Manchester University
Oak Leaves

April 8, 2016

BINGE-WATCHING ‘House of Cards’ is a Netflix favorite among Manchester University professors. 

'Netflix and Grade'

Sarah Farnam

When sites like Netflix and Hulu began to popularize online streaming of television shows and movies, a trend was sparked among college students. Between classes, on date night or when putting off homework assignments, undergraduates will pull up an episode of their favorite show and be sucked into Scranton, PA, on “The Office,” or New York City on “How I Met Your Mother.”

A study composed by Geoffrey Graybeal, a professor in the College of Media and Communication at Texas Tech University, found that 90% of college students watch Netflix on a regular basis. However, these students may not realize that their professors are binge-watching the same shows that they are.

Several Manchester University professors have subscriptions to Netflix, and their tastes in shows range from goofy comedies to gripping dramas. Communication studies professor Mary Lahman is currently watching “Grace & Frankie,” “Parks and Rec,” “The Office” and “Psych,” while fellow communication studies professor Tim McKenna-Buchanan just finished “Fuller House” and “House of Cards.”

English professor Stacy Erickson-Pesetski recently viewed the final season of “House of Cards” as well, and says that she is still recovering. “I also was an ‘early adopter’ of ‘Making of a Murderer,’” she says. “I binge-watched it while sick during Christmas break.  Then the rest of the world found it, too.” The documentary-style series is one of her favorites. “It took place in the area where I grew up in Wisconsin,” she says. “I remember it when it happened!”

A popular show amongst professors is the Netflix original comedy series “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” Both McKenna-Buchanan and English professor Katharine Ings name this as their favorite show on the site. “On one hand, I love seeing how Indiana is portrayed in a television show – I think that’s really quite funny,” Ings says. “And on the other, I love the wit of Kimmy Schmidt and the banter that the characters engage in.”

McKenna-Buchanan agrees, noting that “they are short episodes and hilarious.” He even identifies with Kimmy, the title character, listing her as one of the characters from a Netflix show that is the most similar to himself. “(It would be) a mix of Kimmy Schmidt and Claire Underwood (from ‘House of Cards’), someone who likes to have fun and be goofy but also has goals and ambitions and is willing to sacrifice to reach those goals.”

Professor Ings identifies more with a combination of Liz Lemon from Hulu shows “30 Rock” and Frankie Heck from “The Middle.” “I connect to Liz Lemon by day, via working and writing in my office, and then to Frankie when my children get out of school and I’m running around all the time trying to get people where they should be, or solving problems without any time to catch my breath,” she says. “Actually, that’s a part of Liz Lemon’s job too.”

If she ever needed a break from the hectic life of a mother and had the opportunity to live in the world of a show on Netflix, Ings would choose Rosewood from “Pretty Little Liars.” “I certainly don’t like to be stalked and threatened,” she says, “but I like to solve mysteries. I wouldn’t mind living there from afar.”

Professor Erickson-Pesetski would choose to move into the world of “Orange is the New Black” for reasons of her own. “I could yell at them and tell them why their show isn't like ‘real’ prison,” she says.

McKenna-Buchanan would live in the world of “Bloodline,” “because they are in Florida and run their own hotel, and I think that would be a fun career and nice weather.”