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'The Simpsons' marathon: 12 days of magic

File photo of the Fox animated series, "The

File photo of the Fox animated series, "The Simpsons" Credit: Fox

THE EVENT "The Simpsons" marathon

WHEN|WHERE Starts Thursday at 10 a.m. on FXX

WHAT IT'S ABOUT Five hundred and fifty-two episodes of one of the greatest TV shows ever will air back to back (to back) over 12 consecutive days, 24 hours a day, through Labor Day. ("The Simpsons Movie" from 2007 also will air in chronological position, next Friday, Aug. 29, at 6 p.m.)

The first episode is -- come on! It's even a Trivial Pursuit question probably -- "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire," while the first season ends today at 4, with "Some Enchanted Evening." Season 25 begins Sept. 1 at 1p.m., with "Homerland," and concludes at 11:30 that night with "The Yellow Badge of Cowardge."

MY SAY There may be more compelling reasons to spend 12 straight solitary days in front of a TV set, although for a moment I am at a loss to say what they might be. Five hundred and fifty two episodes of the "The Simpsons": An endless, imponderable, unstoppable Niagara of sight gags, jokes, one-liners, characters and stories that explore everything from the meaning of God to the anti-allure of Duff Beer, through the offices of a cultural behemoth that sought to reorder our cultural landscape -- or save Fox.

"The Simpsons" certainly did both. (Homer: "It may be on a lousy channel but the Simpsons are on TV.")

You would emerge from this immersion -- assuming you do undertake it, and please do not consider this an endorsement by any means -- wiser but also a psychic wreck. You also would be dead, or near death. So, no, definitely do not watch this "Simpsons" marathon from start to finish. But do watch parts. Drop in, drop out, drop by -- casually explore what it all means and meant and why we have loved it so much.

But also remind yourself that this marathon is just a warm-up act to the really big show -- "Simpsons World," the website that launches in October. (Homer: "The Internet? Is that thing still around?") "World," like Homer's beloved doughnuts, will do everything, include stream every episode and collate every fact and quote. It's possible there will be no escape from that scary/magical place.

BOTTOM LINE A great thing begins today, but do not watch from start to end. This could kill you. Instead, graze merrily away (just don't forget to eat or feed the dog).


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