“Who has time to watch TV when there is so much fucking TV to watch?” 

It’s a question that has plagued humanity for at least the last three-to-five years: How does one keep up with the culture when the amount of culture that is being created is growing at an exponential rate?

For Netflix, the answer is simple: TL:DW! [Too Long: Didn’t Watch]

“Our research shows that most people want to have seen the programming we offer, but don’t have time to actually watch it,” said Netflix’s Head of Content, Ted Sarandos. “Our Too Long, Didn’t Watch feature will allow users to skip the unpleasantries of watching a masterfully crafted TV series without experiencing the embarrassment and discomfort of having to admit that they didn’t watch whatever TV show everyone is going on about this week.”

The TL:DW feature will allow Netflix customers to watch edits of an entire season of content in just minutes. Customers who get through the edited programming will also receive a list of statements to read off at a party when asked about the show so those around will assume they actually sat through the whole thing. For example, this author watched a 10-minute recap of Freaks and Geeks and was immediately texted the following things to say if ever asked about the show at a party: 

  • “How about how Seth Rogan reacted to finding out his girlfriend had ambiguous genitalia? So ahead of its time.”
  • “Busy Philipps really earned her way onto the main cast.” 
  • “That scene where Martin Starr ate lunch in front of the TV alone just broke my fucking heart. What do you mean you don’t remember that scene? It was like the most important scene in the series. Are you sure you even watched Freaks and Geeks?” 

The Avocado asked Netflix how it’s content creators felt about the streaming service editing their work or their actual plan to allow users to watch content in fast forward, to which the Network said showrunners were “universally pissed” but that it was a necessary step.

“We don’t believe anyone is going to watch even an edited version of whatever new show we offer until after they get through Mad Men, which is literally a 92-hour commitment. This way, they can get the gist of Mad Men in around 15 minutes before turning back to our more recent programming or, more likely, our most popular content: full episodes of The Office played in the background while you scroll through Instagram. 

The Avocado reached out to all of the showrunners in Hollywood who universally noted that Netflix’s plan was a “fucking stupid idea,” and that they would be happy to take their content elsewhere, assuming other streaming services don’t offer the same feature, which they probably will.