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Eric Anaya

James Atlas article “Get a Life? No Thanks. Just Pass the Remote.” expresses some very controversial views about how most people watch popular television shows. Atlas depicts the viewing habits people engage in when watching popular shows such as “Breaking Bad” as a religious obsession. He describes himself as spending more than a weeks times simply watching the show and describing how much it has impacted his life. The way he describes his viewing habits is very similar to an individual facing a powerful addiction to a powerful drug such as crack cocaine. The very definition of an addiction is when the substance in question has begun to interfere over the daily life of an individual. Atlas habit of watching “Breaking Bad” has clearly taken over his daily life as he explains that he spends more time with the characters in the show than he does with real life friends or family. Atlas argument in this article is that ground breaking shows such as “Breaking Bad” with its complex storylines and plot and visual delights rivals the depth of popular influential novels. Nothing says a television show can not be as powerful or entertaining as a novel such as “The Great Gatsby”. However reading novels or books does require more though processing since a person must connect to the story they are reading with their own imagination and have the challenge of complete understanding the authors message without any visual devices. Yes, when watching “Breaking Bad” there is a thought processes occurring when an individual compares themselves to the character of connects the show to real life situations, however most of the work is being done for them since the shows main purpose is to provide entertainment. The director of a show has more tools to try and express everything they want to when making the show, but the author of a novel has much less and chooses to rely on the reader to fill in the rest with their own thoughts and imagination. “Breaking Bad” and other popular television series can be more entertaining and evoke a lot of critical thinking into its audience, however a good novel can entertain just as well and include more thought processing for the reader to engage in.

Nino Gonzalez

In the article, "Get a Life? No Thanks. Just Pass the Remote." James Atlas points out the sad reality of people and their obsession with television. He explains how addicted people really are to certain shows and he also explains how people watch the whole season in one night. He also explains how he, and many others, will do whatever it takes to watch the seasons. Atlas gives way too much credit to the writers of these shows because he explains that they are so interesting that he has to continue watching. For example Atlas states, "There’s something about the stories being told now on TV that grips me (and apparently everyone else) so forcibly that I have to fight off the impulse to organize my entire life around them." He is explaining how his whole life revolves around the television and I personally think it is ridiculous. I think TV shows are only doing their part. They have to make the shows interesting in order to get people to tech, but it is up to the people whether they watch them or not. I feel as if Atlas is trying to make excuses here for why he is so addicted to these shows. They way I see it is that he is blaming the writers for making such great shows just like obese people blame the food companies for making them fat. It is unacceptable because people need to start taking responsibilities for their actions. It is okay to watch TV now and then, but to make it a priority in life is ridiculous. People get so caught up in TV that they forget all about their lives. This leads to problems such as obesity because people want to continue to watch these shows that when they get hungry, they simply get some fast food rather than cooking something healthy. I think Atlas and many others need to start taking responsibility in their lives and put the remote down.


To the second question it seems as though he knows his habits are bad, but they help his essay prove that the age of technology is changing the way we view things from reading to watching tv. because it shows his addictions and

Bader Alazmi

This a great comment, Nino: They way I see it is that he is blaming the writers for making such great shows just like obese people blame the food companies for making them fat. It's all about having self-control and will power, right? We are responsible for our own actions.

Janet M

Breaking bad is a well written show. You cannot blame the writers for good TV shows. If it was not good, you would not watch it, right?

Janet M

I agree, Bader! People blame writers and all of this, but really it is all about self-control. You have to tell yourself enough is enough and that is it.

Melissa N

I think many of us have our own "Breaking Bad". For me it was the Sopranos, then Nip/Tuck for my son it was Seinfeld. There is something comforting about having an alternate life we can climb into at the end of the day without there being anything expected of you but to enjoy. Should we be doing more productive things with our time, probably? But sometimes we need that escape and eventfully you will watch all the episodes and have to come back to reality. There are a lot worse things you could be doing than watching a TV show. The problem comes in with any other activity that you let take over your life, you have to keep a perspective of where it fits. On the other hand, maybe watching a TV series with your teenager may be the only thing you can do together without a fight. I think it can be used as a bonding experience if you want to put a positive spin on it.

Melissa N

Nino, I understand what you are saying but keep in mind people can always find something to obsess on. I don't think James Atlas lets it consume his life but finds it interesting that he has such an interest that he chooses new episodes of a TV series over a book. I know a lot of people who will find a good book and read it in one sitting but we don't call that an obsession. I think Atlas is almost making fun of himself for how much he cares.


as a huge television watcher i also follow my shows religiously and as eric said like "crack" the shows become addicting but if recorded and when your able to watch them in your own time i see nothing wrong with obsessing over a tv show. I work two jobs and have class and yet i still have enough time to watch my shows. i think to compare watching tv to crack is ridiculous


I think Atlas's article shows how well tv shows depict morale issues in everyday life maybe not on a scale of starting a meth lab but the show is entertaining and i agree that is the job of the writers


i would have to agree with brian watching tv is something that has become ingrained into to at least american life if not human life your an out cast if you dont have a show that you are hooked on or at least have watched and its so easy to get caught up in show these days i kept catching my self looking up and getting stuck watching a movie that my dd had on while i was trying to read

Connor H

I agree with Brian's first comment. I can still follow my 4 shows religiously with a 40+ hour a week job. I also believe that there is nothing wrong with it, as long as you still do your other priorities. As long as you do not put the TV show first, there is nothing wrong with it.

Connor H

I also agree with Janet's posts. Its hard to avoid something easily drawn too and well-liked. When it's someone's job to make a television show to get you to watch it, it's hard to avoid that fact.

Tori Alvi

In the article titled “Get a Life? No Thanks. Just Pass the Remote,” James Atlas points out the simple fact that individuals love TV. He expressed views pertaining to the idea that a majority of people watch popular television shows and get sucked into the imaginary reality and lose sight of the real world. He states how individuals sit down for hours and get locked into the television to watch their favorite TV shows, in this case “Breaking Bad.” However, he himself will sit and watch “Breaking Bad” for nearly a weeks time. Atlas describes how living vicariously through his television shows has impacted his life so much and has been like an addiction for him. This popular show began to interfere with his daily life and he even states how he began to schedule his day around this one program. Atlas argues that television shows hold more power than you think and can have the potential to become addicting to many. You can create your own vision of each character and give them each their own personality. It is like playing a game, a game where you choose what happens. Unfortunately, you may not literally choose what happens to the characters, but you can use your imagination and give them their own voice. People tend to even prefer to watch TV rather than go out with friends or get together with family. Atlas himself admits that he has fallen victim of such crime. He explains how TV shows can be so powerful and can create such a fantasy that you become hooked on the characters and care more about what is going to happen in their life than you do about what is happening in your own life. Television shows let you watch others go through turmoil, or evil, or things that you could never imagine; it gives you an adrenaline rush and satisfies your fantasies hunger. TV lets us express ourselves and our imaginations through these fictional characters without having to actually do it in reality and suffer the consequences.


In his article, “Get a Life? No Thanks. Just Pass the Remote,” James Atlas conveys his feelings about watching excessive television. He makes statement that the shows he and other people are desperately watching are so successful because, “suspense is a key factor” in there watching power. I thoroughly agree with his view of “binge watching,” because the shows lure people in with their captivating plot lines and witty banter between characters as seen on shows like Breaking Bad and House of Cards. He denounces the writers of these popular shows as the reason for his addiction to watching the programs. Atlas states, “They’ve [writers] learned how to break off an episode at the very moment when it all hangs in the balance.” I believe this to be exceedingly true, because shows with great writing know how to keep the audience engaged all the way till the climax of the episode and just end at that moment. It ignites the viewers’ curiosity and consequently hooks them to keep coming back to find out what happens next. The programs entice the viewers with this tease as to increase the addictive codependent nature of the show and viewer relationship. The viewer becomes heavily invested in time and the development of character personas. This is what negates the addictive quality of shows like Breaking Bad. I feel that Atlas more so feels duped by the writers because he has fallen so hard form the shows that he is watching more than 30 hours of televising a week. The writers are great at their jobs and this is causing Atlas to use is time in an unproductive way. The new age of television has brought such dynamic characters that it has become as mentally satisfying as reading. Atlas writes, “Like the characters in Dostoyevsky, Camus and Céline, Walt inhabits a world of moral ambiguity that TV has never been given the time to explore in depth until now. I watch ‘Breaking Bad’ for the same reason I read the classics: to discover why people act the way they do.” Watching complicated shows gives the same pay off as reading does to Atlas. The characters in shows have so many dimensions which is glorified by the vivid images, provocative content, and mind questioning attributes. Instead of having to read one can “ Just Pass the Remote.”

Grace Han

In the article “Get a Life? No Thanks. Just Pass the Remote”, James Atlas seems to be portraying bingeing on television shows in a strictly negative light, which I happen to disagree with. The fact that these programs are becoming more well-researched and have changed their aim from mindless entertainment to making each episode as close to the truth as possible, should be seen as a positive thing. After all, Atlas states himself that “reading itself is a challenge these days”. Therefore, I see it is a good thing that these T.V. shows are beginning to incorporate more depth within a story. It is like seeing a lengthy, descriptive novel come to life.
Similarly, one of the most important aspects of reading is not only word comprehension and structure, but content. Obviously what an individual is reading becomes just as important as whether or not they are reading at all. These books with excellent story lines and details usually illustrate a message—a main idea that is told through the novel. Nevertheless, through these shows that have lots of depth and complexities, those same messages can also come across just as effectively. In addition, Atlas seems to the understand his addiction, but is so fascinated by the show that he cannot fight it, and is urged to see just one more episode—again.
A different “morally ambiguous” character, would be Daryl from “The Walking Dead’. This is because he would not hesitate to kill someone that is a threat to himself or the group. He would shoot an arrow through them without even batting at eye. However, he does still have a heart and emotions that only seem to reach the surface occasionally with another woman named Beth. Furthermore, I have learned how difficult it must be to be completely become one or the other in dire circumstances such as these through Daryl. I believe that the people one associates themselves with practically defines who they become. Therefore, these television shows that promote such interesting and heavy plots, as well as character developments, are incredible. I just hope it does not stop—I hope many more like it are created!

Shakira Robinson

Atlas sheds a new light on something that has actually been going on for quite some time. Back in the 90's before net flicks existed shows were played during what I believe is still called primetime. For actors/actresses to be primetime was a big deal but for the viewer it meant for most Americans that they were home to watch "their" show, and for those that weren't home there existed the VHS tape & VCR to record the shows. Lol. Yes there was DVR back in the day and it was called 'manual records' by way of video tape recordings done by you. You could even set the VCR to a timer and your show would be waiting for you when you got home, commercials and all. Don't worry you could fast forward through those. So in short binge watching of shows has not just begun nor is it anywhere near coming to an end, its just more convenient today than it was in our new set of yesteryears...

Alisha Fairman

Atlas seems to think T.V. is an oxymoron...so good, yet so bad. Like eating a big bowl of ice cream before bed. Even though you know you shouldn't. He appears to be ashamed to admit to his television viewing habits, yet takes absolute pleasure on every minute he spends in front of his tube. The fact that he is willing to admit this in his essay definitely enhances his authority because honesty is always a strong attribute. Many people who read this essay will be able to see through any tall tale he could have concocted on the subject because many people most likely find themselves indulging in the same type of binge viewing.


In this article, James Atlas tells us what we already know in the back of our minds. TV is entertaining and is addicting. Atlas goes onto state, in a slight negative tone, that TV shows are somewhat of a guilty pleasure. I believe it shouldn't be seen in that light, TV nowadays isn't as mindless as it used to be. Today we have shows that are fantastic for learning. Children have their shows that teach anywhere from colors or shapes to morality and what is right or wrong. Young adults and adults have shows on Discovery Channel and the History channel, and so forth. TV shouldn't hold the stigma of being a sin, instead it should be reevaluated and seen for what it really is, entertaining. It isn't as mindless as everyone is lead to believe.

Kaitlin Fulmer

I can agree with bingeing on TV shows, especially ones that appear on Netflix. This summer I spent my time watching long TV shows on Netflix. I watched Grey Anatomy that was 9 seasons, 22-24 episodes in each season. I didn't leave my house for at least 3 weeks, and when I had to, I didn't want to. I would wake up about 11a.m. and continue watching until 3 or 4 in the morning. Once I finished Greys Anatomy, I didn't know what to do with my life, so I went on to find another show, Prison Break. As soon as that one finished I found another, One Tree Hill. My life revolved around Netflix and what I could find next. I had no self-control on what these addicting shows were doing to me. I was so involved, I couldn't stop. Bingeing on TV shows, is horrible and you don't realize it because you are so involved in those characters and the plot lines and what is going to happen next. I would agree that is has a negative affect on you. It takes over your mind, it is an addiction.

Justin C.

What James Atlas tells us about shows such as “Breaking Bad” are completely true, TV shows have become so addicting in recent times especially with things such as Netflix and Hulu. They have become too hard to ignore and it can certainly feel as if bingeing seasons of shows at a time can be a waste. But like he states, they are so entertaining, and watching them to learn about the show and all the characters is quite a trip, especially in shows like “Breaking Bad” where characters change so dramatically so quickly. Such as Walt, “where he once had trouble loading and drawing a gun, by the end of Season 4 he’s able to blow up an old man in a nursing home.” Overall TV doesn’t do anything bad, it does not make you a bad person to relax or be lazy occasionally, it’s when watching TV never ends is when it becomes a problem.

Karli Wilson

As a fellow Breaking Bad enthusiast, I can wholeheartedly agree that suspense plays a huge role in why the show is so compelling. One other factor Atlas mentions is realism. He writes that “there’s nothing artificial about ‘Breaking Bad’ – the spell is never broken.” The writers of the show obviously did their research, because from watching the show you can “learn how a meth lab operates, how money is laundered and guns are sold, how to murder people,” and even how to go about doing different drugs. Atlas writes that the “most compelling thing about the show… is its depiction of how good and evil can coexist in one person.” This is a completely accurate point, as the main character, Walter White, starts off as a seemingly very nice and respectable high school teacher, but once he gets into the meth dealing business, his whole demeanor changes. The examples above are how, Atlas says, shows such as “Breaking Bad” are challenging the hegemony of the literary classics; the excitement the shows contain pretty much surpass any excitement that classic novels may contain, although such classics are still important in a whole different way.

Alexandra Andrews

As a person who also binge watches Netflix T.V. shows I really relate to most of Atlas article. I don't believe watching a little Netflix here and there is bad for you. Although most people don't just watch a little, it would be silly to only watch a couple episodes of a series because naturally we want to find out what happens in the end.In a way watching multiple episodes of a show is exciting, and can give people something to look forward to. But I do believe that some people can become almost addicted to binge watching shows. It becomes a problem whet you would rather watch a show then go out and socialize or be active. In Atlas article he says" The characters become weirdly familiar, too. I spend more time in their company than I do with my closest friends." If you are also experiencing these thoughts you may want to step back and look at if binge watching is doing you more harm then good.

Andrew Palm

I personally have never watched "Breaking Bad" or any shows like it. And the reason I don't is because if I do I won't stop. It seems like everyone that I talk to at school says "Hey, did you see the new episode of..." And every time I say no and it seems like they just give me a weird look like I am strange because I don't watch the same shows as everyone else. If I watched one of these shows it would just be a way to escape.


In “Get a Life? No Thanks. Just Pass the Remote” the author mentions that suspense is a key factor in his interest in the show “Breaking Bad” (I mean, who really doesn’t like suspense?), but it’s not just the suspense that makes “Breaking Bad” a television show worth viewing as it is the story line that compels both the author and the general public to watch for hours on end. Breaking Bad depicts the story of a high school chemistry teacher, who had recently been diagnosed with lung cancer. Walter White is more than just a television character, but considering his circumstances and life struggles, he is just a normal guy with a wife, son, and a regular family life. Atlas states that “there’s nothing artificial about ‘Breaking Bad’—the spell is never broken”. The writers of the show depicted the normalcy of Walter White’s life and friends so brilliantly that viewers begin to relate to his struggles (despite the vast majority of us not jumping to drug trafficking after becoming diagnosed with a serious disease). Atlas, who still “spends time in the company of classics” becomes enthralled by the television show much like his fascination with the works of Thomas Hardy, Henry James and major Russians. I believe that Breaking Bad “challenges the hegemony” through its transfer of information. Although not everyone will actually apply the knowledge of laundering drug money, murdering people, and operating a meth lab in real life, Breaking Bad shows its viewers how to do such things. When reading classic literature, readers learn something much like when viewers watch Breaking Bad, they too learn something.

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