Young Professionals Megan Draper (Jessica Pare) and Don Draper (Jon Hamm) are seen in season 6 of "Mad Men" on AMC. (Michael Yarish/AMC/MCT)

Megan Draper (Jessica Pare) and Don Draper (Jon Hamm) are seen in season 6 of "Mad Men" on AMC. (Michael Yarish/AMC/MCT)

Defining binge watching amount remains elusive

Published on February 25th, 2014 | by Josh Hafner

Baseball’s opening day is March 31. But as long as the temps stay freezing and the skies keep dumping snow on Des Moines, our new pastime remains: binge watching.

More than 1 in 6 Netflix users watched a “House of Cards” episode within 24 hours of the entire second season debuting this month, Forbes reported.

It all prompted the Atlantic recently to ask: How do we define binge-watching? The Oxford English Dictionary defines it as viewing “multiple episodes of a television programme in rapid succession.”

Atlantic writer Nolan Feeney offered something more specific: “to watch at least four episodes of a television program, typically a drama, in one sitting (bathroom breaks and quick kitchen snack runs excepted) through an on-demand service or DVDs, often at the expense of other perceived responsibilities in a way that can cause guilt.”

Four or more episodes, paired with a bit of guilt, seems like the right number for binge-watching. Four or more drinks in roughly two hours qualifies as binge-drinking for women, according to the Centers for Disease Control. That’s five in two hours for men.

Watching Frank Underwood navigate D.C. cocktail parties got us thinking …

What drinks would pair best with our favorite shows? Here are a few suggestions:

“House of Cards”: In Season 1, fictional reporter Zoe Barnes is seen sipping red wine (out of a coffee mug, no less) in her apartment. On a reporter’s salary, our staff is almost certain she is drinking a 2012 Yellow Tail Pinot Noir. We couldn’t possibly comment.

“Game of Thrones”: HBO and the New York brewery Ommegang are collaborating on a series of beers. Its “Take the Black Stout” is complex and dark, Ommegang notes, “like those who have sworn the oath to defend Westeros against threats from the north.” Whatever, nerds.

“Parks and Recreation”: Leslie Knope’s noble quest to better the people of Pawnee takes the form of a soda tax in season five. The town’s fictional restaurant, Paunch Burger, slings sodas in a 512-ounce child size, because the cup is the same size as a small child. During your next “Parks” binge, simply drink 16 32-ounce cups of your favorite soda (512 ounces) to match the Paunch Burger child size.

“Mad Men”: Whether you’re joining Don Draper as he downs a midday drink at Sterling Cooper Draper Price or while he’s suppressing dark secrets at a Manhattan bar, the answer here is an Old Fashioned: whiskey, bitters, sugar and water. Classic.

“Breaking Bad”: A show about guys cooking blue meth requires an azure drink like Blue Curacao. It must be good — it’s blue.

About the Author

covers young professionals for The Des Moines Register. Josh can be reached at or on Twitter via @joshhafner.

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