Can’t Netflix and chill without obscure Woody Allen DVDs.


That’s the number of Netflix DVDs I have rented since I signed up on October 6, 2006. (My first one was Hoot. I gave it two stars. Clearly not a fan, but that one was obviously for the kids. I also rented Best in Show that day and loved it to the tune of five stars.)

I signed up literally one week after separating from my wife. I’d just moved into my brand new townhouse and, while I envisioned a swingin’ bachelor’s pad someday, I also had two young children staying with me every other week and I hadn’t dated in approximately 20 years. Any panties hanging from the ceiling fan were most certainly months out still. I figured I’d need something to keep myself and the kids entertained while we charted new waters. Netflix had pioneered the mail-order DVD concept years earlier and I figured it was time to hop aboard that train, so I opted for the plan that gave me three DVDs at a time. I was quite the movie junkie back then, and figured I’d get my money’s worth.

I certainly did those first few years. Thanks to Netflix’s “history” feature, every single DVD I ever rented appears in a handy list sorted by date. I can chart the course of my entire post-divorce adult life through my Netflix DVD rental history. Major milestones dictated my viewing habits: I had a short but serious relationship with a crazy person in 2010, started dating Tara the next year, moved in with her in 2012, married her in 2013. After that, we averaged about two DVDs a month pretty consistently, but then Tara got into gardening and we moved to Wisconsin and those numbers dropped even more.

  • 2006: 22 DVDs
  • 2007: 96 DVDs
  • 2008: 125 DVDs
  • 2009: 96 DVDs
  • 2010: 74 DVDs
  • 2011: 72 DVDs
  • 2012: 53 DVDs
  • 2013: 30 DVDs
  • 2014: 22 DVDs
  • 2015: 26 DVDs
  • 2016: 26 DVDs
  • 2017: 21 DVDs
  • 2018: 22 DVDs
  • 2019: 27 DVDs
  • 2020: 21 DVDs
  • 2021: 14 DVDs
  • 2022: 16 DVDs
  • 2023: 5 DVDs to date

There’s a strong chance this is interesting to absolutely no one but me. I only bring it up because last week, Netflix announced they are discontinuing their DVD service in September, and I am devastated.

I’ve mentioned my love for DVDs before, and always said I’d be a Netflix DVD subscriber for as long as the service existed. I knew it would inevitably end at some point–even my own rentals dwindled, as you can see–but god, I am going to miss retrieving those iconic red and white envelopes from the mailbox. And yes, we stream. In fact, we don’t even have cable; just a Roku and subscriptions to Hulu, HBO Max, Paramount Plus, Prime Video, and yes, Netflix. But here’s the problem: Netflix the streaming service doesn’t have anywhere close to the selection that Netflix the DVD service has. Case in point: Back in February, we watched an obscure but hilarious 1968 Woody Allen comedy called Take the Money and Run on DVD. That isn’s streaming on Netflix or any other platform currently.

So, I mourn. And bitch and complain, because those are also things I like to do. We’ll try to work through our DVD queue as much as we can before the end of September, I suppose.

On a more positive note, now that our flooring installations are complete, we’ve been able to make the house feel a little more like home with each passing day. This weekend’s project was setting up the aquarium.

In Rapid City, we’d had it in the basement, perched on an old coffee table. This was fine, but the aquarium sat much too low, so we got rid of the coffee table and I bought a stand from PetSmart. Putting it together was fun, because Top Fin, the manufacturer, had the best instruction manual I’ve ever seen. Or at least the funniest.

I am notoriously bad about assembling items. Left to my own devices, I’m sure I would have screwed something up, like put a leg on backwards or misaligned a shelf. But with Tara’s help–okay, fine; she did the majority of the work herself–we got that bad boy built in about two hours.

And, I must hand it to my wife once again. First, she questioned whether soft water was safe for tropical fish. I’d never had a house with a water softener before, and quite frankly, the thought never even crossed my mind. A quick Google search taught me that soft water, with its high salt levels, can in fact, harm aquarium fish. You’d think the guy whose first-ever job was a two-year stint in a tropical fish store would have thought of this!

Fortunately, most water softening systems have a bypass for the outdoor faucets, because you don’t want to be watering your lawn or garden with water that has a high salt content either. Problem solved! It would just require filling a 5-gallon bucket with water from outside, lugging it upstairs and through the living room, dumping it into the empty tank, and repeating roughly 14 more times. I was literally rolling up my sleeves, fully prepared to tackle the chore, when Tara stepped in once more.

“Naw, dog,” she said. “I got ‘choo.”

Confused by my wife’s sudden interest in street lingo and unsure what she meant by that, I said, “Huh?”

She then proceeded to grab a garden hose, attach it to the faucet on the back side of the house, run it up and over the deck, through the slider and kitchen, across the dining room, and into the aquarium. All I had to do was turn on the faucet, and then when the tank was full, turn it off again.

I tell you, guys. I married a smart one.

Just gotta hook up the filter and heater and let the aquarium run for a few days before adding fish. Everything is coming along nicely!

Are you mourning the end of Netflix’s DVD service too, or am I the only guy you know who still gets those red and white envelopes in the mail on a regular basis? What is your go-to streaming platform? Any great shows I should be watching?

55 thoughts on “Can’t Netflix and chill without obscure Woody Allen DVDs.

  1. I’m currently obsessed with Schitts’ Creek episodes on TikTok and not mail order DVDs, and also hockey playoffs are a lot of drama-fillled evenings, so I have nothing to add to your little story. Except, I love the instructions. 😂

    Liked by 3 people

    1. If I remember correctly, we watched Schitts’ Creek on Netflix streaming when it was available there… And now we’re watching Eugene Levy’s (he’s the patriarch of the family on that show) funny tales as he travels to exotic locations, staying at spectacular hotels, streaming on Apple TV…

      Liked by 2 people

  2. I barely remember what the red and white envelopes look like. Daughter had Netflix for awhile so I pirated from her password and streamed…when I remembered… which wasn’t often. Perhaps you can find a way to immortalize one of the envelopes and give it a place of honor on the wall as a remembrance.

    The fish are gonna like that set-up. Very spiffy with the added outside greenery and well built stand. The instruction manual deserves a frame as well. How many fishes can the tank hold?

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I love the idea of framing one of the envelopes! I just need to figure out if I can return a DVD in a manila envelope or something else generic first.

      It’s a 50-gallon tank, and the general rule of thumb is, one inch of fish per gallon (my tropical fish store knowledge has followed me my whole life apparently). So, it depends on the size of the fish, plus the decorations in your tank, plants, etc. In Rapid City, I probably had 15-20 fish at any given time.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I recently wrote about ‘take the money and run,’ one of my favorites along with the unusual ‘what’s up, tiger lily?’ I also love dvd’s and get mine from our local library, where there is an extensive collection and your post made me look back at my history and it is so interesting

    Liked by 2 people

  4. I don’t do Netflix, but I own several hundred old movies on DVD, many of which I taped directly off TCM and other channels years ago. Most of the movies are probably older than you are (from the 1930s and 40s), but I can’t play them anymore, so they’re just gathering dust. My wife has been after me to put them in the trash or give them to Goodwill, but it’s hard to part with such ‘treasures’ (though I know they gotta go sooner or later).

    Speaking of Woody Allen, I coincidentally came across this quote of his earlier today: “If God exists, I hope he has a good excuse.” Sounds just like him (Woody, not God). 😀

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That definitely sounds like something Woody Allen would say, ha. I’m impressed with your collection, and I know exactly what you mean about having a hard time letting go! Tara tried to convince me to get rid of our DVDs last year and I flat-out refused, ha.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Netflix’s DVD service will certainly never be forgotten, but indeed the time has come for it to be retired. I’m a fan of DVD’s myself. Those aquarium instructions are great – too bad Ikea didn’t inject some humor into their nightmare instructions back in the day when we first got married and that was the go-to furniture supplier. A garden hose? Why yes, that did make filling it a bit easier. That solution does sound like one Mrs. Chess would offer me while I was in-between trips with my smallish bucket.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. I’ve never gotten the Netflix DVDs but have some precious and obscure old movies and French favorites on DVDs. Even Amazon doesn’t stock many of those classics or if they do, they want an outrageous price.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. I wrote a post last week about my own mourning. A bit more invested than you, but then having not had cable actively since 2003, I used Netflix to rent a lot of tv shows and a few movies then it changed to 2 tvs eps and a movie, now it’s 2 movies ever since their inventory dropped from like 100k to 2k. Most of the films I have rented were between 1930 & 1990. Mostly 1940’s to 60’s. I love older black and white films of any genre and they defiinately kept a lot of what I liked. I rented 1368 tv shows/movies since 2009, prior to that I subscribed to Blockbuster Dvd and Borrowed film from the Library once Dvd rentals closed up shop. I’d condidered the switch to Netflix streaming, but agree they have NOTHING i want to watch. So, i can find classic films on both YouTube Premium & Tubi and the Occasional one on Hulu.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. And I thought my number was impressive. TV series are the way to go; if not for Netflix, I might never have gotten into binging. “Dexter,” “True Blood,” “Arrested Development,” and “Breaking Bad” were a few of the series I was able to catch up on thanks to Netflix.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. While my husband will aimlessly watch hours of random movies that are already halfway through on Direct tv, he’s never been one for dvd’s. And since most of those movies pre date my birth or are westerns? It wouldn’t matter if he did. I record what I want and watch them in the other room. Streaming? Apple TV. Ted Lasso alone is worth subscribing, but the Morning Show and Shrinking are fab as well.
    Love the aquarium! I’ve always wanted one but never took the plunge. Hope you followed directions and had a beverage while Tara toiled.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I had a beverage afterward. It would have felt cruel to have a drink in my hand while she had a screwdriver. An actual screwdriver, not vodka and orange juice.

      I just bought a new Macbook Air that comes with a free 3-month subscription to Apple TV. Might have to finally check out “Ted Lasso” as everybody raves about it.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. I joined Netflix in 2006 too ~ first disc, The Ugly Dachshund (Disney 1966), on 9/1/06. Since then, we’ve watched 1497 movies at the rate of about 2 a week . . . until recently when the postal service slowed service on Netflix envelopes.

    My favorite thing has been the queue (so I can list a movie and forget it until it nears the top so my queue) and the stored history which lets me see if I watched a movie and how I rated it. Occasionally, I review the stored history history for 5 star ratings and re-request those discs. I may do that once more between now and September.

    I don’t do any streaming. I request DVD’s from the library, or watch PBS, or read a book . . .

    I’m OK with Netflix DVD’s disappearing since the service and selection of recent movies is not what it once was.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Another hardcore Netflix DVD subscriber who pays attention to stats! I was pretty religious about rating my movies up until a couple of years ago. It was fun to look over my history and see which movies I loved and which ones I hated. Most are pretty middle of the road, but there were definitely some great discoveries over the years.


  10. We were just never movie people after we had kids. I think having to sit through Disney movies did me in. So.freaking.boring/annoying.

    We are watching the final season of Succession. Everything else I watch is reality shows, which I know most people eschew.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. I didn’t even know NetFlix still did a DVD service. Wow! And fascinating about the number of DVDs vis a vis what was happening each year.

    Wow, I’m so impressed with Tara. You can tell you guys have a really great marriage because she didn’t let you do a few trips with the bucket before elegantly solving the problem!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re not the only one still surprised about the Netflix DVD service. There’s a small but faithful fan base still, even a couple of fellow bloggers judging from the comments!

      I’m kinda surprised Tara didn’t let me haul a few buckets up before saying anything. Seems like exactly the type of thing she’d do for a laugh!

      Liked by 1 person

  12. I too am quite annoyed about the sunsetting of Netflix DVDs. I probably have 30 in the queue at the moment, and not a damn one of them is available for streaming. Many great older movies are going to die a death of neglect, simply because the streamers aren’t leading folks by the nose in their direction. Make ’em all available via streaming, or keep the service alive. (Or sell it to Redbox.)

    Tank looks like it’s shaping up nicely. Freshwater?

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Dang, Tara is clever!!!!!

    I canceled Netflix DVD last year when I was canceling everything I could possibly cancel trying to get ahead of my financial situation at the time. It was one of the last things on my list to cancel because I relied on that service SO MUCH for movies I couldn’t find on ANY of my 10 million streaming platforms.

    Now that my financial situation is good again, I was considering starting the DVDs back up again, but didn’t know that the service was ending in September.

    What they heck are we supposed to do NOW????


    Oh and I was always jealous of my boss who had the 2 DVDs at a time service while I could only afford the 1 DVD at a time. LOL It was always SO EXCITING to see the red & white envelope in the mailbox.

    As for what I’m streaming right now? I just started with Season 1 of Succession and YES it is as good as all the hype. I’m also still loving Barry.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. A lot of people are raving about “Succession.” That might have to be the next show we binge.

      I can’t remember when I downgraded my 3-DVD plan to a 2-DVD plan (and then later just a single disc at a time). I’m sure it’s when I started getting out and dating more.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. You are not alone! My 86-year-old mother also gets Netflix DVDs, so together you are the last remaining people who use that service.
    What do you do with your fish each time you’ve moved? (Don’t say flush them, don’t say flush them!)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hahaha.


      Flushing fish would be cruel! In the past, I’ve given them to PetSmart or Petco. In Rapid City, a former coworker’s cousin had an aquarium, so he came by and took them off my hands. I have no idea whether they worked out well in his tank, but at least I gave them a sporting chance!

      Liked by 1 person

  15. Until Himself moved in, I only used my (unbelievably old) TV for watching DVDs – films mostly, but also some favourite series. I used to buy myself a handful of old favourites every year at Christmas, and still have them on bookshelves in my office. Since then, I haven’t bought anymore, as he’s got a *massive* collection of downloads, so the DVD player is getting dusty. But I also cannot bring myself to get rid of the DVDs…

    Glad you have a Tara to untie the complex stuff with good solutions. Himself is my Tara equivalent, and probably deserves more praise in my blogs for being so.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. I had no idea Netflix still offered DVD/mailing services! NO.IDEA.
    I had a giggle about your ‘serious relationship with a crazy person’ comment. 😳

    You are so lucky to have Tara; I mean, she builds stuff and has a different thought process than you. I too have yanked a hose through the front door to the back of the house a time or two.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Sure, you’re giggling. I am too. But at the time there was nothing funny about it!

      I’m surprised by how many people didn’t realize Netflix still ships DVDs. I’d say it’s an older person thing, but you and I are pretty close in age!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. I am sorry for you. That’s the end of an era. “And bitch and complain, because those are also things I like to do.” That was quite funny. Well done to the instruction manual writers. I could see myself doing that if I had that job and my boss would allow it. Tara is a smart one. And did she really talk like that? I love it! And the table for the aquarium is beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Netflix, DVDs and aquariums. Sadly my thoughts on those are related to my idiot ex. After my writer’s retreat in Taos I have now generally chilled enough on that subject that I no longer need to dump my thoughts on a poor unsuspecting and uninvolved soul like you. Please feel free now to heave a shallow sigh of relief.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Hi Mark. I’m amused reading your story and instantly decide to hit the follow button. Love your Netflix and aquarium journey. By the way, what happened in 2008?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you!

      I had no life in 2008, ha. That’s when I upgraded to the three-at-a-time DVD plan and really took advantage. If there’s one year I got my money’s worth, 2008 was it!


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