Are you in a mood? Like, literally any mood? Don’t worry, Sam Brooks has you covered with something to cater to (or escape from) some very specific moods.
There are so many great shows out there you could spend your time watching… but are you in the right mood for any of them? Your mood determines how much you get out of a TV show more than the actual quality of that TV show does, or so says my unscientific analysis. Sure, War and Peace is great, but if you’re in the mood to watch RuPaul’s Drag Race, you’re probably going to find this searing investigation of 19th-century Russia to be sorely lacking in wigs and lip-syncing.
In the aid of matching you up with the television you want to watch, I’ve prepared some television choices for some very specific moods. These are all great shows in their own right, so I’d suggest trying them out regardless, but I’ve picked moods I think they’re just perfect for. Think of them like a wine pairing, if wine pairings were for normal people and not people who don’t just drink the cheapest wine on the menu. Don’t worry, I know your vibe.
Without further ado, here are some moods, and here are some shows.
For when you want to learn how to be a decent person: King of the Hill
King of the Hill is one of the most enduring shows of the late 90s/early 2000s for a reason: it has a whole lot of heart and a solid moral compass. Not only does it skewer small-town America, it makes sure the Hills are learning how to be good people and also teaching us something along the way. Also look at this title sequence: social distancing at its finest.
For when you miss Zach Braff: Scrubs
It’s a very specific emotion, but there are a few of us who truly fell in love with Zach Braff and the endless heights his boofy hair seemed to rise to on this show. There are also a few of us who fell in love with Garden State, but it’s a lot harder to own up to that now. Scrubs was his heyday, and it’s the kind of gooey, heartfelt comedy that will have you reaching for the feelings. There’s still one Dashboard Confessional (remember the 00s???) song cue that I think about all the time. Hold out for it, y’all. It’s worth it.
For when you feel like watching two comic geniuses: Mom
Now, hear me out: a show about a mess of a woman who moves in with her equally messy mother might not sound like the height of comedy. But what if I told you that the former woman was played by Anna Faris (underrated, truly) and the latter woman was played by Academy Award-winner Allison Janney (exactly rated, really)? Yeah. Mom’s been running for seven seasons (with an eighth already confirmed) and it shows no sign of slowing down. Not only are Faris and Janney comic geniuses, they also bring a lot of heart to their relationship. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll learn to respect your comedic betters.
For when you want to feel smart but also laugh: Community
Before every comedy seemed to want to break the specific mould it was baked in, Community was doing high-concept genre episodes – the paintball episode, the one that’s a zombie movie, the Ocean’s 11 one – and doing them insanely well. If you want to learn everything you need to know about TV and film genre history in quick, 22-minute bites, then look no further than Community. Bonus point: it’s hella funny while it does it.
For when you’re feeling nostalgic: Freaks and Geeks
Not just nostalgic for the era that Freaks and Geeks expertly depicts, the 80s, but nostalgic for the era when Freaks and Geeks actually came out in: The late 90s. Remember when zoom was a noise your car made, rather than a thing you did in a professional work capacity? Remember when your phone line would scream at you for trying to connect to the internet? It was the worst of times, it was the… fine of times, really. Anyway, Freaks and Geeks is great, and it’s a big spoonful of two kinds of nostalgia. Like Neapolitan ice cream missing the yuck flavour.
For when you have no idea what you’re feeling and no interest in finding out: Scream Queens
You know that gif of Emma Roberts turning around and saying, “Surprise, bitch!”? That’s basically Scream Queens in a nutshell. If you want to have a wild, fun, inexplicable time for a few hours, look no further than the bizarre log flume of a show that is Scream Queens. It’s a satirical slasher series (think Scream, sorta) that follows a sorority plagued by a serial killer dressed up like their college mascot. It’s maybe the wildest thing that Ryan Murphy has ever put to screen, which is saying something!
For when you want to feel like a true comedy nerd: Kids in the Hall
If you haven’t heard of Kids in the Hall, I wouldn’t blame you. While it started up in the same era as Saturday Night Live and was part of that particular sketch comedy boom, it’s never reached the same level of worldwide fame. Despite that, this late 80s Canadian sketch show has attained near-legendary status among comedy fans for its consistent excellence and out-there weirdness. I can confirm this: it’s aged incredibly well, and deserves the hype. Check it out, you won’t be disappointed.
For when you miss Joey but have seen all of Friends: Episodes
Matt LeBlanc was the secret weapon of Friends. He was always game for some of the dumber jokes, and always brightened up a scene. He committed to whatever the bit was, be it “Joey doesn’t share food!” or even that weird Joey/Rachel romance we don’t speak of any more. (On that note, the less said of Joey, the spin-off/sequel to Friends, the better.)
Episodes finds LeBlanc playing a lightly fictionalised version of himself, and it’s his best work yet. The show follows a British couple remaking their hit sitcom in Hollywood, and what happens when they cast LeBlanc. Hilarity predictably ensues.
For when you can’t be bovvered: The Catherine Tate Show
Look, some of these are just obvious.
For when you want to go on a weird and wonderful journey through dark suburbia without leaving your house: Weeds
What happens when your everyday suburban mum decides to get into the weed-growing business? Weeds finds out and follows that premise to a truly ridiculous, entertaining conclusion. What starts off as a high-cap comedy ends up as a searing critique of suburbia, and all the weird darknesses hiding underneath it. Remember this, guys: backyards are just another place to bury a body. Stay safe out there, lock your doors.
You can watch all of these shows plus many more on TVNZ OnDemand.
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