I know what you’re thinking when you read the headline. “How could there possibly be an entire article on that topic? Just do what everyone does and download episodes of Girls and Homeland on your roommate’s computer!”
Stop right there. Piracy is wrong. Not only can it get your roommate thrown in jail — he really should have invested in a laptop with a fingerprint detector — but it’s a tedious chore that too often results in low-quality files that carry more viruses than an Aerosmith roadie.
Plus, if Johnny Depp has taught us anything, it’s that pirates become skeletal versions of themselves in the moonlight. And nobody wants that.
Above all, there’s no reason for piracy, especially when there are so many amusing and ways to trick cable companies into giving away so-called premium channels for nothing.
Here are a few of my favorite methods for scamming free Game of Thrones:
Binge and purge
Wait until your favorite show has wrapped up its season, then clear out a weekend and subscribe to the channel. You’ll have access to every episode on demand and through the channel’s app, meaning you’ll be allowed to fulfill your destiny of getting drunk on 12 straight hours of Boardwalk Empire, neglecting bathroom breaks, nutrition and hygiene. Once you’re all caught up, just call and cancel the subscription for a full refund.
Move back in with your parents, televisually
This is one you can use if you don’t even get cable service. Talk the ones who gave you life into subscribing to the channel you want, then snag their login and password information in order to access the channel’s app. That will net you unlimited viewing on your computer, tablet or phone, as well as allowing your old man and lady a chance to do a good deed for you and make up for selling all your childhood toys at a a garage sale. If you’re lucky enough to have grown up in a broken home, you’ll have at least two sets of parents you can use to play this game. Call one of them your Showtime parents and the other your HBO parents. If one of your parents is twice divorced and remarried, you can enlist one of your step-parents as your Starz outlet.
Whine your way to freedom
There’s a constant among cable services — they’re great at screwing things up and terrified of losing your business. So wait for something to go wrong, like, say, an outage, DVR malfunction or whatever else, then attack your cable company’s customer service rep with vigor over the matter. Feel free to shamelessly beg for a few months free of whatever channel you desire to make things right. If you don’t get your way over the phone, take to Twitter or Facebook, where surprisingly powerful and overreaction-prone CSRs roam, looking to snuff out any signs of discontent by handing out months-long free trials of premium shows like dog treats.
Wait around for a free preview
If you’re not a TV bulimic, can’t get your parents to come through for you and are not into complaining, another option is to wait for a premium channel to peddle its wares to you. Sites such as FreePreview.tv keep you posted as to when a free promotional weekend is available. The promotions always coincide with a new premiere of some show they’re all proud of, with the goal of hooking you so badly that you’re willing to pay $20 a month to see what comes next. My advice is to stray for strange like David Duchovny on Californication, ignoring the new stuff while hitting on the easy pickings available on demand.
One last thing
When satisfying your lust for free premium TV, don’t forget that there’s always a way to get it for free, and no need to resort to donning an eye patch and parrot on your shoulder. Be creative. Be exploitative. Be like Don Cheadle in House of Lies and go and get yours. Your roommate will thank you, even if your parents and Lena Dunham may not.