Thank God for Netflix

I’m in the middle of my fifth (non-consecutive) week at home. With a small baby. In the dead of winter. Needless to say–except for when we daily take our lives in our hands to walk the dog–we aren’t getting out much.

Please come visit me. I will feed you and ply you with booze.

In the meantime, TGFN!

So, what are we watching, and how does it stack up? Here’s a rundown:

Friends (finished): When we were in the hospital waiting for the Fustible to be born and then to be discharged, we were exposed to approximately 72 continuous hours of daytime TV, the least painful of which was hours and hours and hours of back-to-back friends on TBS and Nick at Nite. While we waited, they were, well, our friends and companions round the clock.

On our first night home, seeking some shred of normalcy and familiarity, we fired up the pilot. And it ran pretty much continuously for the next two and a half weeks.

Friends is not as good as your junior high self remembers.

While there are some amazing lines–you already know them all, though–90% of the time the writers go for the cheapest possible joke. It’s strikingly homophobic and startlingly white, white, white. Phoebe is always amazing to watch, and Joey has more to him than I ever remembered….but everyone else is just awful. Tom Selleck as Richard is the third most likable character in the entire series.

It’s comforting, though, and provided a soothing, entertaining, mindless background while we hovered between waking and sleeping those first couple of weeks. I have no desire to watch any Friends again for a very long time, but in that moment, it fit the bill.

Broadchurch (finished): A moody mystery about a young boy found dead in an English resort town. Starring David Tennant who we all know and Olivia Colman who perhaps we don’t (at least I didn’t). Really good, except about halfway through, I thought, “Ugh, I hope that’s not the killer. Come on!” And it was. As the episodes marched on, the foreshadowing got really heavy-handed. Still, very good. Only Season 1 is on Netflix so far. Eight episodes, watchable in a day or, more reasonably, in a weekend. Will watch the next season(s), when they become available.

This one brought me down, though, and left me low. More than I even realized until it was over.

The National Parks: America’s Best Idea (abandoned): LOL. Made Sam start one episode of this with me when I felt like my brain was melting and decided we needed to watch something enriching. We all fell asleep in 10 minutes and never tried again.

Gilmore Girls (ongoing): We actually started GG back in the fall, when it got me through a very, very bad hangover. And then, like the whisky itself, I couldn’t take any more of it for a few….months. We’ve just started up again, but usually only watch one or two at a time, when we’re both home.

It’s a trip to watch Parenthood and Gilmore Girls in parallel, seeing Lauren Graham’s face mutate as her schtick remains the same (Ugh, Ray Romano, such a step down from Scott Patterson!). It’s almost as disconcerting watching Melissa McCarthy as Sookie.

Kelly Bishop as Emily Gilmore is the very best thing in the show, followed closely by everything Luke does. The main problem with the show is, well, the unwatchable Rory. UGH. Still, will obviously continue to watch.

Bob’s Burgers (finished): Started before the holidays. Our go-to for several weeks when we wanted a half hour rather than an hour diversion. Normally I am pretty lukewarm on animated shows. The Simpsons is (at least in its golden years), of course, in a class all its own but I’ve never watched it in any organized way. My tolerance for Family Guy, South Park, etc. has always been very low. Bob’s Burgers is much more to my liking. Makes me laugh out loud at least once or twice per episode, which is more than I can say for Friends. Goofy brother Gene is my favorite. Recommended.

The Fall (finished): More moody murder mysteries, set in Belfast this time. Starring Gillian Anderson and Christian Grey, AKA Jamie Dornan. In this case, the killer is known from the start so the suspense is all to do with whether they’ll nail the guy. The ending is a bit ambiguous, which I liked. Other loose ends in the storyline (a whole subplot that seemed to just be abandoned? Or maybe I just missed something), less so.

Some really interesting visual juxtaposition of things going on simultaneously in different places, though this was executed so consistently that by the end it started to feel a bit formulaic.

A co-worker said he gave up on it because the killer didn’t seem scary, and I sort of agree. He was smart, but not all that smart. Whenever he had a leg up on the cops, it was by luck or accident, not design.

Loved watching the lead detective, played by Anderson, a woman under the microscope in a high profile position and obsessed with keeping up appearances. So many silk blouses!

The Fall was hard to watch with distractions at home, because it’s slow-paced, quiet, and depends a lot on watching people’s expressions and what they do. If you have to leave the room (or even look away for more than a moment!) or are trying to follow along from the kitchen while washing dishes, you might as well start the episode over, which I had to do several times.

Chopped (finished): How did I not know until this week that Chopped is the very best competitive cooking show? It has everything! It’s fun, it’s funny, it’s fast-paced, it has weird food products. There is rivalry but it’s not ugly. Host Ted Allen has personality, but appropriately lets the contestants have the spotlight. They manage to get through three rounds of elimination and crown a champion in 40 minutes.

Caught the Fustible watching this one. Oh good, we’ve created a reality tv junkie. I was wondering when we’d have to stop having the TV on 24/7–or at least pay close attention to our programming. Apparently 6 weeks is the cutoff. Crud.

We cruised through this (the Netflix “collection” has only about 20 episodes). I wish there was more of it. We haven’t found anything comparable that we like as much.

M*A*S*H (attempted): I have never seen an episode of M*A*S*H. Correction: I have now seen one episode of M*A*S*H. Meh.

Cutthroat Kitchen (abandoned): Despite its name, Cutthroat Kitchen is not nearly as much fun to watch as Chopped (there’s too much game and not enough cooking) and Alton Brown is a lesser host than Ted Allen. We watched half an episode and the contestants had not even *started* to cook a single dish. Boring!

The Mortified Sessions (finished): Interviews with celebrities about their awkward childhoods. Funny, surprisingly moving. Delightful! Wish there was more available.

Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries (started the day before yesterday…will finish by the end of the week….or maybe the end of the day): This took a little while to grow on me…after watching so much dark and slow-burning drama, it felt too silly and forced at first. But in fact, it is possibly the perfect thing to have on. It’s fun, it’s interesting, there’s enough exposition and dialogue to follow by listening even if you have to look or step away. The stories have enough going on that you care to see how they turn out, but aren’t so complicated that you’re lost if you miss a minute. And Inspector Jack Robinson grows on one.

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The Fustible likes the music. And the clothes! The HATS!

Just the right formula for what we need this week.

So. Once I’ve seen Miss Phryne Fisher through to the end of the line, what should I watch?

Oh lord, looking at all of this written out is somehow both impressive and deeply depressing. Maybe I’ll go try to cook something. Naturally, the babe will choose this moment to wake up and require feeding, changing, and a staring contest.

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