With the post-Thanksgiving bloat beginning to set it, the holiday season is officially upon us. And there’s something magical about spending time with family and friends we often don’t get to see enough/much of throughout the year. There are opportunities to catch up with old amigos and relive the ‘glory days’ of being young(er) and a bit more reckless (or not, as the case may be!). There’s heaps of delicious food and everyone drinks more than they have the whole year round. In a Hallmark card factory, this makes for seasonal bliss and good cheer. Everyone chortles and smiles so hard their cheeks hurt.
In reality, holidays often involve a combination of the following: hiding in your room from younger relatives whose sugar highs have made them over active Gremlins intent on breaking anything and everything, eating so much that the January sales are used to replace nearly all your jeans as suddenly the waistbands are far too tight, coming up with stories to meet the approval of people asking you what you’ve been up to that doesn’t include the large portion of your life you lost to Breaking Bad, drinking too much and spilling secrets to people about how practising kissing on *that* poster of Johnny Depp as Captain Jack Sparrow means that you find the smell of a freshly unwrapped poster incredibly arousing…Not to mention the family fights, awkward gifts you didn’t really want but now have to fake smile thank you for until you can manage to re-gift it to someone else, and the stress of coordinating time off work with when everyone else in your family is going to be able to be together. On the flip side, you could be spending the holiday season alone with a bad case of FOMO and a mince pie stained with glitter tears. Either way, at some point you will find yourself reaching for the internet and looking for somewhere to escape to. Instead of doing the usual tried-and-tested nostalgia fest of Fresh Prince of Bel Air or X Files reruns, try checking out some of these series and catching up with popular culture you may have fallen behind on. Holidays can be times for self-growth, not just for growing your waistline.
Amy Poehler developed comedy duo Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson’s popular webseries into a TV format. Like the ever-popular Girls, this series takes a hilarious look at the mishaps of two 20-something girls in a big city. Unlike Girls, its stars are far less polished and their witty comebacks have that familiar ring of being slightly mistimed (for comedic purposes). They’re the stoner friends you hear about who are still being big kids. Chances are it’ll make you feel better about your own life, while also making you laugh till you cry at situations you’ve found yourself in before.
Because everyone still loves cartoons and when it comes to entertaining kids during the holidays, sometimes it is simpler to stop fighting the inevitable. While weird enough to keep kids of most ages amused, Fin and Jake’s adventures also have plenty of messages for adults. Like bite size Pixar films, there’s a moral to most tales and in your likely slightly inebriated state, their world will seem to make a lot of sense while also being really funny.
Everyone’s been talking about this show’s strong female characters, the plot twists, and high death rate. If you haven’t seen it yet, now is the perfect time to start. Just don’t do what I did and start watching it with your Dad. Unless you have a Dad who is down for watching graphic sex scenes with you, in which case, watch away!
David Attenborough on BBC iPlayer
David’s dulcet tones have lulled many of us to sleep as children and there’s something inherently comforting about his descriptions of animals and nature. There’s a vast back catalogue of his documentaries on iPlayer to choose from, which are accessible through proxy websites if you’re not in the UK (according to the web fairies). You’d be hard pressed to find someone who doesn’t like Sir David so spare the battle for the remote control until your opponents are incapacitated and you can watch The Snowman to your heart’s content.
Somewhat like The Office but with a female protagonist, this makes perfect viewing for those who miss shows like Arrested Development. The show centres on a mid-level state bureaucrat played by Amy Poehler, whose career is often stymied but always funny to watch. Easy going fun with characters that match up to stereotypical dysfunctional family members, watch it to decide who the ‘Jerry’ in your family is.
This gripping political drama is the first TV series from Kevin Spacey. Hailed as the new West Wing, it is well worth watching if you’re into power plays and intrigue, although be warned it may leave you so caught up in the world of politics that the seating arrangements and who gets the final sausage wrapped in bacon takes on a whole new hidden meaning.