CHICAGO, Ill.—When James and Lily Armstrong started binge watching “Coach,” the popular ABC sitcom that began in 1989 and ran for nine seasons, it was a very casual affair.
“It was late-July, and we’d just finished watching ‘Bojack Horseman.’ We wanted something a little less depressing to watch during meals, and we sorta laughed when we saw ‘Coach’ was streaming,” said James. “We’d watched a few episodes in the 90s as kids and remembered liking it OK.”
“We weren’t expecting it to hold up and were surprised by how quickly we got into it,” added Lily. “It’s a typical 90s sitcom, but the writing and acting are really great. There were some sexist undertones early in the series, but those fade as Coach matures under the influence of his future wife, Christine. And Jerry Van Dyke’s character, Luther, is hilarious – that man is a comedy genius.”
But tragedy struck when they logged in to Netflix earlier this month.
“We were barely into the sixth season when we saw, with horror, that little note in the corner of the screen that says, ‘Available until Sept. 15.’ Which meant we only had ten days to watch 94 episodes,” said James.
Even for two binge-watchers who like to say they “don’t watch much TV, but…” before they talk about all of the TV shows they watch, 94 episodes in two weeks was going to be quite a challenge.
“We both have full-time jobs and generally only watch two, maybe three, episodes a day. But we calculated we’d need to watch nine episodes a day to make it to the end of the series by Sept. 15,” said Lily. “But then we also realized we didn’t know if the show would stop streaming at midnight on Sept. 14, mid-day on Sept. 15, or midnight on Sept. 15.”
It wasn’t a risk they were willing to take, so they set a goal of finishing the series by Sept. 14 and put together a game plan.
“It’s been tough,” said Lily. “We’ve started going to bed around 2 a.m., just so we can squeeze in another episode or two, which has made it difficult to get up for work the next morning. Luckily, we both have some sick time, so we’ve been able to call in and keep watching.”
Unfortunately, watching so many episodes back to back has made various continuity errors glaringly obvious.
“It was very upsetting when Luther’s girlfriend Lorraine just disappeared,” said Lily. “And then the same thing happened with Ruthanne. How could the show do that to us?”
“We’re also worried about the motorcycles Coach Fox and Dauber hid under the porch in season six,” said Lily. “Are they still there, just rotting away? And is Hayden still part owner of the Touchdown Club?”
With 46 episodes left and only two days remaining, the couple has a grueling weekend ahead of them. But they’re hoping a lot of the plot holes will be filled in the coming episodes.
“We’ve cleared our schedules for the weekend,” said Lily. “It won't be easy, but we’re going to get through this.”
“If nothing else,” added James, “This experience has brought us closer together. I can’t wait to spend the rest of my life watching television with this woman.”