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Welcome to the grotto.

As we prepare for today’s post, let’s dim the lights a little. Light the candles. Some soft music. Clear your mind of all inhibitions. It’s time to explore something new. Don’t worry. Won’t hurt a bit.

It’s time to talk about delayed gratification.

NO! Not that.

*Blows out candles in disgust. And shoves feather boa, thong and swim fins back into the closet for another day.*

Anyway, I’ve been watching season 4 of “Arrested Development”, the much ballyhooed Netflix-exclusive relaunch of the cult-fav sitcom cancelled seven years ago because, well, it’s a cult fav and that’s what networks do to cult hits.

One of the things interesting about the AD relaunch is that all fifteen half-hour-ish (anywhere from 28 to 40 minutes actually) episodes dropped at once. This is the new fad in TV. There are more and more Internet-exclusive series and more are dumping whole seasons at once. “House of Cards” did it. Catch the wave, I guess.

But is it a good wave that will take your boogie board all the way to the shore? (dig my rad surfer lingo, yo) When I was younger, the debut of a new season of a favorite show was an event. When the last few minutes of season one of “Lost” left me breathless, I was DYING for the next season. It was exquisite agony waiting all summer for season 2. The delayed gratification, withholding the payoff was part the fun.

Well, waiting is a thing of the past. I’m not sure how to feel about that. I guess in my mind, I’m distinguishing between first-run new shows and box sets of favorite old shows you buy for your library. Having a whole season in front of you that you’ve never seen before is thrilling.To me, the first airings are a special presentation, a gift from the creatives to you. You take each one as it’s presented, like the various meal courses at a fancy restaurant. Box sets are the extra-large fries from the drive-thru that you gobble in fistfuls. Maybe it’s a distinction without meaning. It also may be I’m a fossil because who the hell buys shows on DVD anymore? That’s sooooo 2010.

Watching episodes back to back to back is a great way to catch running gags, pick up clues to the mystery, or just steep yourself in the fun. But it’s also easier to spot weaknesses in plot and character development. Also, if all you get is one episode a week, it’s a mini party. A whole season’s worth can feel like a chore. You could still ration them out one per week, but just like it’s hard to eat one Lay’s chip, it’s hard to watch just one episode. Other times, having so many episodes just kind of feels like work. “Oh, god, I’ve got to watch 14 episodes of ‘Battlestar Galactica’ before I can go to bed…”

Yes, it’s a burden having to watch all this TV. The pioneers were wusses with their harsh winters and starvation and having to build their own homes. Last night, I had to stop watching AD after two episodes so I could turn up the air conditioning, eat a cookie and go to bed. The humanity!

I have to stop writing now. My Netflix cue is still full and I feel like a guilty slacker.


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