Receiving a request to Netflix and chill can raise some serious red flags. Or, sometimes, it can be a welcome and exciting opportunity to spend some quality time together—wink, wink—especially if the sender is the recipient’s mutual crush.
As we’ve all watched the saying grow in popularity, we’ve also seen its meaning solidify: a request to Netflix and chill is a booty call, full stop. It’s a blatant expression of sexual desire and a request to act on that desire.
That said, having a low-effort, flexible pastime that both you and your crush or significant other can enjoy is important for the overall health of a relationship and your personal sanity. While I have yet to come across a considerate, moderately decent person who texts that cursed term earnestly, I have nothing against the act of Netflix and chilling in itself. Of course, COVID-induced lockdowns have changed our ability to congregate in-person, and watching movies and having sex with anyone outside our immediate social circle is quickly becoming a thing of the past.
But not so fast. Teleparty is here to save the day.
Teleparty—formerly Netflix Party—is an extension for Google Chrome browsers that allows users in different physical locations to watch shows or movies at the same time. The pause, play, fast-forward and rewind functions can be used by either one person or everyone in the group; whoever sends the link checks a box indicating whether they want sole control or will allow access to everyone with the link.
The app also has live-chat functionality. When other viewers access the link you send, they will be presented with the same screen. This way, you and your friends can view a synchronized movie or show while contributing to the chat box as you watch.
While Teleparty’s functions can’t help much with replacing the physical component of Netflix and chill meetups of the past, it’s a step in the right direction that can work well for those who are looking for connection outside of sex.
In-person flings may be off-limits right now, but that doesn’t mean you can’t engage with people you’re interested in virtually. One of the reasons for the Teleparty name change is the extension is now compatible with a variety of streaming platforms—not only Netflix. Therefore, the possibilities are endless.
While I haven’t used Teleparty under any explicitly—or implicitly, for that matter—sexual circumstances, I’m sure it could function the same as sexting someone normally, except with the added excitement of watching Ghostbusters 2 synchronously. One thing I appreciate about the way the extension functions is that it’s just a chatroom and not face-to-face interaction; this might make the app seem less sexual in nature, but it’s great for those of us with profound Zoom fatigue.
I’ve found Teleparty most useful for mini-dates, or situations where I’m more interested in making small talk with someone about a show or movie to gradually get to know them better as opposed to a more heated engagement right out of the gate. It’s a nice option to be able to offer a person you’re just getting to know; you don’t have to see each other in your quarantine pajamas and you can stay comfortably within your state of dishevelment while you watch and chat.
It also feels like a low-commitment activity, which is a plus for me. A chatroom and synchronous viewing almost feels like the logical middle ground between sending each other random, flirty Snapchats and directly video chatting with each other. If I don’t vibe with someone after a little chatroom movie date, it’s easy to step away from the relationship.
Connecting with others during these pandemic times can be a serious challenge when following appropriate social and health guidelines. Little communication tools like Teleparty can spice up our dull quarantine routine. Whether you use it to spark new love connections or simply reconnect with old friends over a good show, this browser extension is an invaluable tool for navigating isolation.