Today I will write in honor of one of my most loyal readers who yesterday ran the Philadelphia marathon. In order to more fully empathize (yes, marathon runners deserve empathy) with my friend-in-training, I chose to train for - and participate in - some marathons of my own. Over the past 12 days, I have watched the first two seasons of Dexter, all of Better Off Ted (two seasons) and Archer (one season), and I have begun my marathon re-watching of Seasons 5 and 6 of The Office. And that was all without turning on the television (thank you Netflix Watch Instantly), so it doesn't include any on-TV-rerun marathons, like my 12-hour America's Next Top Model day (I swear it was a season I'd never seen).
It is a vastly different experience to watch a show all at once as opposed to waiting week by week (and year by year): for thrillers, it's easier to figure out the mystery; for comedies, you're more in tune to recurring jokes; generally, you are able to appreciate the complexities that might otherwise go unnoticed. I tried to watch Better Off Ted when it was airing, but couldn't maintain interest; now having watched it all in the course of a couple of days, I'd say it is one of the smarter comedies to have graced the screen over the past few years (though of course it has tough competition and can't quite edge out the NBC line-up).
In any case, for those of you who might tell me I've wasted my time with my so-called marathons whereas "real" marathons are worth something, I'd just like to point out some uncanny similarities between the two and then, perhaps, you can reevaluate:
1) They're both called marathons.
2) The entire series of Better Off Ted (and the first two seasons of Dexter for that matter) is 26 episodes. 26 miles. Just saying.
3) Pacing is crucial for both (don't get burnt out after the first season and then lose interest).
4) Both require training (don't try to watch a TV marathon if you've never exposed yourself to more than a few episodes in a row).
5) Needing to pee during both is an enormous drag (you lose time and momentum in either case).