Does this sound familiar? Ten years after college, you’re only just now seeing the sun crest on the horizon that is the end of your student loan debt. You’re still renting, and you probably live with someone else – and not in a mega-sized apartment like they do in all the sitcoms, but in a cramped and aging two-bedroom in an at best boring neighborhood, at worst, a dodgy one.
You are approaching 30, or past 30, and are still swiping on dating apps every other Friday night, wondering if marriage is actually a thing anymore or if you should just go out with the guy who didn’t even bother to ask you a question about yourself before inviting you out for drinks past 10 p.m., which is presumably when he is done with his post-day drinking nap-a-thon.
You really want to eat better, but cooking requires time and money, and you have little of both.
Every time you attempt to watch the news you’re confronted with a handful of people, who all look the same, shouting at each other about the current events that your high school reading taught you should be the warning signs of an encroaching dystopian society.
Listen, it’s tough out there for a Millennial. So do as I do – when you get home to rest your weary haunches, don’t turn on the news. Avoid watching something that mirrors our current reality. Instead, view something refreshingly escapist. Pretend, perhaps, you are from another era. Or you live in another place. May I recommend:
Although now over after five glorious seasons, you can still watch re-runs of this charming HGTV reality show about a lovable couple with a zillion children who help people find fixer uppers and turn them into their dream homes. Shot in Waco, Texas, Chip and Joanna Gaines are typically able to help folks buy homes and turn them into cavernous dream castles (by Southern California standards) for fewer than $300,000. It’s enough to make a Millennial consider packing up and moving. Sure, there might be the occasional tornado, and the bugs might be bigger, but hey – you might actually be able to afford your own house. All you have to do is move – even if for now it’s just in your mind’s eye.
Call The Midwife
If “This Is Us” is your jam because you revel in the emotional catharsis of crying over a bunch of fictional people going through alternately touching and trying situations, I highly recommend this BBC hit series. Flown in from across the pond and available on PBS, “Call The Midwife” offers all the sweet tears “This Is Us” is known for, but without the bitter taste of reality. Set in post-war England, the show follows trained midwives – a mixture of nuns and young professional women – tasked with caring for the pregnant women of a small urban port town. Sit back and watch the trials and tribulations of strong woman of all ages helping along the miracle of life – but without the modern backdrop most dramas offer today, this show allows you to indulge in the tempting nostalgia of the 1950s AND imagine what it would be like to have free health care.
I am only a few episodes into this show, but I am confident enough in it to recommend it (and so is the rest of the Internet – look it up). Watching Hulu’s “Pen15” is like opening up my middle school scrapbooks (of which yes, there are multiple) and having intense late-90s/early 2000s flashbacks. If you’d rather reminisce about the problems of yesteryear and youth, steeped in Britney Spears and choker necklaces and butterfly clips and awkward growth spurts and bad haircuts, this is the series for you. I am one of those people who has trouble watching shows that involve a lot of cringe-worthy embarrassing moments, but this show is so well-written and such a nostalgic love letter to the friendships of youth that I’m able to get past my empathetic embarrassment syndrome.
If you haven’t caught on, here it is plain and simple: I love BBC programming. This comedic gem is finally available on Amazon Prime, and has been on Hulu for a few years now. A huge hit abroad but little known in America, “Miranda” is the kind of sitcom that will have you ungraciously snorting with laughter, gasping at unthinkably slapstick stunts, and aw-ing over sweet romantic gestures. It is, by all accounts, solidly British in its humor. For Millennials, it’s a great fantasy trip from reality. Miranda owns a joke shop and the apartment above it, yet somehow is not broke despite making what appears to be only the occasional sale. She is too interested in pursuing her own antics and her adorable friend Gary to pay customers – or the realities of adulthood in general – much mind. Self-deprecating in her admitted oafishness, Miranda is what we wish we could be in daydreams: totally herself and loved for it, comfortable and happy. And she’ll make you laugh.
The Handmaid’s Tale
Last week I sheepishly admitted to my book club that I do not watch “Game of Thrones” because I just can’t deal with the stress. When I get home, I want to relax – not brace myself for an hour and a half of bloodshed and backstabbing. Yet, I await the premiere of Season 3 of “The Handmaid’s Tale,” one of the darkest shows out there, with the patience of a four-year-old whose mom is in the bathroom. Why am I so pumped to settle onto my couch with my trustee feline friend and a glass of wine to endure the emotional hurdles of a fascist society riddled with inhumanity and teetering on the edge of catastrophe? Well, because it’s so much worse than what’s going on in our own world right now. At least, worse than what’s happening in America, anyway. Sure, we’ve got mass shooters and Neo-Nazis. But we’re not all forced to wear uniforms, join a caste system and completely lose all agency over ourselves and our government. And it will never get that bad. I can rejoice in that. Right? RIGHT?
Admittedly, many of these shows are female-focused. I make no apologies for this. Remember, guys – the majority of shows have been about you for decades. Watch something about us, for a change. You might like it.