First, a disclaimer: Do not do this. Do not attempt to watch all of the monstrous, 552-episode, 278-hour marathon of The Simpsons that begins this morning on FXX. You will probably die. Literally. There are multiple ways trying to do this could actually kill you. For that reason, this guide is not meant to encourage anyone on the fence about giving it a go. For the love of God, go outside. Read a book. Take your significant other on a picnic. Do anything else. You’ll have plenty of time to destroy your life with cartoons at your leisure once the comprehensive on-demand website Simpsons World debuts later this fall. There’s no need to force it.
What this guide actually is, to be clear, is a preventative measure. We want to keep you alive, even the sick, deranged, and apparently jobless among you who are dead set on trying this in the face of personal and professional ruin. (Full disclosure: These individuals constitute approximately 70% of our readership, so we have a a little skin in this game. Gotta keep the golden goose clicking those headlines.) And so, if we can’t talk you out of it — if we really, really can’t — at least let us try to keep you on this side of the dirt until it’s over.
Here’s what you’ll need:
Surprisingly, there are very few official resources related to proper nourishment during a non-stop two-week cartoon binge-watch, so let’s go to the next best thing: disaster preparedness. According to Ready.gov, which is “a national public service advertising (PSA) campaign designed to educate and empower Americans to prepare for and respond to emergencies including natural and man-made disasters” (this counts as a man-made disaster because you, a human, are inflicting it upon yourself, I guess), here are the best foods to stock up on:
- Protein or fruit bars
- Dry cereal or granola
- Peanut butter
- Dried fruit
- Canned juices
- Non-perishable pasteurized milk
- High energy foods
- Food for infants
- Comfort/stress foods
We can probably scrap a few of these, since they lean heavily into the non-perishable category and you will presumably have a working refrigerator nearby, but remember this: protein, fiber, vitamins. As with most major life events, you’ll need energy and properly functioning bowels if you want to pull this off. Bacon up that broccoli, pal.
Really only two things you need to know here:
- Back to Ready.gov, a publicly-funded government initiative whose staff probably did not expect that their research would be used to keep 35-year-old, couch-bound comedy nerds alive inside their apartments for two weeks, which says “A normally active person needs about three quarters of a gallon of fluid daily.” That amounts to about 100 ounces every day, so stock up.
- Because of the unrelenting nature of this marathon, one after another after another 24 hours a day, you’ll be tempted to make a substantial percentage of that 100 ounces soda or energy drinks or anything loaded with caffeine. Or beer! Unfortunately, alcohol and caffeine actually dehydrate the body, meaning you’ll have to pump up the water intake even higher to remain healthy. This won’t do at all. You’ll be running back and forth to the bathroom the whole time.
Although maybe that last thing would be so bad…
From the Mayo Clinic:
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) occurs when a blood clot (thrombus) forms in one or more of the deep veins in your body, usually in your legs. Deep vein thrombosis can cause leg pain or swelling, but may occur without any symptoms. [...]
Deep vein thrombosis is a serious condition because blood clots in your veins can break loose, travel through your bloodstream and lodge in your lungs, blocking blood flow (pulmonary embolism).
Which is important here because a DVT can be caused by…
Sitting for long periods of time, such as when driving or flying. When your legs remain still for many hours, your calf muscles don’t contract, which normally helps blood circulate. Blood clots can form in the calves of your legs if your calf muscles aren’t moving for long periods.
Avoid sitting still. If you’ve had surgery or have been on bed rest for other reasons, try to get moving as soon as possible. If you’re sitting for a while, try not to cross your legs because this can limit blood flow. If you’re traveling a long distance by car, stop every hour or so and walk around.
If you’re on a plane, try to stand or walk occasionally. If you can’t do that, at least try to exercise your lower legs. Try raising and lowering your heels while keeping your toes on the floor, then raising your toes while your heels are on the floor
In all seriousness, this is thing that would be most likely to kill you if you try to attempt the full marathon. The human body! What a blast!
According to Scientific American, several “normal research subjects have remained awake for eight to 10 days in carefully monitored experiments” without showing any ill effects after catching up with a few solid nights of sleep. Also, a 17-year-old named Randy Gardner once stayed awake for 264 hours as part of a high school science project. The lessons to take away from this information are (1) your apartment is not a “carefully monitored” research facility, and (2) teenagers are indestructible. You will require sleep.
Luckily, this is doable thanks to modern technology. As stated above, the marathon runs for 278 consecutive hours, but — BUT — there are commercials. Assuming the average 30-minute episode of The Simpsons contains about 22 minutes of actual content, that means that 16 minutes of every hour are yours to do with as you please. Over the course of the full 12-day run, that works out to a little over 70 hours of nap time.
Now, obviously, trying to grab like six or seven three-minute naps every hour for almost two weeks is an insane thing to even consider. But if you set, say, 20 episodes to record on the DVR, that would buy you about 160 minutes. Take a 2.5 hour nap, wake up, grab a quick snack, then get back to business, zipping through commercials at maximum speed until you’re all caught up. Do that a couple times a day, or double up and record 40 episodes for a solid five hours of shuteye once a day, and this whole thing actually becomes possible. You can do this. You can definitely do this.
Please do not do this.