Being alive continues to be…a challenge. Too much heartbreak, too much paperwork. We turn to comfort TV for a relatively safe way to cope. Good for us! This is healthier than doing drugs or crimes (probably.)
Streaming services allow for a kind of self-administered mental morphine drip, through comfort shows. You know classic comfort TV: The Office. Friends. Gilmore Girls. Parks and Recreation. Maybe you rewatch critically-acclaimed comfort comedies like Fleabag, Insecure, 30 Rock, or Ted Lasso. Or maybe you stick to the classics: Seinfeld, The Nanny, Sex and the City, and Golden Girls. But at a certain point, rewatching shows you love is like trying to wring flavor out of the same piece of gum. (See instead: The recommendation below for Michaela Coel’s genius 2015 comedy, Chewing Gum.)
I’m not here to lecture you about watching less comfort TV. I’m here to try to cajole you into enjoying the comfort TV you watch more. There are so many undiscovered, underrated delights just awaiting you. “You took me by the hand/Made me a man/That one night/You made everything alright.” If you just sang those lyrics from the “Dinner Party” episode of The Office to yourself, you need a change. (See instead: The recommendation below for The Other Two, one of the funniest and most underrated comedies on TV.)
People can do hard things! Lady Gaga said that. And even though Gaga was speaking about how to exercise one’s moral compass through acts of kindness, I believe this can also be applied to watching a greater variety of TV comedies. Stretch yourself. Expand your horizons, without actually going outside or anything. You can still identify as a Samantha or Team Jess. But like a person who pries herself off the couch after 12 hours to change into a fresh pair of pajamas and get back on the couch, try switching one thing up, and see if it doesn’t feel good.
Comfort TV comedies to watch if you have…HBO Max
Starstruck. It’s hard to overstate how enjoyable Starstruck is. I sat down to watch 10 minutes of the first episode and I did not get up until I was almost done with the series. Hot celebrity men should fall for smart, funny, not-famous women more often—such is the plot of the charm-packed Starstruck, created by comedian Rose Matafeo, who also stars. It’s like Notting Hill, except in the 2020s, and Matafeo’s character compares her relationship with a movie star to “one of those weird animal friendship shows where you see a Labrador and a hedgehog who are friends.” It’s superb.