Pop Culture in a Pandemic

The last… few weeks… month… year… have been pretty terrible for everyone. For self-care reasons, I’m binging more entertainment than usual. (I already work from home and usually just have cable news on during the day, but sometimes you just have to check out.) So I thought it might be fun to share some of what I’ve been binging. Feel free to share what’s getting you through in the comments.

First, a podcast rec! Today, I binged Hall of Shame, a podcast on which two funny ladies talk about sports scandals. Definitely recommended if you, like me, miss sports.

On TV, I’ve been watching the current season of Brooklyn Nine-Nine, which is still hilarious. And I think my favorite new show is Zoey’s Imaginary Playlist, which manages to combine humor, heart, and big musical numbers into a pretty entertaining hour of television. My one niggle is that there’s a love triangle, which is not my favorite trope. (And I have Very Strong Feelings about which guy Zoey should pick!) If you haven’t seen it, the premise is basically that after an accident, Zoey can hear people’s thoughts in the form of pop songs, often with accompanying choreographed dance numbers. Which sounds goofy, but Zoey works out pretty quickly that part of this new “power” is that she has to help the people who sing to her, and some of them have pretty difficult problems.

On Netflix, I watched all of Sex Education over two weekends and loved it. (And am dying for the next season, they need to get on that.) This show has a lot of nudity for a show about teenagers, but maybe that’s the prudish American in me talking. If you haven’t seen it, the premise is that Otis is an awkward teenage boy whose mother is a sex therapist, played by Gillian Anderson! Enough of her work has rubbed off on Otis that his crush Maeve talks him into setting up a business at school wherein Otis—despite having zero sexual experience himself—advises his classmates about their sex problems. Meanwhile, Otis’s best friend Eric is an out-and-proud gay kid from a very conservative family who, in the first season, is not so happy when Otis blows him off to spend more time with Maeve. Maeve is a “bad girl” but it turns out her family is The Worst and she’s actually really smart. There’s Adam, the obligatory psychotic jackass, which, if you’ve watched Veronica Mars, you will correctly surmise means there is more to his character than just a bully. There’s Jackson, the school’s head boy, the classic popular jock who is secretly buckling under the pressure his moms put on him. The rest of the supporting cast is also great. (Also, I was tickled to see Jim Howick playing one of the teachers. He’s a regular on a British kids show called Horrible Histories that I watched all of last year, because it’s basically a sketch comedy show about history, and what’s not to like about that? A lot of potty humor, though, so your mileage may vary with that.)

I’m watching some reality shows, too. I thought Next in Fashion on Netflix was okay. Maybe a little slow. It has the Great British Bake Off element of all of the contestants basically being nice people who get along, but it otherwise felt a little like a low-rent Project Runway. (I’m looking forward to the Heidi Klum/Tim Gunn show on Amazon but haven’t gotten there yet.) And, look, I’m watching The Masked Singer, which is weird and dumb, and I don’t even care.

Also, this season of RuPaul’s Drag Race is pretty stellar. This was maybe my favorite runway ever:

And I’ve of course been reading. I’m making my way through a box of old historical romances a friend sent me. (Today, Box 2 arrived, and it’s a lot of Judith McNaught and Julie Garwood, so it’s about to get very Old Skool around here.)

I hope you and yours are healthy and safe and getting through this all right. What are you reading/watching/listening to for distractions?