Even though I watch everything, there are still plenty of times where I’m like, “Ugh, there’s nothing to watch,” or I don’t want to put the mental energy into absorbing a new TV show. Whether I want to be comforted by a pleasant series, or just need a show that I can pay half attention to while I dick around on my phone or do chores, these kinds of TV shows are vital to anyone who refuses to be left alone with their own thoughts.
The two most popular choices are The Office and Friends, and if these are yours — hey, man, I get it. The jokes on The Office are top notch, and it was capable of making you laugh and cry within the span of a few seconds, and at the same time, you know it so well that if you pop out for a bathroom break, no biggie. And Friends is just like that blanket you’ve had forever — it may not be of the same quality as new blankets now, but you know what it can do and how it’ll feel, and that’s a nice feeling sometimes.
My comfort/background shows change, but right now I’ve got two. The first is Bob’s Burgers, which honestly, has basically replaced the place in my heart that The Simpsons used to film. BB isn’t as absurd or experimental as The Simpsons was in its heydey, but it’s a really kind, gentle comedy that doesn’t draw attention to itself — so much so that it’ll frequently drop some of the funniest jokes and you might miss it just because the plot keeps moving at a quick clip. And even with its gentle comedy, Bob’s Burgers is not afraid to drop the occasional dark joke, to the point that Craig and I will have to pause the show to laugh and go “ooooooof.”
Unlikes The Simpsons, it’s clear that the Belchers all love each other very much and Bob and Linda are an actually good couple and decent parents. Sure, the kids will tease and torment each other a bit, but it comes more from a place of love than it ever seemed with Bart and Lisa. And Bob’s Burgers has remained excellent for ten seasons (with more to come, thank god), which, tbqh, is longer than The Simpsons stayed good.
The second show is Superstore, which, for me, is filling the hole in my heart The Office and Parks and Rec left behind. (And I must admit that Michael Scott annoys me a lot more as a character than he does some people.) It’s an incredible ensemble show, and I’m consistently shocked that the show hasn’t popped off with viewers and critics alike in the same way The Office or Parks and Rec did.
All of the characters are brilliantly realized — instead of Michael Scott in charge, we get Glenn (Mark McKinney), an incredibly sweet, naive man who truly loves his job and hates hurting anyone’s feelings. Theres assistant manager Dina (Lauren Ash — full disclosure, Ash and I are acquaintances, but that’s just because we’re both from Toronto, where everyone really does kinda know each other), who loves to be in charge of people and couldn’t give less of a shirt about hurting people’s feelings, especially Glenn’s. Sandra (Kaliko Kauahi), the mild-mannered salesperson who is so dull she goes all the way around to hilarious. And there’s Amy (America Ferrera) and Jonah (Ben Feldman), the show’s will-they-or-won’t-they couple who aren’t immune to their own wacky behaviours. And that’s just SOME of the characters, all of whom are hilarious in their own rights.
The jokes are sharp and incredibly on point, and the show does not shy away from how big corporations like Wal-Mart (the company in the show is very clearly not Wal-Mart, but you know it’s supposed to be Wal-Mart) exploit their employees for profit. There are episodes and entire arcs covering issues like unionization and undocumented immigration, and yet it’s still so funny that it doesn’t feel like you’re watching an “issue” show. (Not that there’s anything wrong with an “issue” show, but sometimes you wanna turn your brain off, you know?) There are five seasons of Superstore with more to come (eventually, after *all this* is over), so it’s been great to put this on to either laugh super hard at or just clean my apartment around.
What are your favourite comfort/background shows? What do you like about ‘em? Sound off in the comments so that I can potentially find more stuff to watch.
Bob’s Burgers and Superstore are currently streaming on Amazon Prime Video in Canada; new episodes of Bob’s Burgers air on FOX and new episodes of Superstore air on NBC. I dunno where they stream outside of Canada, but you can probably figure it out.
That’s all for me today, gorgeous. Talk to you soon.
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