From Mav: This started out being a different kind of episode. A while back Katya pitched the idea to talk about “Feel Good TV.” She can give more details but the short side of it is that I think she wanted to talk about the kinds of shows you watch to make you feel good about yourself. That is, not the kinds of stuff that makes you anxious or drama or even necessarily makes you think. If I understood her right, she wanted to talk about TV that just makes you smile. This makes sense if you know Katya or have ever heard her on the show. She’s all about the whimsy. At least that’s what she claimed. Really it was totally all lies and she just wanted an excuse to make us spend a whole episode talking about the Great British Bake-Off. Really, that would have probably been fine.
But then we ended up in a global pandemic. The kinds of places that one goes for fun… stopped being places. And pop culture sort of… slowed to a crawl. We don’t have movies anymore. That’s just not a thing. So we all sit at home and watch TV… except TV is increasingly slowing down too. A lot of the shows that were on the air at the time the pandemic started had abbreviated seasons because they couldn’t film their final episodes. Others finished out but haven’t been able to start production on new stuff. There’s increasingly less and less new content. There’s some… of course. But we’re in this state where TV is almost starting to become… precious? Maybe… or maybe we’re not. Maybe we’re in a state where people are just willing to watch anything. I’m not sure… and I want to know.
I’m reminded of the old thought experiment… if you were trapped on a desert island and you could only bring five TV shows with you to watch over and over again. What would you bring? Or is that a false analogy to our current situation? Are you binging your favorite shows over and over (Hey, let’s watch the Office all the way through for the 48th time) or are you just experimenting with new stuff… or old stuff that you never thought you’d watch but now you suddenly have the time (Ok fine, why not… let’s give Cop Rock a chance!). Have you discovered any gems? What makes a show comforting to watch at a time like this anyway? Is it the comfort of nostalgia? The being able to forget the world? The warm fuzzies of people making baked goods? Is it about learning things new things? Or is it about turning off your brain for an hour or seven and watching something mindless. Is it about feeling good about yourself by watching good people or do you watch awful people where you feel better about yourself by comparison (Look, people watched Tiger King for some reason)? Let us know your thoughts.