We hope you’re sitting down (preferably in front of a TV). In a study released by The Nielsen Company on Tuesday, it was revealed that the average American spends four hours and 49 minutes per day watching television, up four minutes from last year and nearly 20 percent from 10 years ago. Somewhere in Los Angeles, Jay Leno just let out an exasperated sigh.
Anyway, with 289 minutes to fill for the rest of the day—229 minutes if you watched The View, not that we have or anything—we thought it might be a good idea to offer a viewing guide to Thursday’s overloaded evening festivities (can’t the networks spread some of these shows out?). Please note: this is only possible if you have two DVR machines and a whole lot of willpower. Attempt at your own risk.
8:00 p.m. – 8:30 p.m.: Community (30 minutes total)
If done right, you won’t have to watch another show live (with commercials) for the next four hours. And hey, it could be worse: not only is Community hilarious (why this is on at 8 p.m. is a mystery), but you also get to see which companies are foolish enough to actually spend their advertising dollars on NBC. Win-win.
8:30 p.m. – 9:14 p.m.: FlashForward on DVR (74 minutes total)
Normally, it takes a series a few seasons before becoming a rote obligation. Not FlashForward, which accomplished the feat in just seven episodes. Watch this while you check your e-mail (multi-tasking!) and just remember to pay attention to the cliffhangers that happen before each commercial break. They’re important. Or something.
9:14 p.m. – 10:00 p.m.: The Office/30 Rock on DVR (120 minutes total)
The only downside here: you’ll eventually catch up to 30 Rock and be forced to sit through promos for The Jay Leno Show. But that’s a small price to pay for watching two of the best comedies on television as close as possible to when they air live. That way you don’t get spoiled when you check Twitter and see all the funniest lines already posted.
10:00 p.m. – 11:28 p.m.: Grey’s Anatomy/Private Practice on DVR (208 minutes total)
If you squint hard enough during these 88 minutes, you might fool yourself into thinking Kate Walsh is still on Grey’s Anatomy.
11:28 p.m. – 12:12 a.m.: Fringe on DVR (252 minutes total)
Time to bust out that second DVR! Because Fox foolishly put Fringe up against Grey’s Anatomy, The Office/30 Rock twofer and CSI (though, really, are you still watching that?), it is not only impossible watch Fringe on Thursday nights, but to DVR it as well. Great programming, guys! Anyway, this show is actually very good and it’ll give you an added scare if you watch it during the witching hour.
12:12 a.m. – 12:34 a.m.: Parks and Recreation on DVR (274 minutes total)
We’re pretty sure that at least part of the reason why the second season of Parks and Recreation is so much funnier than the first has to do with the fact that we’re watching it through sleepy eyes. To be fair though, Amy Poehler and her cast of Merry Men (Aziz Ansari, Louis CK, Paul Schneider and Nick Offerman) are hilarious even when seen while fully awake.
12:34 a.m. – 12:49 a.m.: Late Night with Jimmy Fallon (289 minutes total)
As you ready for bed, you could watch Seinfeld reruns—or, heaven help you, The Jeff Dunham Show on Comedy Central—but why not give Jimmy Fallon another try. Spoiler alert: he’s gotten much better since you last saw him and his contagious charm will put you in a good mood as you fall asleep.