As in every other aspect of my life, my binge watching tendencies reflect my all-or-nothing personality: I’m either completely oblivious to any tv show hype and can’t be bothered to sit down and watch anything at all, or I’m neglecting everything else in my life being throughly immersed in some binge watching activity. I firmly believe that binge watching can be a self- destructive behaviour – I know I’ve certainly used it in ways to manage my anxiety in the past, and I can usually tell something’s wrong if I’m spending too much time in front of my screen.
Wait, this little lighthearted post has taken an unexpected downturn, hasn’t it!
The point is – as I keep repeating – the world is in crisis and quarantine has made a couch potato out of me. Given this new reality we’re facing, watching tv shows can make us feel less alone, and to be honest, some distraction is more than welcome. Now that it’s summer and life is slowly going back to normal, binge watching might not so relevant anymore (unless you’re binging Normal People, in that case I’d say knock yourself out) but some shows are just too interesting to pass up. They reflect reality in a delightful, relatable way, they can be educational, they can spark important conversations, or they can be about people who have made a complete mess out of their normal lives – and I’d dare say these are the best ones because they actually make you feel happy about your own ordinary life, where you don’t end up accidentally killing people and having to hide bodies and run from the police (I’m looking at you Dead To Me).
So here’s are seven shows I have watched lately and can confirm, they are entirely binge watch materials.
I ignored Love for a long time, convinced it wasn’t my kind of show. But after Normal People I was feeling kinda lost, which led me straight to this awkward, lovable show. Mickey is wild and complicated, Gus is a nerdy people pleaser, and the show is so much like real life, you can’t help but cringe at your own memories. It explores the relationship between two people who are still figuring themselves out, who keep making the same mistakes and are still not quite ready for a committed, adult relationship. The performances are excellent – Gillian Jacobs is fantastic, and Claudia O’Doherty is hilarious.
Another show I initially passed (I seem to do that a lot), but then I heard about it on a podcast and thought okay, why not and yep, the damn show is good. Mostly populated by female characters, it was really fun watching women go crazy and take control of the screen. They are likeable, but then annoy you, they’re complicated and make some stupid choices, which is all great because people can be infuriatingly lovable in real life! Jen’s husband recently died in a hit-and-run and she’s determined to solve the crime. She then meets Judy, a free spirit, and they become unlikely friends. Jen has anger issues, Judy is too forgiving, too nice, too friendly, but always sort of gets into the trouble… you know, a lot happens on this show and I don’t want to spoil anything, but it’s a great dark comedy.
This is more like a talk show, and it’s on facebook (a total surprise to me, I’m never on facebook), but it’s a great show and here’s why: Jada Pinkett Smith, her mother Adrienne Banfield-Norris, and Willow Smith sit at this red table and have the most candid, provocative discussions with family and friends (aka celebs). From discussions about race, drugs, class, to gun violence, it’s really thought-provoking. Watch her conversation with Demi Moore and her daughters and you’ll see what I mean.
We’re being very inclusive here, so now it’s youtube turn! I don’t know if I’m biased but give me a cooking show, any cooking show, and I’m a happy camper. So obviously I’m prone to lose precious hours of my precious days watching Bon Appétit videos on youtube. But watching Gourmet Makes is more than watching a cooking show, it’s like watching a science project. Cooking (and baking) is after all, science and experimenting, and this is what this show is all about. Chef Claire Saffitz goes through the process of figuring out how to make junk food and childhood snacks, such as doritos, twix, ruffles and then turn them into their gourmet, masterpieces version. From the list of ingredients that go into the original recipe to Claire’s journey that takes days of trying to get to the end result, the entire process is nothing short of extraordinary to watch.
A certain degree of boredom made me watch this one, and although I decided a while ago I was not going to watch crime shows anymore and live life pretending the world is all rainbows and butterflies, I pressed play, breaking my promise to myself. Now, this show is infuriating. And also an eye opener. The fact that people with money and power simply think can live above the law and commit the most heinous crimes is beyond appalling, but Jeffrey Epstein story is much more horrendous than anything I could imagine. This docuseries examines how the convicted sex offender used his wealth and power to carry out his abuses.
Queer Eye doesn’t need any introduction, but the reason I added it to the list is because the new season is out and it’s more emotional than ever. It feels even sweeter during these awful times we’re living – and specially after watching something like Jeffrey Epstein. Empathy and kindness are not things we get to see a lot on tv so watching this show is like a cozy, heart warming experience. Watching it gives me hope in humanity.
Modern Love came out last year and I promptly watched all episodes. I’m a huge fan of the New York Times column that inspired the show so I was overly excited to finally watch it. Like the title evokes, it’s all about love, in all shapes and forms. And have I mentioned I’m a cancer? A hopeless romantic? That I love love? Well. Need I say more.
Have you watched any of these? Do you agree with my list? Let me know in the comments!