Comfort T.V shows are designed to entertain and soothe. They provide us with the opportunity to switch off and relax without having to resort to scrolling on our phones. Intricate plotlines and dark or disturbing content have no place in the comfort T.V show. We don’t want to have to pay that much attention to the episode prior to understand and follow the one we’re currently watching, and we don’t want to be met with any subject matter serious enough to drag us back into an awareness of our real lives. This is not to say that we don’t anticipate substance from these shows. Oftentimes these series can be sincerely moving, especially those that place emphasis on family, friendship and romance. They serve as a rest bite from a dull or stressful world, making the everyday seem more colourful while giving a valuable lesson. A good comfort T.V show is one that hits the sweet spot of being both easy to follow and engaging.
T.V shows such as Friends, Gilmore Girls, and Modern Family are the classic switch off and relaxed viewing. If you are a college student whose been neck-deep in academic papers and looming deadlines, these T.V classics are the perfect example of what you crave to watch to feel heart warmed and amused, without having to focus on it too hard. These shows have provided a calming oasis for me during busy periods and they distract me from the isolation I feel during lockdown.
We’ve all been binge-watching films and box sets during lockdown. It can be heavy lifting if you’re not watching something good! That’s why the best comfort T.V shows I’ll be recommending are ones where you feel at ease viewing, while also feeling you have something to sink your teeth into.
Lisa McGee’s treasured sitcom ‘Derry Girls’ is high on the list of must-watch comfort T.V. An excellent combination of heartfelt and hilarious, Lisa McGee provides an uplifting and hopeful account of the lives of four teenage girls living in 1990’s Northern Ireland. McGee artfully combines the everyday experiences of young womanhood and Irishness, while also setting it within a backdrop of the troubles, a very dark and upsetting period in Ireland’s recent past. Derry Girl’s pioneers the space between innocent easy-going humour, and engaging cultural content. The show highlights what it was like for Irish people living through the troubles without ever feeling like a history lesson. The primary focus of the show is always on people’s humanity, irrespective of political, social or religious divides. Season one of Derry Girls is already available to watch on Netflix.
Another TV show that serves the purpose of being both comforting and engaging is the English comedy drama series Sex Education. Not only does the show include similar themes our family, friendship and coming of age experiences, it is also an excellent introduction to sexuality and sexual health. This show is easy to watch without being repetitive or void of meaning. It is informative, sensitive and deeply relatable to the struggles many young people face trying to navigate sex within the context of a rooted history of shame regarding sex and sexuality. I would highly recommend this show to anyone yearning for comfort t.v with the added benefit of authentic depictions of sexuality.
Last but not least a comfort TV show that I have found to be both heartwarming and educational is the Netflix original series Atypical, which follows the life of a teenager with autism. Sitcoms and comedy dramas rarely place people with disability centre stage. Depictions of those on the spectrum traditionally follow harmful and inaccurate stereotypes inserted purely for comedic purposes. Atypical however, depicts the life of a person with autism thoroughly and with nuance. From his romantic life to personal interests and potential career paths, this series is a far more humanizing expression of what it is to have autism, as well as accurately representing the experiences of those who have a loved one/family member with autism. It has all the core components of a classic comfort T.V show, while also providing valuable insight.
Whatever your comfort T.V show of choice may be, it can be nice to watch something that feels both familiar and new, satisfying that itch for easy viewing while also leaving you with food for thought.