between the two, but I am in no need for subtlety when scrolling. While you’re at it, you can get rid of most of the “Because you watched. . .” categories as well. Those depress me and make me think all I care about is food and UFOs.
Here are a few of my humble suggestions. First, you must know that people eat while they watch. Here in America we like to pair or treble our binges. Binge watch and eat. Binge eat and drink. Binge eat and drink and watch. We’re multi-taskers. But what goes best with pizza? What movie pairs with beef? I would like to see some categories that address these needs: “Movies for a long afternoon with Doritos,” “Mindless Sitcoms with Spaghetti,” “Chipped Beef Comedies.” If you would just get along better with Amazon, they could probably let you in on what we’re eating in front of the TV, so you could tailor the categories for that. They know everything about us. We’d all be spooked, but not too paranoid to click the suggestion. “How did Netflix know I’m eating Hot Pockets? Whatever. I’m watching that.”
You should also know that we like to have the TV on at all times. Sometimes we need “Short Interesting Stuff that will Get Our Attention a Little Bit but Won’t Require Us to Sit Down the Whole Time Because We have to Get Back to Work.” I would check this category at lunch, for instance. Then, I like to watch something interesting, but not have to pause it when going back to the fridge for a piece of cheese or feel like I missed much if I check my texts.
We also need “Documentaries that will Lull You to Sleep.” This is a tricky category, but one that would be very valuable. It takes way too much time to figure out the magic formula by one’s self. The shows have to be long enough to last through the sleep timer: 60 or 90 minutes–not 52 or 75. Why are so many documentaries 52 minutes? They also have to be on topics interesting enough to distract the brain from to-do and I-hate lists, but not too interesting that they keep people awake the whole time. The best documentary would be one that you can watch twelve times without ever getting to the end. The narrator would have a calm, soothing voice, but without too think an accent. The subject matter must not contain sirens, telephones ringing, screaming, explosions or those weird sound effects history shows sometimes use to sound modern. If interviews are involved, the sound level on the interviewee should be the same as the interviewer–not the scream/whisper ratio popular in many true crime shows.
Other useful categories:
- “We Know You’re Stealing Your Friend’s Netflix” filled with guilt-provoking programs. This is for you, not us.
- “Shows About Animals, but not Animals Eating Animals”: It’s usually only ten minutes into an animal documentary when a zebra gets mutilated or an antelope goes down. Given them a break.
- “Funny Movies Like the Ones You Liked in the 80s but Not Those”: I have never had luck finding these on my own. I love Stripes and Caddyshack, but I don’t want to see them over and over.
- “Vacations You Could Actually Afford” would be a nice contrast to the locations on the Travel Channel.
- “Movies with that One Guy in Them” since we’re always trying to find those as well.
I would suggest movies to pair with particular drinks or movies that will make you feel drunk without drinking, but all of those would require you to get the rights to Barfly. Please do this. It’s got that one guy in it. And it would pair so nicely with a Hot Pocket.
Your Faithful Watcher,