Alex White is desperately trying to click to the next episode, but no matter how many times she jabs her finger down, nothing happens. She is on the verge of tears; she doesn’t know what to do next or how to live in this world without the ability to skip through it.
Alex is just one of many students currently dealing with NWD, or Netflix Withdrawal Disorder. The disease first began in her legs, which shook uncontrollably as she attempted to leave her bed for the first time in three days. It then moved to her eyes, which became dry and itchy from staring at a computer screen all day. Eventually, it moved to her brain; the whole world suddenly becoming two-dimensional, a land of soundtracks and closed captions (Alex just finished watching “Lost,” so she’s used to having to occasionally deal with subtitles). Tragically, Alex is at a point from which she can never fully recover.
Right now, Alex is standing in her new dorm room in Kusch House. She is trying to introduce herself to her new roommate, but the situation has become increasingly uncomfortable. Her new roommate is bubbly and outgoing; she says she doesn’t even watch television. Alex has no idea what to do. All she knows is that she has to get out of here, fast.
But life doesn’t have a skip button. Even if you’re willing to wait 15 seconds, you can’t just move life on to the next plotline. Alex is stuck here.
Dr. Leonardo Spaceman (not to be confused with the doctor from “30 Rock,” he presses), who specializes in NWD, says that cases like Alex’s are all too common for college students coming back to school after a long summer away. For many, the calls of “Orange is the New Black” and “Breaking Bad” are too hard to resist, and after months spent locked inside, adjusting back to the real world can be an unimaginable, almost impossible, task.
“Cases of NWD have increased ten-fold in the past two years,” says Spaceman. “My colleagues in the medical community don’t take it seriously. They say that it’s the student’s fault, that they do it to themselves. Of course, this is what we said about obesity, but now we know that’s a real condition. We can’t fault people for not being able to resist clicking on to the next episode.”
“Who among us has that kind of self-control?” he added, before informing me that he would need to cut our interview short because he heard Netflix had added the fifth season of “Pretty Little Liars.”
Without the research dollars needed to find a cure, students like Alex are left to suffer, singing “Peeno Noir” and handing people frozen bananas in an attempt to make friends. And unfortunately, just like the fourth “Spy Kids” movie, nobody cares.
“What are you calling me about again? Netflix Withdrawal Disorder?” said vice chair of academics Wayne Hamm, when asked for comment. “I don’t think that’s a real thing. What publication are you from again?”
Hamm doesn’t know Alex personally, and he probably won’t ever meet her. She, like so many others, will spend the rest of their lives struggling to adjust, struggling to live in a world that doesn’t want to accept their kind; a world that says yes, you do have to go outside and no, you can’t just watch TV all day.
If we don’t take a stand against NWD, students like Alex will be lost, relegated to the land of forgotten originals like “Marco Polo” and “Hemlock Grove,” never to be heard from again.
If you want to help solve NWD, donate to Dr. Spaceman’s Netflix Users Anonymous today, right through your browser. We would never make you do anything ridiculous like go to the mailbox to send a check.