alibi online
Weekly Alibi PodcastFree Will AstrologyAlibi's Personals
 V.17 No.28 | July 10 - 16, 2008 

Idiot Box

Hyper-Speed Syndication

Watching “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” until my eyes bleed

I sealed my fate with the click of a mouse. Once I started watching FX’s “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” I couldn’t stop.

The show’s cast (which includes Danny DeVito) of screaming thirtysomethings was a factor in the immediate addiction. They behave like the characters in “Seinfeld” if Jerry and the gang were degenerate, working-class alcoholics whose narcissism reached criminal levels. Also, the show makes it seem as though adulthood can be put off indefinitely, and that’s a comforting notion.

But the primary factor contributing to my unhealthy lust for “It’s Always Sunny” is the Internet. After seeing a few episodes on TV, I decided to see if the show could be viewed online. Once I found streaming episodes on, it was all over.

Every episode from seasons one and three lay at my fingertips. For some reason, Hulu doesn’t have season two (there are only three seasons, with a fourth slated to premiere in September). Hulu throws in a couple commercial breaks in each episode, but even with the interruptions, an episode only takes a shade over 20 minutes to watch. And the faster you finish, the more quickly you can move to the next one, and then the next.

In one horrifically unproductive afternoon that stretched into early evening, I watched two full seasons of “It’s Always Sunny.” The next day, I managed to hunt down the elusive season two on a combination of TV-streaming websites and promptly consumed every beer-drenched punch line.

I had to slow down. I had watched more than 12 hours of the same show over the course of two days. I didn’t keep up my breakneck pace, but I couldn’t pull the plug on this Internet experiment. Instead, I re-watched episode after episode until I had seen each one at least three times, and some as many as five times.

What I have done could be called “hyper-syndication." I’ve gobbled up all the episodes of “It’s Always Sunny” and watched them so many times that it’s created the same effect as watching every episode of syndicated shows like “Friends” or “Everybody Loves Raymond.” I can recite huge chunks of dialogue verbatim, and I've even begun comparing my friends with the characters in the cast. These are common symptoms of watching a syndicated show over and over and over again, but the difference is, I’ve done so over the course of about a week, instead of several years.

As strange as my experience has been, I wonder if I’m alone. With networks like NBC and Comedy Central allowing viewers to see all their shows online, it would seem there could be others out there just like me. Folks might be enticed by the prospect of watching multiple episodes of their favorite show in a single sitting. Then, before they know it, they’re lured into the guilt-ridden act of watching them over and over again.

The side effects of hyper-syndication are generally mild and may include dry mouth, nausea and body aches. You shouldn’t engage in hyper-syndication if you have a life, or are at risk of getting one. Ask yourself if hyper-syndication is right for you.

Season four of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” will premier Thursday, Sept. 18, on FX.



Tom Joad returns to his home after a jail sentence to find his family kicked out of their farm due to foreclosure. A film series in partnership with the Albuquerque Museum's Route 66 exhibit.

La lengua de las mariposas/Butterfly at National Hispanic Cultural Center


Captain America: The Winter Soldier at South Broadway Cultural Center

More Recommended Events ››
Join our mailing list for exclusive info, the week's events and free stuff!

  • Select sidebar boxes to add below. You can also click and drag to rearrange the boxes; close using the little X icons on each box. To re-add a box you closed, return to this menu.
  • Because you are not logged in, any changes you make to these boxes will vanish as soon as you click to another page. If you log in, the boxes will stick.
  • Latest Posts
  • Web Exclusives
  • Recent Rocksquawk Discussions
  • Recent Classifieds
  • Latest User Posts
  • Most Active Users
  • Most Active Stories
  • Calendar Comments
  • Upcoming Alibi Picks
  • Albuquerque
  • Duke City Fix
  • Albuquerque Beer Scene
  • What's Wrong With This Picture?
  • Reddit Albuquerque
  • ABQ Journal Metro
  • ABQrising
  • ABQ Journal Latest News
  • Albuquerque
  • NM and the West
  • New Mexico FBIHOP
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • Only in New Mexico
  • Mario Burgos
  • Democracy for New Mexico
  • High Country News
  • El Grito
  • NM Politics with Joe Monahan
  • Stephen W. Terrell's Web Log
  • The Net Is Vast and Infinite
  • Slashdot
  • Freedom to Tinker
  • Is there a feed that should be on this list? Tell us about it.
    Out of the Woodwork
    Out of the Woodwork6.2.2016