It was a rough year (well, March through December, anyway). What I needed, all year, seemingly, was a comfort show or two or five and nostalgic throwbacks. So I went through several comedies, a few dramas, and some dramedies from the US and Canada (Canada is very important here). Here are a few of them, in no particular order.
I was behind the hype wagon on this one, as I so often am. I don’t like watching things during the peak of their hype, because I’m certain I’ll be disappointed. So I let the Emmys wins fade, and I watched it in October. Binged it, really. The little Canadian farcical comedy with a ton of heart impressed me so much more than I thought it would. Dan Levy is fast becoming one of my favorite entertainers/showrunners. Really, it’s just the perfect comfort show…like a bowl of warm soup in a cold year.
Okay, I know what you’re thinking. Veep, a comfort show, really? Now? Well, yes. Because it serves as a reminder that for all that things are hell, they can at least be funny. There’s a lot of parallels between Selina Meyer’s chaos and our current political landscape, but they lay on so much humor and rapid-fire jokes that you often forget that you’re watching a bunch of politicos and politicians ruin the government. The first four seasons are the best, but the last three have their moments.
Hot Mash Summer rise! A bunch of people got really into MASH this summer on Tumblr, and I must report I was one of them. I started with season 4, but I’ll go back and watch seasons 1-3 eventually. This is a truly revolutionary comedy from the 70s/80s which still hits hard today. Set during a seemingly endless Korean War, Alan Alda did his best to make this show as great as it was, along with his fellow cast members. A particular standout for me was David Ogden Stiers (you know him as Cogsworth in the original Beauty and the Beast) as the pompous Charles Emerson Winchester the Third. This show was kind of perfect to think about all the possibilities when you’re trapped somewhere and can’t get out.
SLINGS AND ARROWS
This is a little Canadian comfort show about a professional theatre festival that involves a ghost/hallucination, a haunted former Hamlet, his ex-girlfriend (or current girlfriend, depending on the season), and a whole host of quirky characters who populate the theatre company administration and cohort. It stars a baby Rachel McAdams in its first season, too. Each season “adapts” a Shakespeare play or two: the first season is Hamlet, the second season is Macbeth and the third season is King Lear. It’s a heartbreaking, hilarious dramedy, which comes well recommended.
THE WEST WING
The polar opposite of Veep in so many ways, I binged the first four seasons (the only valid ones) in about three weeks. This was a re-watch for me, but I can’t resist it. I’m a politics nut, but an idealistic one, so I couldn’t help but delve into the world of Bartlet’s administration once more. We all wish Martin Sheen was the real President, right? Right?
I’ve written about comfort food shows and escapist media before, but this article was near and dear to my heart–I love TV, and I want to spread its gospel to the world. What were some of your favorite comfort shows?