Sentenced to 24 hours in the chair, our intrepid reporter confronts the joys (Baywatch) and terrors (Beaches) of the latest high-tech TV-watching accessory.

Ah, science. They Xeroxed a sheep. They sent some overpriced Big Wheel to Mars. But if you want to talk real progress, consider the new ultimate TV accessory: the La-Z-Boy with a built-in butt massager.

In the interest of investigative journalism, I decided to road test this important technological advance. My mission: spend 24 straight hours one Sunday in my recliner, feet up, watching the tube.

In other words, think of me as the Jon Krakauer of extreme leisure. That author exposed himself to Mount Everest’s brain-damaging lack of oxygen; I’d expose myself to bass fishing on ESPN. He risked near-deadly frostbite; I’d risk an irritating upholstery rash.

My self-imposed challenge couldn’t have come at a better time. Once maligned as hopelessly down-market — the furniture equivalent of Spam — recliners have eased their way into the zeitgeist, popping up on Frasier, a recent Nissan commercial, even in Joey and Chandler’s living room on Friends.

Mind you, these aren’t your grandfather’s La-Z-Boys. The $900 chocolate brown monster delivered to my apartment came loaded with enough gizmos to make James Bond drool. There’s a handy beverage holder, a secret armrest container big enough for an entire collection of Police Academy tapes (although that would mean you’d eventually have to get up to pop them into the VCR), the aforementioned massager, a phone, an answering machine (”I’m not in my recliner right now, please leave a message”), and a modem jack (very mid-to-late ’90s). Herewith, my recline of Western civilization:

9 a.m. I climb into my La-Z-Boy. It’s huge. I feel like Herve Villechaize nestled in Kirstie Alley’s lap.

10:30 a.m. After initial jitters, I’m hitting my pace. Showtime’s This Is Elvis serves as inspiration. He was the King of Couch Potatoes, inventor of the .45 caliber remote.

1:25 p.m. I flip on the butt massager. The chair starts to vibrate violently. Suddenly everything looks like Homicide.

2:05 p.m. Baywatch is on! Strangely, Pamela Lee’s upper torso is the only thing that doesn’t vibrate.

3:00 p.m. I click from Baywatch to Beaches, starring Bette Midler. Totally wrong for my testosterone-charged La-Z-Boy, like going linen shopping in a Hummer. I wash my mind out with the Giants and Eagles on Fox.

6:10 p.m. I start carbo loading, swallowing handfuls of the Tostitos I stashed in my secret armrest compartment.

6:23 p.m. On MTV’s The Real World, Jason shows his thingy to Genesis and Kameelah. I stop carbo loading. I may not be hungry for some time.

10:22 p.m. I’m hitting the dreaded wall. Not sure I can go on. My Judeo-Christian work ethic tells me to get up and water the plants, wash some dishes. But wait…

11:22 p.m. Playmates of the 1980s is on E!. Brings back many fond memories — of the accompanying articles, of course.

2:23 a.m. I’m experiencing Lounger’s High. I feel my endorphins kicking in. I could do this forever. Shogun on AMC? Bring it on!

7:30 a.m. Uh-oh. Just woke up. Apparently, I’m not man enough for the La-Z-Boy. Looks like I’ll just have to install a butt massager in my futon.