On the fifth day of Gheorghemas
Big Gheorghe gave to me
Five shows to binge watch on TV
Four Random Thoughts
Three Punk Rock Playlists
Two Digits Throughout History
And the debut of Mac McFis-ty
(We're spreading our wings, and the Gheorghemas cheer, this festive season. We're pleased and honored to have Shlara pen a post in celebration.)
There's a lot of great TV these days. (For example, if you and your family aren't watching black-ish on ABC, you're doing it wrong.)
And, if the Farmers Almanac is correct, we'll be getting a lot of rough weather this winter, so you'll need to hunker down and find some good teevee to pass the time. And if it's not the crappy weather you need to avoid (I'm looking at you, Mark and Danimal), then these shows are still good for a distraction from the daily grind or the shit-show that is the nightly news these days.
I'm not a critic and I don't have an English Lit course-style analysis on what makes each of these shows great. What I can tell you is that good TV = fascinating characters and complicated relationships. And these five golden Gheorghemas shows have all of that.
|These cats are laugh out loud funny.|
Some of you watch a few of these shows and I'm sure there's at least one show on this list that you have never seen. So trust me, and try it. I have good taste--I like Desus & Mero (which you should also be watching, so set your DVRs)
UnREAL (two seasons, originally aired on Lifetime, streaming on Hulu. I hate Lifetime too--get over it.)
This is a parody of the Bachelor, created by a woman who was a producer on the real ABC show, The Bachelor. (Which is also TV gold b/c of the weekly emotional car wrecks.) The main characters in UnREAL are two power bitch women--Quinn (Constance Zimmer) + Rachel (Shiri Appleby)--and it takes you through the evil, complicated mind games they play with the "suitor" and contestants to make "great TV," while their own real lives implode. There's an OMG moment every show. And it makes you feel better about your own life and work environment, because it's not THIS rough. Fun fact: the fake Bachelor show in UnREAL is more progressive than the real Bachelor show because they had a black suitor in season two.
Bonus pick: I haven't watched it yet, but it's on my list: Real Husbands of Hollywood--it's a parody by Kevin Hart. And regardless what you think of his ubiquity, you know he makes you laugh. Also, the new season of the Bachelor starts in January and Nick is back for a fourth time--let's hope he finds love so he can stop showing up on our TVs.
Casual (two seasons, created for Hulu, streams on Hulu)
Mr. Robot was a choice on the plane menu, but they only had episodes from the middle of season 2--and I wanted to start from the beginning. So, I thought--the lead guy in Casual (Tommy Dewey) played the d-bag sports agent on The Mindy Project and I liked him there, so 'why not.' In this show, he plays a d-bag tech guy who created a dating app. It's an awkward dramatic comedy about a middle-aged brother (Dewey) and sister (Michaela Watkins) and her teenage daughter, all slogging through real life with many cringe-worthy moments that keep you watching--it's not as sharp as Louie, but it's in the same spirit. Fun fact: Tommy Dewey and I attended the same wedding of a mutual friend last year.
Bonus pick: Love, from the Judd Apatow comedy cabal. This one was created by Paul Rust and it's an awkward-charming 20-something millenial story that's much more enjoyable than GIRLS. You roll your eyes at them but don't want to throw anything at the TV, like you do when watching GIRLS.
(one season, Netflix original, streams on Netflix)
Aziz Ansari is a funny dude. And his show is excellent. And multi-cultural. It's a NYC-based show with characters that seem like real people and scenarios and settings that actually seem plausible. Watch season one now, before season two is up on Netflix in April. Fun fact: Ansari is a foodie and used to date a chef--so he name drops a lot of real NYC restaurants and Thrillist complied a list of those places.
A Chef's Life (four seasons, airs on PBS, streams on PBS)
My sister and her husband introduced me to this show. It's a docu-cooking show about Vivian, a Carolina woman who left her fancy chef life in NYC to return home to eastern NC and open a restaurant in Kinston, with her city husband and kids in tow. They are charming and the food looks delicious and it's a really soothing show--it's the opposite of all of those frenetic cooking competition/reality shows. Good fun for the whole family.
The Americans (four seasons so far, airs on FX and streams on AmazonPrime)