With House Of Cards season three launching on Netflix on 27 February, legions of Frank Underwood fans around the world will be limbering up to binge-watch 13 hours of brooding political drama.
The act of thundering trough an entire season of television in a short period of time has boomed in popularity since the rise of Netflix, other streaming services and DVD box sets.
Whether it is House of Cards this weekend, True Detective next weekend or Mad Men in the run up to the final few episodes that will air in April (my own personal TV goal for the next month) there's a fine art to binge-watching television and some important warnings to be dished out.
If you've never marathoned a TV series before, it is probably best not to start with 50 years' worth of Doctor Who or the accumulative 204 episodes of 24. At 13 episodes, a season of House Of Cards is a good place to start.
Break it up
Breaking a TV marathon up over the course of a weekend will not lose you any street cred. There is no street cred associated with this kind of nonsense anyway and I am not even sure if street cred is a thing people say anymore, so go at your own pace and stop every now and then just to rest your eyes if nothing else.
Binge-watching is stupid by its very nature but laying or sitting there doing literally nothing while you watch is plain dumb. You may leave an arse groove that would out-last the Sphinx but it is unhealthy and you will only feel uncomfortable laying around for so long.
So find something to do while you watch – ironing, dusting, tweeting about the colour of ugly dresses, something to split your focus for a while. Starring at a TV set uninterrupted will turn your eyes into squares.
Plan your food
A binge watch requires binge eating, but planning is required. After all, nobody wants to tear themselves away from the screen at an important moment in the plot to spend 45 minutes making ravioli.
Some semblance of healthy eating is required, if only to make up for the unhealthy snackage that is assumed of such televisual feasts. Prep some sandwiches or a salad ahead of time for example. For big meals, a takeaway is assumed of lengthy televisual benders – a pizza or curry fit the bill – but in regard to snacks there are better prospects than others.
Try eating Jelly Babies for energy (and also, for deliciousness) or ice cream if you are in need of a cold waking up. Biscuits are likely to leave a mess, if you are watching in bed then the crumb factor is important.
Select your show wisely
Binge watching should not become the default way to consume small screen nonsense; watching a show one episode at a time is great and there's nothing wrong with it. Impatient people will disagree but the fact remains that some shows are better suited to binging than others.
High-quality, short order series such as House Of Cards, Game Of Thrones and Mad Men fit the bill perfectly but 12 seasons and 262 episodes of Two And A Half Men makes no sense at all. It did not even make sense watching that show one week at a time, or at all - ever.
Two And A Half Men is trash, that is my point.
Go to the toilet in the toilet
I cannot stress this enough. Don't try to fashion a Nasa-quality self-toilet or p**s in a jug, just walk down the hall, you animal.