During the winter holidays the television networks like the fact that you’re off from work, often near food-coma status, and tired of hearing that same story your uncle tells you every year about the time he ran the Philadelphia marathon and had to drive himself the four hours home because his support person (your grandmother) popped a few Percocet and fell asleep in the car. (Are these conversations unique to my family?) In any case, during the holidays, you likely have free time, you don’t want to move, and conversations may have grown stale. Television networks know that you are a prime target for media marathoning.
With this scholarly project, we are focused largely on user-generated marathons (marathons initiated by viewers/readers because of a particular interest in a text). However, producer-generated marathons (those sponsored by the networks or the theaters) are important in the scope of marathoning. Producer-generated marathons are at once a sign that marathoning is a prominent trend and also a possible gateway drug for new marathoners. News outlets are even promoting marathoning by giving you a comprehensive list of the films and shows available.
CNN’s list of holiday marathons includes many of our commonly marathoned texts, the quality of which give viewers faith that they will have an enjoyable experience. (The Godfather and Godfather II even crack the American Film Institute’s top 40.) The producer-sponsored marathons also pave the way for franchises to make more money. It isn’t a coincidence that the Bond movies are on the TV marathon list just as Skyfall was released. The Lord of the Rings theater marathons are also on their way next week, just prior to the release of The Hobbit.
I am definitely seeing The Hobbit in December, but I can’t handle a one-day theatrical marathon of Lord of the Rings at this stage in my life. I really thought I wouldn’t marathon again for another few years. However, Josh and I have recently gotten hooked on the BBC television novel Downton Abbey (destined to be the subject of an upcoming blog post). I would like to say the Thanksgiving holiday helped us marathon, but we were actually busier than usual that week. This is exactly what a good show/film series/book series will do for you–call you away from your regular obligations. Sometimes the producers call to us with their marathons and sometimes the text speaks directly to us.
Did any holiday marathons call you away from your regular obligations? Did any marathons call you away from that same conversation you have every year with your uncle? If so, let us know.