The AfterEllen.com Huddle: Marathoning

Some TV shows are just better watched episode after episode without waiting a week in between. This week’s huddle topic: What show have you marathoned?

Jill Guccini: I came into the art of the TV marathon at the same time I came into being a lesbian. (Coincidence or no?) A requirement of dating my now-wife was to watch all seven seasons of Buffy, of which I had previously seen exactly none (what even was my life?), and which we spent a year marathoning with one of our best friends over many, many late nights. It felt like a very religious moment when we finally came to the end.

Other favorite sessions include: Queer as Folk, Veronica Mars, Friday Night Lights. Most recently I’ve been catching up in mini-marathon spurts with Doctor Who and the HBO show Enlightened, which is so excellent.

Dara Nai: Whenever the rest of the country starts talking about the latest “hot” show, I almost go out of my way to ignore it. I don’t know why I insist on zigging when everyone else is zagging, except I kinda hate band wagons. And that is why I didn’t watch Battlestar Galactica or Damages or Buffy until they were practically off the air. I look forward to trying The Good Wife next year. Heh. Marathon TV series watching is like a drug addiction. If you’ve ever found yourself saying, “Just one more,” at 2 a.m., you know it’s true.

Grace Chu: Last night I went to a friend’s house, and she suggested that we watch a show called Geordie Shore, which she explained is a British spinoff of Jersey Shore. There’s nothing new or groundbreaking about this show. The cast members are carbon copies of the orange hued, big-haired louts that drank and fought their way through Seaside Heights, except that they speak in a British accent, and at least one cast member (Vicky) knows the meaning of the word “troglodyte” and is able to incorporate it in an insult. I don’t have cable anymore, but I do have internet and all of the episodes are available in the U.S. for free. So bring on the spray tan and wardrobe malfunctions.

Marcie Bianco: One July weekend in 2010 (still known as the Suicidal Summer of ’10) I downed the first three seasons of Gossip Girl, which basically amounted to me watching the show Friday thru Sunday nonstop. Last year my friend and I binged on Game of Thrones, finishing the second season at 4 a.m. and screaming “MOAR! MOAR!” Need I mention that Portlandia segment about Battlestar Galactica is basically a spot on adaptation of my life — minus the husband and the house.

Elaine Atwell: I really can’t overstate the impact of gorging myself on Battlestar Galactica during a blue period of my life. I remember justifying my decision to ride my bike all the way across town at three in the morning because “Starbuck would do it.” I think marathoning is a double-edged sword; on the one hand, it can let a show permeate your psyche in a powerful way, but on the other hand, what the fuck was I doing on that bike at 3 a.m.?

Sarah Terez Rosenblum: Six Feet Under. Not once, but three times. When it was actually on the air I think there was something like a year break between seasons. I would have taken to bed with the shakes if I’d watched it in real time. (The Shakes, BTW are the couple next door. Ba-dum-bum.) With a show like Six Feet, being free to swallow whole seasons in a few weeks is very like speed reading some incredible novel. I’m less interested in marathon-watching fluffier shows. OK, that’s a lie because I totally watched season two and three of RuPaul’s Drag Race the same way. Whatever. Read my essay on Six Feet. Because I said to.

Emily Hartl: About 10 years ago I got a hold of the first three seasons of Queer as Folk and basically only got up to pee or smoke cigarettes for two days. It was the first show EVER with an almost entirely queer storyline and my young baby dyke self couldn’t put down the remote. I prefer watching shows as they’re current these days so that I’m up to date. Why? No spoiler alerts and it makes for good conversation with my clients.

Punky Starshine: When I was in college, I went into a South of Nowhere marathon still questioning and doubting my sexuality. I came out the other side a full-fledged, AfterEllen-reading lesbian. (I actually started out by marathoning AfterEllen’s South of Nowhere vlogs, but you know what I mean.)

I’m currently marathoning Criminal Minds because I’m an emotional masochist and like things that scare me. Also because AJ Cook is stunning. Bomb Girls and Doctor Who are next on my marathon list.

I personally prefer marathoning because I like being able to have more whenever I want instead of waiting until a network decides to air the next episode. It also helps keep storylines fresh in my Dory-esque memory. It feels more like reading a book, being able to fully immerse yourself in a fictional world for as long as you want.

That being said, nothing quite compares to the excitement of watching something new live on television with half of twitter watching “with” you. I would move mountains to make sure I was home in time for #BooRadleyVanCullen.

Karman Kregloe: Like everyone else on the planet, I have completed several marathons of Battlestar Galactica, and frequently with a new initiate sitting beside me on the sofa. I also devoured the first season of True Blood on a TV bender that I didn’t see coming. I didn’t expect to like TB, much less LOVE it. Ditto for Homeland. A friend got me completely hooked on the show when I went to visit her in Chicago, and I stayed up all night before my morning flight home watching the episodes she had stored in her DVR. Once back in LA, I immediately ordered Showtime. I should send said friend my cable bill!

Bridget McManus: Sex and the City. I’ve watched so many marathons that part of me believes Carrie, Miranda, Charlotte and Samantha are my real friends. Seriously, though, they would totally hang out with me in real life, right? Minus the stilettos. And all the boy talk. 

Behold, me and my friends!

Dana Piccoli: If there was a team for marathoning TV shows, I’d be on the Road Runners. I’ve marathonned many shows, mainly ones from the UK and Canada since we don’t always get them at the same time (or at all). I’m pretty sure I marathon Buffy every Saturday afternoon. I have plans to re-watch The L Word in marathon form, since now I’ve had some time away from it. I’m much more interested in the writing and story lines as I’ve gotten a bit older, and I want to see how the whole series flows together, rather than in pieces.

Lucy Hallowell: The first show we marathoned way back in the dark ages (aka law school) was Queer as Folk. My wife and I used to drive three towns away to these things called “video stores” because it was the only one that carried the series. We watched the crap out of it because there was absolutely nothing gay anywhere on TV.

Now we’re marathoning Friday Night Lights because there are actual gay stories on TV and it pushes out some of the better “straight” shows. As for which is better, I love being able to devour a whole show at once but I can’t help but wonder if there isn’t something lost in the process. Reading the seven Harry Potter books as they came out, having to wait for each one to be finished and released spaced the stories out in such a way that you could luxuriate in each one, reread the last before gobbling up the new one. I think my kids may miss out on something that we got from having to wait for each book.

Ali Davis: I look forward to marathoning The Wire when I’m ready to have my life eaten for a few days. I’m envious of people who have never seen the first season of Twin Peaks and get to marathon it. I usually think show-gluttony is fun, but for some shows, like the first season of The Killing, the crazy anticipation between weeks is part of the fun.

My best advice is not to marathon The Twilight Zone. It is a fantastic show, but more than three in a row makes you too aware of the beats it usually hits and wrecks it. Just do three and then wait until the next holiday weekend.

This is true: I got into the new Dr. Who late and loved, loved, loved marathoning the first season and most of the second series. And then I couldn’t watch the last two episodes because I was too afraid that Rose would die. I had to e-mail Heather Hogan, who life-coached me through them.

Trish Bendix: I got into True Blood by marathonning the first season while visiting my parents in Michigan. My mom would hang out in the room with my wife and I but she’s the kind of person who always needs to be multi-tasking, so she’d be reading a magazine or making to-do lists while we watched every episode. Once the next season started and we were watching from our own home in real time, my mom would call the next day and asked “How’d you like last night’s True Blood?” or ask me “Now why did Eric do that?” It seems she was paying attention the whole time. I never would have pegged her for a fan.

But my favorite to marathon was Six Feet Under. Somehow I never watched it when it was on air, but I didn’t mind watching every episode consecutively over a few weeks time. I have plans to re-watch Queer as Folk in its entirety and also eventually start on Downton Abbey. You know, with all the free time I will have some day.

Dorothy Snarker: My best marathoning experiences was Skins, which I had only heard of but knew must be amazing because Heather said so. And then one late night I started watching and kept watching and that’s how you lose two days of your life to a glowing screen and love that dares you to want it back. And my worst marathoning experience was Dexter, which I enjoyed for two and a half seasons until one night I woke up and realized all I’d been dreaming about for days was ways to get away with horrible, grisly serial murder. So I decided to give that one a rest for a bit.

It seems like we have a lot of shows in common. Have you marathoned any of these, or do you plan to?

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