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Timestamps, Details and Transcript

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  • 00:00 - Introduction

  • 00:48 - Segment 1: The Treatment (Short Story)

  • 07:11 - Segment 2: The Origin of "Netflix and Chill" (Metaphor History)

  • 15:56 - Segment 3: Virtual Dating (Communication Topic)

  • 25:20 - Segment 4: Talk With Eilish McNamara (Guest Interview)



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To my illustrious family and friends. Near and far. Old and new. This is Kevin Mercurio on the mic. And welcome to the 23rd episode of the Metaphorigins podcast.


Now, to show support if you like this sort of content, please make sure to rate and subscribe to the podcast on Apple or Spotify or Google Podcasts or whatever platform you are listening to this on, and follow @metaphorigins on Instagram, that’s @metaphorigins, where I will be posting most of my updates, as well as on my personal website: Again, I will hold another draw on my 30th episode for the gorgeous, butterfly-printed, custom Metaphorigins shirt, so remember to follow the Instagram page to be placed in the draw.


Okay. So for today’s episode, I’m going to discuss a relatively recent expression that took the internet by storm, meme-ing its way from jolly Saint Nexpression’s Nice to Naughty List.


Let’s boot up the story’s environment. You, are a man. Yes, we can happily discuss how much easier it has become for you to rise up the company ladder, how family doesn’t seem to berate you with questions about marrying a partner, and how you’re suddenly described by dominant characteristics. We will save these topics for another day. You see, you have a major problem on your hands, or rather, in-between your legs.


It was Valentine’s Day yesterday, and you and your partner were getting frisky like it was a duo scene from 1979’s Caligula. Pants were dropped, drink glasses were toppled, limbs were flying, there may have been guest musical appearances by Barry White and Madonna, it was an epic endeavour. To extend the pleasure, in more ways than one, you decide to take a performance enhancer, the almighty blue pill!


“Are you sure about this?” Your partner asks, worriedly.


“Of course I am. You know, Neo was wrong all along. Why not take the blue pill and continue living in bliss?”


I know, typical men right? Anyway, this leads to a full scale circus bone-anza (hey-ho!). Passion and love, sweat and a little bit of tears, filled the bedroom for just over four hours. Out of breath and ready for bed, you both lie on the bed facing up at the ceiling.


“So,” your partner starts, “it’s, umm, still standing. I mean its become more like the Tower of Pisa, but still, what a wonder of this world.”


“Yeah,” you hesitantly agree, “but it’s starting to feel a bit numb.”


“It is passed 4 hours, I think we should call our doctor, do you think he’s UP tonight?”


“He’s a stiff chap, rude as an asshole after Spicy Saturday’s at Fiestas. I’m certain he’s working right now on some paperwork. Let me give him a call.”


You call your doctor and he tells you to meet him at his clinic right away. You put on your pants and zi—— Ohhh — I mean your sweatpants and throw on a sweatshirt and some sneakers. Penguin straddling down the driveway to your car, you start the engine and drive to the clinic. Luckily, the lights are already on, and you meet your doctor inside with a smile on his face.


“Well look at you,” your doctor says, “seems like you’ve seen better days. You look like the version of Pinocchio Walt Disney wanted to make.”


“Alright, alright, can you help me or not?” You ask.


“Hold you horse balls there, Seabiscuit,” your doctor says, “you might not like the steps we take from here. You see, I have to see whether you have low or high blood flow to that medieval cannon.”


“Oh please don’t tell me what I think your going to tell me…”


By then your doctor already reached into the cabinet beside the patient table and took a needle and syringe. Before you know it, it’s already happening.


“Happy Freakin’ Valentine’s Day,” you say painfully under your breath.


“You too honey,” your doctor laughs. “Good news though, it’s bright red. That means you have high blood flow. We don’t need to be afraid of tissue damage to the vertical mushroom cloud. Okay MOAB? Now the best thing to do here, is to just relax. Take some ice cubes, throw them in a nice baggy, plop yourself on the couch, watch Netflix and chill it.”


“That’s it? No drugs or anything?”


“I think you’ve had enough drugs for today, Madingo. Now get the hell outta’ here.”


You roll your eyes, questioning why you continue to be a patient of Dr. Douchebag. But you head back home and tell you partner what the doctor advised.


“So he just said to watch Netflix and chill?” Your partner asks, confused.


“Yeah,” you say, “something about high blood flow means no tissue damage, atomic bombs, Pinocchio, I dunno. He seemed not to be worried, so I guess we shouldn’t either.”


Your partner hurries to the kitchen to put together an ice cube bag, while you walk to the living room couch like a real life stick figure. Your partner joins you and hands you the bag of ice. You place it on the base.


“C— C— COLD!”


Your partner boots up the smart TV and scrolls to Netflix. On the Main Page, you both browse the most trending movies and shows in your country: Sex Education, Below Her Mouth, Gypsy, Game of Thrones, My Days of Mercy, Sense8, Nymphomaniac, Orange Is The New Black, Black Mirror, Spring Breakers, The Vampire Diaries, Magic Mike, Fifty Shades - The Trilogy.


You and your partner look at each other, and in the heat of reading out sexualized words out loud, began World Love 3. Pants dropped to the ground, ice cubes toppled, limbs flying in each and every direction. Passion and love, sweat and even more tears, filled the living room for just over two episodes of Orange Is The New Black. Out of breath and quite ready for bed, you both sit up on the couch facing the TV screen. On it, Netflix’s shameless prompt “Are you still watching…” is taped on a black translucent screen.


“Wow, that last one worked” your partner musters up the strength to break the silence.


You look at the now deflated balloon animal. “You’re right, it did! Maybe Dr. Douchebag really does know what he’s talking about.”


You grab your phone and dial up the doctor again.


“Why in the bloody hell are you still calling me at this hour?” Your doctor yells into the phone.


“You were right Doc, Netflix and chill really did the trick.” You laugh, and hang up on his rude ass.


Alright alright, the tension is over, let’s erect our heads out of the gutter. I mean get! Although this expression easily serves as an excuse for some low brow humour, its origin story is certainly one that’s not well known. Ubiquitous in modern culture, how did a streaming service get bent and holed in with coitus?


What’s the origin to the expression, “Netflix and Chill”?


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Most of this information was obtained from various articles discussing the origin and influence of this expression. All sources will be mentioned in the description.


I want to pause for a second and ask you the following question: Can you name a saying or concept that took the internet by storm recently, say, within the last year? Perhaps the most recent one that comes to mind is Chairman Bernie, a still image of Senator Bernie Sanders sitting during Joseph R. Biden’s inauguration with some cozy mittens. This prompted thousands of memes photoshopping the senator sitting in various pop culture references. To my fellow academics, remember Wormaggedon? I mean, sure, all of these trended for a brief period of time, but they weren’t “Overly Attached Girlfriend” big or “Ain’t nobody got time for that” versatile, at least not yet.


There are plenty of examples out there of memes highlighting slip-ups, genuine candids or stills of moments captioned with something so relatable. What about sayings? Like Futurama’s “I don’t want to live on this planet anymore”, or that overused motivational piece of “Keep calm and carry on”. Now what about euphemisms? The Karen concept, Instagram Thots and Twitch’s pogger emote?


There lies the interesting story of today’s expression, Netflix and Chill, an initially innocuous one turned sexual innuendo exploding on the interwebs (alright I’ll stop with the undertones). Researching this idea was full of gaffs that literally made me laugh out loud. How did articles describe its evolution in the mainstream? One article featured in Shape mentions that “The year 2015 was a main turning point for the phrase; in April it was added to the notorious Urban Dictionary, the site where users can make their own additions in the formation of the modern day youth lexicon, defined as: “code for two people going to each other’s houses and having sexual intercourse or doing other sexual related acts.” Funny in itself, until I realized that this Shape article was written by a dog named Pebble.


“Netflix and chill” is one of those ideas that came from something innocent and has now grown into something of modern cultural lore. It’s influence has affected thousands if not millions of teenagers in North America and around the world. It’s so influential, in fact, that it has appeared in major news sites like The Guardian and The New York Times. Additionally, its influence on culture doesn’t stop there, there’s a 2017 horror comedy hosting it’s name that was selected to be featured in the Netherlands Film Festival, the now known flat-earth believer and rapper B.O.B created a song called Netflix and Chill featuring Wurld & London, Nordstrom has a line of clothing suited for those engaging in the literal meaning (mind you, it aint cheap), hell, even Ben And Jerry’s jumped on the trend with their peanut butter fudge dotted with pretzels flavour Netflix and Chill’d. You don’t see Karen’s getting their ice cream flavour, now, do you? (In fairness, some offended person would probably sue). Netflix and Chill became a Halloween Costume, a night-on-the-town starter kit, an inside joke Boomers wouldn’t understand until a year later. 


Even Netflix themselves, either without PR advice or succumbing to the internet sensation, did a bit of tongue and cheek advertising. In an article on MancUnion by Rowan Jenner, Netflix posted “a gif from Clueless, revealing Cher Horowitz’s honourable attempt to seduce her high school crush whilst watching a movie, with the caption: “Netflix and chill? No, really.”. The “Netflix Switch”, debuting in the 2015 World Maker Faire, involving a do it yourself project creating a button that when pressed, automatically dims the lights, puts your phone on “do not disturb” and turns on the Netflix service on your smart TV, was easily re-labeled by the unforgiving internet as the “Netflix and Chill Switch”.


But c’mon Kev, Let’s bring in this tangent back to the podcast purpose. The origin of “Netflix and Chill”. Well, technically there are two origins. In a wonderful article posted in Splinter (previously Fusion?) by Kevin Roose goes deep in the life of the term (good ear, you caught that one). Let’s begin with the innocent saying. Netflix themselves have been operating since 1997 as mail-order DVD internet company that transitioned to membership streaming on 2007. Fun fact, the company in its early days of the transition had a rule called the Canadian Principle, in which prevented the company from expanding to the Canadian market due to difficulties in handling different currencies (Canada was given access in 2010 and other countries followed suit thereafter). The first recorded use is a tweet by the account @nofacenina on January 22nd 2009 (yes, the research on this expression is super accurate) that stated, “I’m about to log onto Netflix and chill for the rest of the night”.


In early 2014, 5 years later, still, people were using it in its literal form, however the phrase Netflix and Chill became a standalone activity. Rather than having to say I’m going to watch Netflix and chill on my couch, it became completely unnecessary to mention any context whatsoever. 


Then, all of a sudden, in late summer of that year, Twitter users began including emojis that insinuated something far more than just a session of “Netflix and Chill”. And in later months, the word chill began to appear in scare quotes. Popularized on Black Twitter, other online communities on the platform and other internet groups rode the trending train, like Vine user Britany Furlan who’s Netflix and Chill video was watched 11 million times in just a few months. It’s confirmation on Urban Dictionary later that year solidified it’s placement as a cultural meme.


A somewhat crude and explicit segment, I realize. But it’s interesting how concepts catch on in such a diverse and connected world. Something so literally common as watching Netflix became the mating call for many individuals even to this day. Memes, like concepts from its origins of evolutionary biology, really do appear randomly and stick if enough minds relate to it, vibe with it. Netflix and chill replaces its predecessors knocking’ boots, do the Humpty hump, bump uglies, and smush. However, perhaps by focusing on one euphemism, we lose that historical context that once had so much meaning, so much relatability. I end with the late 19th century version of our beloved innuendo that may boink the minds of my fellow content creators, “Would you like to come up and see my etchings?”.


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For my communication segment, I would like to talk about an activity that has risen in popularity by the recent events of, oh I don’t know, a deadly coronavirus bringing the world to its mercy over the past year. An activity that I have dipped my toes into and actually do see some benefits. And that topic, is virtual dating.


How many of us have turned to the interwebs in search for some companionship during a time when distance is not only mandatory, but also logical? I mean, there’s plenty of applications out there: Tinder, Hinge, OkCupid, PlentyOfFish, Twoo, Bumble, CoffeeMeetsBagel. For those part of the LGBTQ community, there’s Grindr, Her, Glimmer, Thurst. For those who like to date on their computers instead of their phones, there’s eHarmony, ChristianMingle, Match, Zoosk, hell, Facebook Dating became a service in 2019. What about Classified ads? And to my fellow Ottawa residents, there’s always Ashley Madison. I say that only because an update by the Toronto-based service stated that in 2015, 1 in 5 Ottawa residents were users of the “website created for married people to find new lovers”. We were, prior to this, popularizing a dating game like drive-thru fast food.


And no, the pandemic didn’t seem to help those living alone. And no, the pandemic didn’t seem to vibe well with singles who know that their relatives and their friends have the underrated opportunity for physical contact. And yes, that includes sexual physicality, but it doesn’t have to. A handshake, a hug, a pat on the back for making a meal using little ingredients because grocery stores are high-risk contact zones! In a PBS article lamenting what dating was like in pandemic times, one 40 year old man declared, “

“It almost felt like dating in the Elizabethan era,” Price said. “If I could get, like, one little finger tip, in between her shoulder blades through a parka, that was like the most exciting thing I’ve had in a month.”


The existence of these applications were obviously extremely popular before the pandemic. But now, what happens when we eliminate the quick meetup for more… Substance?  Sure, isolated and socially distanced apart, people are thumb swiping like windshield wipers on a rainy day. That sort of behaviour can be argued as unchanging. Reports at the start of last summer from one service, OkCupid, found a 700% increase in virtual dating. Zoom dates became a thing. FaceTime calling was used in first dates likely as much as calls to check up on a family member. Apps integrated video and audio calling features so as to encourage meeting virtually. Even Bumble CEO Whitney Wolfe Herd published a letter and issued an in-app notification that supported the virtual dating trend. Mainstream news sites offer countless Top 10 lists from Forbes dating tips ( to NBC’s COVID dating shopping guide (, the number one item on the latter list being a forehead thermometer, for yourself, not your date. Imagine, pulling one of these out for a temperature check of your prospective partner.


Everyone in the online dating space jumped on this trend in support of government guidelines. And how did users adapt to this new culture? Who would have thought that a 2017 McGill University study of the psychological impact of infectious disease risk in dating would be relevant today. In said study, researchers found that those more prone to disease displayed lower interest in prospective dates, a kind of survival instinct given the term “behavioural immune system”. This mechanism has definitely made its appearance even in those who aren’t more vulnerable, as the rational way of dating these days. Moreover, a recent survey by Singles In America of 5000 Americans showed that 63% of those surveyed are spending more time getting to know matched partners, and 58% shifted towards the mentality with the intention to date (as opposed to browsing or dtf I presume). Interestingly, and perhaps this may be only an American statistic, but 76% of those surveyed believe it’s important that potential partners share the same political beliefs. In the growing polarized world we find ourselves in today, this comes as little surprise. Yet, I wonder how Canadians fair in this metric? I say that coming from a family of 4 in which each of us voted for a different party in the last federal election (but I guess we’re stuck together anyway).


Even how we present ourselves changed. In an Atlantic article about social distance dating, Dr. Sarah Konrath writes “ I’ve seen more signals of kindness on men’s profiles since the pandemic. Sometimes the clues are less obvious, such as one man who wore an American Red Cross shirt, but sometimes people directly mention their favorite charitable causes.” Melissa Hobley, a chief marketing officer at OkCupid, “found that from the spring into the fall, the presence of terms such as caring, compassionate, and empathetic increased 3 percent on OkCupid profiles, along with a 5 percent increase in mentions of volunteer. More dramatic, mentions of donate and donating increased 29 percent from April to June, and another 10 percent from October to November. People may be prioritizing giving because of the pandemic or the national reckoning on racism, but being charitable also may have a nice side effect when it comes to dating.” And oddly enough, studies have demonstrated that people rate those who give to causes as more physically attractive.


Again, we see that we’ve adapted. Quoting a 2020 article published in CTV News “Small talk is out, old-fashioned courting is in: The pandemic has shifted the dating game”. Very little would risk viral infection, while neglect the comfort of their Snuggies and wool socks with a virtual someone who seems anthropomorphic at best, or a an olympic speed-thumb typist. It became all about substance. It became all about working towards asking the question, “Hey, do you want to breathe the air in my bubble?”


But with said adaptation, comes introspective realization. Even for myself, I see opportunities of romance through chatting between matches but in the end, what am I (and others) expecting to achieve? In an article published in TIME, writer Raisa Bruner speaks about “the forever online boyfriends of the pandemic” or matches that share the struggles brought about by SARS-COV-2. Family issues, job uncertainties, financial turmoil, all shared with complete strangers Bruner hasn’t met and may likely never meet, “But maybe he—and every other one of these internet boyfriends—will eventually fade out of my life, their purpose served. I’m grateful for them anyway.” In a similar article published in Vox, writer Elizabeth Segran argues that “Covid-19 has made dating harder and more laborious than it was before”. Since being single in society has both a status and biological impression, Segran states “For many, the anxiety is wrapped up in the idea that there is an ideal age to get married — somewhere between their late 20s and early 30s — and they’re now in danger of missing the window {due to the pandemic]”. Perhaps we don’t want to escalate to the epiphany that host of A Single Serving Podcast Shani Silver had “Then coronavirus came, and now I just want a fucking husband.” (


We find ourselves in an interesting paradox, if you will. While we are adapting to substance-heavy human rapport, we also seem to increase negative feelings of anxiety and loneliness, one being that we are single and being prevented from changing that, while the other being that with current matches come physical hindrances we may or may not choose to break. Writing this, and speaking about it now, is somehow both hopeful and depressing. And personally, these words you’re hearing right now coming from a single man who recently ended a long-term relationship due to troubles exacerbated by the pandemic, among other things, I say this with genuine concern.


But perhaps there’s a missing opportunity no news article has mentioned, something that could be occurring with online dating. A skill that could be developed in parallel to the thumb swiping and keyboard typing, and conversation skills in the art of human connection (or even as far as seduction). A lost love for oneself, the self-confidence that we are who we are now and will be after the pandemic. A super liked match underdog limited only by what we think we are. Perhaps this is the time to use what makes us feel like a customer’s value meal midnight drive thru regret and grow into a what we desire in prospective partners, place our interests and tenacity for these interests above all else. Perhaps, since the dating game is changing, perhaps we should ask ourselves, “What can I change to match with myself?”.

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For today’s episode, I’ll be interviewing a good friend of mine I’ve know for quite some time, someone who not only has a high standing within the academic community, but also someone who’s opinion I respect about the topic at hand.


She is currently a graduate student in the Master of Arts in Criminology program at the University of Ottawa. Previously, she obtained an undergraduate degree in Criminology and Anthropology also at the University of Ottawa. In 2017, following the completion of a Paralegal diploma at Algonquin College, she received her Paralegal license from the Law Society of Ontario. Her research interests include official misconduct, youth gang desistance, and access to information for Indigenous Peoples living in rural and remote communities. Please welcome the dangerously ethical, Eilish McNamera.


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Thank you for listening to this episode of the Metaphorigins podcast. As as another update, I’ve established a place in Dublin, only a 30-40 minute walk from Trinity, and big enough for my pet cat Mila to roam around! Once decorated, pics of my setup will be posted on the Instagram page. Further updates will be given via bits and pieces throughout the season, so stay tuned, and hope you enjoy the ride. Remember to follow the Instagram page for these visual updates as well as to be entered into the draw for the custom, butterfly-printed Metaphorigins shirt which will be given out on the 30th episode. Until then, stay skeptical but curious.

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