2014 was an incredible year for binge-worthy television. Thanks to Netflix’s growing market and competitors like HBO GO and Amazon Prime finally bulking up to Netflix’s weight class, it seems like waiting every week to see a new episode of your favorite show is becoming a thing of the past. But there was a time when there was no Netflix or TiVO, and TV watchers waited week in and week out for half an hour of joy to radiate out of an addictive glowing box. This was the environment in which The Simpsons was born. For twenty-five years, Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa, and Maggie Simpson have come into our homes consistently at 8 p.m. on Sunday evenings for a mere thirty minutes, but this August, thanks to FXX, all 552 episodes of the ground-breaking show were shown in order, for twenty-four hours straight, for twelve days. [Insert Homer’s drooling sound here.]
The #EverySimpsonsEver marathon was an insane success for FXX (averaging 1.32 million viewers every night at primetime, ranking third in viewers aging from 18–49 for three of the twelve nights), but it was an even bigger victory for the fans who finally got to watch the antics of Springfield around the clock—including newer classics (“Homer to the Max”), old favorites (“Lisa’s Substitute”), and episodes seldom broadcast anymore (“The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson”). For nearly two weeks, sleep became unnecessary while DVR storage space was essential and precious.
While the bingeing did quickly remind viewers that some seasons of the show are better than others (see seasons one through fourteen…and then just stop), the marathon solidified the fact that world created and developed by Matt Groening, James L. Brooks, and Sam Simon is simply unmatchable and frankly, unstoppable. When in doubt about the merits of Springfield, USA, just remember that Lyle Lanley believed in them, even though he really thought that the monorail was more of a Shelbyville idea.—Bailey Pennick