Netflix and Chill: a streaming seduction


Jordan Bastian

John Updike penned “Popular Music” in 1986, detailing how intertwined popular music and human hormones are. Fast forward 30 years, and it’s not just popular music that continues to make this case, but popular culture, too.

Take, for example, the “Netflix and Chill” meme that soared to popularity late last year. The euphemized sexual invitation has reached memetic popularity faster than a confused binge-watcher can say “I thought you said Netflix and Chill!” to his or her partner.

Like song lyrics before, and countless other variations of hormone-induced hilarity, many see Netflix and Chill as more humorous than anything seriously harmful. It’s analogous to the bad pick-up line at the local bar.

Many see it as a joke come to life, and others view it as just another excuse for a one-night stand. Students’ opinions on UW-Fox’s campus mostly lean towards the joking side of that spectrum, often laughing and joking that others have or have not done it.

The truth, though, is that it’s not the most original thing to pop up from the Internet, and it won’t be the last of its kind.

“It’s a real-life meme, and it’s branching off into a new society of weird,” Freshman Alexus Doering said.

It’s hard to pinpoint where the idea of Netflix and Chill got its origin. However, the popularity truly grew through the Internet. Like all Internet memes, it started as a running joke that was shared on Facebook, Tumblr and other social media outlets. It became such a huge part of our culture that T-shirts and bumper stickers even advertise it. Even Netflix accepted what its name has become and used it for marketing, the name recognition boosting them further into popularity. This is unlike many memes before it, as unlike with Grumpy Cat, you can apply Netflix and Chill to life and use it.

Is it really a new “society of weird” though? While the thought that picking a show with a companion and hoping it will set the mood is an odd notion; many people watch Netflix already. People are now simply combining two of their favorite activities; marathoning a show and getting it on. But despite the ambiguity of the meme, it’s easy to catch on.

Everyone knows what really goes on during Netflix and Chill, and neither of those things includes actually paying attention to what’s being streamed, nor chilling.

“It makes babies,” Kayla Root, a sophomore at Fox said.

Doering also mentioned that the next baby boom wouldn’t be due to impending war, but instead to Netflix.

While some see the humor in it, others don’t think it’s just a joke. Freshman Calyn Wolfgram sees it as pathetic.

“It’s dumb that you need to have a Netflix and Chill label to be intimate,” Wolfgram said.

Some tend to agree with her, seeing it as an excuse to lure someone into your house under less than honest preconceptions.

While it is understandable that some will be insulted by the not-so-subtle undertones of such memes, there’s a long history of such provocation. Humankind always has and always will find an excuse to procreate, be it by choice or accident, and this is just the most recent version of that. Bryan Adams’ “Summer of ’69” or Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On”, are clearly immoderate examples, much older than the latest pop culture invitation.