Your neighbor does it. Your boss does it. Your mom does it, even though it’s hard to believe she’s even heard of it. You do it all the time, and you refuse to be ashamed of your habit. We’re talking, of course, about binge watching. Waiting a whole week for a new episode of a television show is so last century. Today, savvy viewers know that great television series should be watched in a marathon. Not only is it instant gratification, it can make for a deeper, more insightful entertainment experience.
Showrunners have embraced the New World television order. They watch marathons themselves and encourage fans to immerse themselves in the worlds that they have created. Said “Revolution” showrunner Eric Kripke who admits to binging on “The Wire” and “Game of Thrones,” “I think more and more that’s how viewers are watching television, that kind of binge viewing.” “The New Normal” showrunner Ali Adler observed, “I think what’s interesting about how people are watching TV is everyone wants to control their own media and have their own station essentially and so they create their own with binge watching.”
XFINITY is celebrating our new national pastime March 25 through March 31 with XFINITY Watchathon Week, the largest, most social binge watching event in history. Watchathon Week will offer viewers free access to more than 3,900 hours of programming. Watching it all within a week would require 24 screens going 24 hours a day. Realistically, one person can watch a total of 168 one-hour episodes or 336 half hour episodes. We’ve got everything your TV loving heart desires: acclaimed dramas like “Mad Men,” “The Walking Dead,”"Homeland” and “Game of Thrones,” hilarious comedies like “House of Lies,” “Portlandia,” and “Archer,” and popular reality series like “Top Gear,” “Duck Dynasty” and “Swamp People.”
Watch: TV Stars Offer Tips on How to Binge View During XFINITY Watchathon Week:
We want you to have the best binge watching experience ever. So we asked some of television’s biggest stars for advice. That’s right, in their down time, the people who make TV like to watch a whole lot of it. They revealed the valuable lessons they have learned from their binging experiences to help us compile the definitive guide to binge watching.
Embrace the Experience
Yes, you could be spending your free time learning a foreign language or scrubbing your tile grout. But watching great television is not a waste of time. “Do not feel guilty,” advises Beth Grant of “The Mindy Project,” a lesson she learned from, well, watching TV. “The first time I did it, I felt so guilty. I think it’s something that we’re doing right now in this culture. You’re not alone. There’s an episode of ‘Portlandia’ where they give in and watch all of the ['Battlestar Galactica'] episodes, and I told my husband ‘You know what? It was on Portlandia. We can do this thing.’”
Adds her co-star Ike Barinholtz, “Binge watching is good. It’s the only time that binging is good. Heroin? Not as good. Bad fast food? Not as good. TV shows? What are you going to do? Hurt your hands pressing the remote? It’s a good thing. “
“The Voice” host Carson Daly makes TV marathons a priority. “I am into binge viewing now,” he admits. “It is sort of my thing. ‘Homeland’ I don’t watch on purpose so I can watch them all on a weekend. I treat it like a film experience, so I make popcorn, watch it downstairs, block off the whole day, make sure the kids aren’t there, and I just get ready for a full-blown 8 or 12-hour marathon.”
“I like the ride,” says “Revolution” star Elizabeth Mitchell. “I love the idea of sitting down to a 24-hour movie. I think it’s really fun. I mean, I realize it’s a little nuts but you get in your PJs, you’ve got some great popcorn, it’s worth it. I think it’s great fun.”
Wear the Right Attire
Since most people binge watch at home, no jacket is required. (If your Watchathon is taking place in your office, we won’t tell.) So dress for comfort. Learn from Georgia King of “The New Normal’s” cautionary tale. “The first DVD box set I ever got was ‘Dexter’ season one. I was filming a show called ‘Poirot’ so I was in my 1940s garb in my trailer and they were like ‘We’re ready for you Georgia,’ and I was like, ‘Back Off!”’
Make Sure You Have the Proper Nutrients
Marathon runners carboload. But what’s the right eating regimen for marathon watching? First of all, stock up in advance. “Make sure you go to the supermarket and you get food before you start watching because I will just watch and watch and watch until my stomach will eat itself and then I go to my fridge and there’s nothing in there and I have to take a break and go and get food and I should have done that earlier so I can just keep the momentum going,” cautions Jason Ritter of “Parenthood.”
Matthew Rhys, star of “The Americans” recommends having your snacks delivered. “I have done two [binge watches]: ‘The Wire’ and ‘Homeland.’ I basked in a number of bad take-out foods: all the classics like Indian, Chinese and Italian pizza. Any of those three I think will aid a Watchathon and lots of sugary, caffeinated drinks help. If you are going to Watchathon ‘The Americans,’ I suggest you try it with some Russian cuisine. Try something different and turn it on its head. “
“Nashville” showrunner Dee Johnson suggests, “It’s definitely a popcorn thing. Reese’s Pieces, popcorn, and you’re golden.” “The Office’s” Ellie Kemper agrees with her strategy. “Popcorn and M&M’s. Come on. A little salt. A little sweet.”
Ed Weeks of “The Mindy Project” has the recipe for enjoying his show. “Eat corn chips. It’s one of Mindy’s character’s favorite snack foods. And just drink vodka,” he jokes. “Fall asleep. Press pause and wake up a couple days later regretting everything and pick up again.”
Location, Location, Location
If you have a laptop or tablet, you can watch anywhere. So pick someplace that is conducive to spending hours sitting down. “Be in a room very close to a bathroom. Don’t forget to pause. Do maybe 30 minutes of walking outside,” suggests “Parenthood’s” Max Burkholder. His co-star Xolo Mariduena counters, “Just sit in bed and watch it. Don’t try to get too fancy with it.”
As amazing as television is, it is possible to overdose. “Don’t do more than four hours a day because you really do need to breathe and exercise and get some work done. I think four hours a day, steady pace,” advises Beth Grant. “Hydrate. Stretch. Take breaks. Walk around. Don’t get a blood clot,” is Claire Bowen of ‘Nashville’s” sensible suggestion.
Don’t Take It Too Far
It’s great to get caught up in your favorite programs, but know where to draw the line. “Mad Men” star Christina Hendricks shared a cautionary tale. “I think a lot of people wait and they watch [a series] all at once, or they watch a couple of seasons at a time. That is how I watched ‘Deadwood.’ I watched it years after everyone else. Then I was literally bleary-eyed and I started dressing like them. ”
Her co-star John Slattery let his binge get out of hand in a different way when he marathoned “Eastbound & Down.” “I watched it all in like a day. And then I was like, watching the ‘Making of’ videos, too, which was a mistake. I would caution against that because then it’s all shattered and then you’re like seeing these people and you’re like, ‘Oh, they’re actually people.’ I mean, Danny McBride is a real guy but I wanna live with Kenny Powers in my head and not have the illusion shattered. ”
Be careful with catchphrases, warns “The Office” star Jenna Fischer. “My advice [on binge watching 'The Office'] would be don’t drink every time you hear, ‘That’s what she said,’ or you’re going to get really wasted.”