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Posted at 4:45 PM ET, 09/15/2010

How to binge on pop culture: A user's guide

By Jen Chaney

The Lost-a-thoners, soaking in the Sawyer back in May.(Photo courtesy of Anthony Quintano via Flickr)

With the new fall TV season about to get underway, many pop culture junkies may be contemplating a last-minute gorge -- perhaps an attempt to ingest the entire first seasons of "Glee" or "The Good Wife" in one sitting in the days before their second-season premieres.

Or, if you're anything like the "Lost" fans currently holed up in London's Prince Charles cinema to watch every episode of the drama's six seasons, perhaps you're up for plowing through an older show in its entirety. (Random aside: is it me, or is that one guy in the front row at the "Lost" marathon a dead ringer for Ron Weasley?)

Whatever the case may be, a pop culture fest of this magnitude should not be approached lightly. Preparations are needed. So I asked two of the three men who engaged in May's Lost-a-thon for charity -- Alex Green and Aaron Rosenthal -- to provide some tips and insights for anyone attempting to gear up for multiple hours of couch potato-hood.

1. What advice do you have for "Lost" marathoners and pop culture imbibers that will help them pace themselves properly?

Alex Green: Go easy on the energy drinks! I went for two days before starting on the Rockstar, and I think it really helped alleviate the "crash" after drinking one.

Also, make sure you stay active. After each episode ended, we would jump around, do push-ups, cheer, etc. This activity helped keep us awake. Sitting sucks after a while.

Aaron Rosenthal:
Don't stay up almost all night before the "Lost" marathon begins! Like Alex mentioned, we had decided not to touch energy drinks until absolutely necessary, and to my own surprise it didn't become necessary to even crack into our Rockstar supply till Saturday, at which point we still paced ourselves.

We also tried to avoid starchy, heavy foods during the Lost-a-thon: eggs and fruit for breakfast, awesome yet light sandwiches for lunch and salad bowls for dinner.

2. Should one prepare for this as one would for an actual marathon, by starting slowly? For example, ease in with a "Lord of the Rings" marathon, then move on to watching an entire season of a series in one sitting?

Aaron: Preparation for a television marathon of this magnitude is always good, but not entirely necessary. I thought that by weening down the amount of sleep I got each night it would help my body get accustomed to less sleep... so that might have worked though less sleep was achieved more by necessity than choice since there was a LOT of work to be done in getting all the logistics in order before Lost-a-thon.

Alex: Tell your friends about it! One of the most motivating things of our Lost-a-thon was the positive encouragement we received from our friends via Twitter, e-mails, texts, etc. Hundreds of people around the globe were watching the event live online, asking questions about what we thought, asking us to give them shout outs and telling us how awesome we were doing. This interactivity gave us the fuel to continue.

3. Have you watched any episodes of "Lost" again since the Lost-a-thon? Do you think you'll ever want to watch it again?

Alex: I watched the last few episodes again to better understand them. I was very groggy by the end and didn't think I was properly able to absorb the finale, so re-watching helped. I'd watch "Lost" again, but not quite yet. There are so many other great shows!

Aaron: I watched the season finale a couple times after the "Lost" marathon because I was convinced our stretched and delirious minds must have missed a few things during the finale ... But for now, I'm taking a little "Lost" break, though I am enjoying the extras from the season 6 DVD collection.

4. Is there any other TV show, movie series, etc. that you would consider "watch-a-thoning"?

Alex: I have never been as addicted to [any] show as [much] I was with "Lost." That addiction, the drive to understand the characters, is really what made the event fun. Unless I come across another series that I feel attached to, I don't think so.

Aaron: "Lost" is, in my opinion, the best television series of all time and so there really [aren't] a lot of television shows out there [that] which I could withstand a solid 94 hours of. I do think it would be cool to watch an entire series marathon of a show I've never seen a single episode of, like "The Wire," which I hear rocks. But perhaps when someone breaks our record it might be time to try another marathon for charity!

5. After the Lost-a-thon was over, how long did you sleep?

Aaron: I've never slept so well in my life, and though I expected and planned to sleep all day and all night, we were back up by around 3 p.m., or [after] about 13 hours of recovery sleep. A Lost-a-thon celebration dinner followed that evening, at the end of which we were all pretty beat again; back to bed. After a day of recovery we were all back to work the next day where I was mostly recovered from our Lost-a-thon.

Alex: We slept for about 14 hours, were awake for about 5, then slept another 10. Then we had to go back to work!

Aaron Rosenthal is 26, lives in New York City and is a telecommunications consultants. Alex Green is 26 and currently working on his MBA at Cornell University in Ithaca, N.Y. Both note that contributions to their respective Lost-a-thon charities -- the Christopher and Dana Reeve Foundation and the Nature Conservancy -- can still be made via the Lost-a-thon Web site.

By Jen Chaney  | September 15, 2010; 4:45 PM ET
Categories:  Lost, Pop Culture, TV  
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