Netflix and…no, seriously, chill

How pop culture ruined one of my favorite pastimes


Rachel Jackson

Senior Riley Laurence likes Netflix. He also likes to chill. Now, due to pop culture slang, he is unable to express how he truly feels due to the innuendos around “Netflix and chill.”

It seriously astounds me how consistently pop culture can turn something normal into a joke or a euphemism for something inappropriate. This phenomenon has existed since the birth of social media, a prime example being the “basic white girl” joke. However, while I am sure that Starbucks has experienced a decline in the number of Caramel Frappuccinos ordered and UGG boot purchases have reached an all-time low due to the shaming of people, especially young women, for buying these products, I believe that a more pressing issue is the “Netflix and chill” movement that has been enveloping the nation’s youth and making me look like a pervert for the past few months.

I am low-maintenance. I am one of those friends that is down to just do whatever everyone else wants to do for the sake of avoiding conflict. I am the type of person that wants to just be alone, watch Netflix, and chill. Just a few months ago, someone reading that last sentence would understand that I am just the kind of person that likes to be alone, relax, and take advantage of the thousands of TV shows I have at my fingertips with my Netflix subscription. One might say I like to Netflix and chill.

Now, however, I am 100 percent certain that every last person reading this that is under the age of 20 picked up on the phrase “Netflix and chill,” and some people over 20 probably noticed as well. Months ago, being invited to “Netflix and chill” with someone would entail exactly what is being said. That person would like to watch Netflix and hang out with you. On the contrary, the same phrase is used in today’s pop culture as a euphemism for hooking up with someone.

In this modern usage, it is questionable as to whether or not the person inviting the other even has a Netflix subscription, but the literal meaning of the person asking to “chill” is understating what is implied by the modern definition. This current usage assumes that a whole lot more than “chilling” will be taking place, and that assumption is what has been bothering me from the start of this movement.

I think what bothers me most about the modern interpretation of the phrase is the fact that if I were to ask a friend to “Netflix and chill,” I would be asking if they wanted to do exactly what the wording means.

No sexual innuendos. No smirking-face emoji. No meaning implied behind the phrase.

I would be asking if that person would like to come over, watch Netflix, and chill.

If I even dared to ask someone to “Netflix and chill” now, I would be ridiculed by the people around me for asking something so forward and inappropriate, and then my offer would probably be misinterpreted unless that person was sensible enough to know that I was not suggesting anything more.

Another thing that bothers me about “Netflix and chill,” aside from the social consequences, is how much I enjoy partaking in the literal meaning of the phrase. How else would I have been able to catch up on shows like Grey’s Anatomy and Law and Order: SVU, shows that I did not start watching until well after they began? How would I have been able to hear Ted Mosby’s stories behind how he met his children’s mother, or experience the trials and tribulations of Ross, Monica, Chandler, Phoebe, Joey, and Rachel as they try to find themselves while living in New York City? Netflix makes all of this possible for me, and as stressed out as we high schoolers are, finding time to chill is nothing but beneficial to my elevated blood pressure.

I love Netflix, I love to chill, and I hate that another good thing in my life has become the punchline of a joke that is making me look like a pig.

And so what if I like Caramel Frappuccinos? They taste good and they make me feel like I am drinking coffee even though I am just setting myself up for health problems and an upset stomach.