“What? No. No way.”
“Why would you even suggest that?”
“It’s like you don’t know me at all.”
I’m having a relationship crisis — with my Netflix account.
My family’s Netflix account was recently hacked, and we had to reset the password. But doing so wiped our viewing history, and when I logged into the wonky smiley face with my name, it asked me to select three shows I had enjoyed to inform my preferences.
Just three? I’ve watched more than three shows after midnight on a Tuesday.
I’m so much more than The Crown, Queer Eye, and Schitt’s Creek.
My old Netflix account knew me better than I knew myself. It had had years to refine my algorithms, until it could intuit my tastes, anticipate my desires, and practically finish my sentences.
It was the entertainment version of a Myers-Briggs personality test. It knew I was a True Crime – Camp Comedy – Horror – Standup Special.
With a rising moon of Wholesome Reality Competition Show.
We were always on the same page. Do I want to watch the Lady Gaga season of American Horror Story? You bet I do.
Do I want to watch a documentary about a weirdo husband who for sure pushed his wife down The Staircase? I’m pressing “Skip Intro” as we speak.
Now I feel at sea in a surplus of uncurated content. Water, water everywhere, and not a drop to stream.
I didn’t give up all my private data to be so misunderstood.
For better or for worse, personal technology plays an increasingly large role in our lives (lol, it’s totally for worse), and we’ve come to expect a personalized experience. Is it too much to ask that artificial intelligence not act stupid?
I just got a new phone, and I swear the auto correct seems both more aggressive and more off-base. A single letter out of place, and it suggests something wild and out of context.
And don’t get me started on its failure to recognize the possessive its.
My old phone knew my dog’s name is Pip. My new phone insists it’s PIP, pit, or pup. There’s no faster way to alienate me than to mistake the importance of these three letters.
I was texting my friend the other night, and it auto corrected “RHONY” to “thing.”
Any device that thinks the acronym I need is for “Picture in Picture” instead of a Real Housewives franchise deserves a drink thrown in its face.
And, no, I never mean “ducking.”
Not every streaming service shares the intimacy of a smartphone or a long-term Netflix relationship. I don’t expect that feeling of monogamous connection from Amazon Prime Video.
I share that account with my mom, too, but it doesn’t offer us separate user profiles (or if it does, we’re too dumb to set it up). So essentially, it’s two-timing us.
She has to navigate around my Fleabag obsession, and I have to comb through her WWII documentaries, Italian crime series, and more royalist programming than Meghan Markle’s dad.
It only really causes problems when we try to watch the same show at different rates, and Amazon can’t keep track of who watched what.
I started rewatching The Sopranos, because respect is due. Inevitably, I reminded her of how great it was, even sending her videos of some of my favorite lines (not many printable here). Eventually, my dead-on Livia impression over the phone made her realize she had to rewatch, too, but she kept losing her place in the series, as my activity had marked them all “watched.”
Luckily it was her fourth time viewing the series, so she has it mostly committed to memory.
But sometimes we can’t blame artificial intelligence for our mistakes.
I was recently visiting my mom at her house, and we decided to watch the 2016 miniseries adaptation of War and Peace. We may not agree on everything, but what woman can resist a sweeping period drama?
So we embarked on the epic, eight-hour journey of Natasha, Pierre, Andrew, and roughly two dozen other characters. We binged it all weekend, but at the very final episode, we found ourselves more confused than usual.
“Wait, so they got married?”
“Does that mean the war is over?”
But we stuck with it, each of us pretending to understand more than we did (like we’d been doing with the Russian history all along). When the final credits rolled, we were still trying to make sense of it.
“Uh oh,” my mom said. Back on the show’s home page, we saw that we’d somehow skipped the penultimate episode.
That’s what you get for not reading the book.
We’re only human.