The Best Shows To Watch When You’re Feeling Anxious

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Curb Your Enthusiasm


HBO

Larry David in Curb Your Enthusiasm.

Though I’ve used the infamous Larry David is conflicted GIF many times before; I only started watching Curb Your Enthusiasm in earnest this year. I don’t really know what prompted it; maybe it was seeing Larry David on the cover of GQ or a friend’s offhand mention of an episode in which Jeff Garlin gets confused for Harvey Weinstein at a party. Whatever the reason, I’m finding it really comforting right now. There’s something about watching an old rich white man fuss over the indignity of having Ted Danson show up unannounced on his private jet that feels so cathartic at the moment. What a charmed life! Imagine if your biggest concern is making sure you get seated in the “hot section” of a restaurant. This current season has been excellent, but I’ve also been watching older episodes, using this nifty Vulture list of the best Curb episodes ever as my guide. (“The Ski Lift” should be number one.) It’s a show that feels defiantly politically incorrect in ways that can be maddening, and I won’t attempt to justify its funniness for you if it’s not your cup of tea. But for now I’m sticking with it because it’s pretty, pretty, prettay good. —Tomi Obaro


Where it’s streaming: HBO Now and HBO Go

Gilmore Girls


Netflix / Via screenshot

Alexis Bledel and Lauren Graham in Gilmore Girls.

The BuzzFeed brand loves Gilmore Girls, but I’d never considered revisiting it until a few months ago. I’d watched the first season when it aired and vaguely remembered liking it, and recently decided it was time to try something that wasn’t Frasier or The Office. So I pressed play and didn’t stop watching for the next five hours. I couldn’t stop. Every day. When I wasn’t watching it, I was thinking about it. I was live-slacking documented Gilmore Girls ride-or-die Krystie Yandoli. Don’t get me wrong: The politics do not hold up. Lorelai and Rory just…hate fat people (conveniently ignoring the fact that Lorelai’s best friend is fat). The toxic masculinity is off the charts. There’s an entire scene about how disgusting a woman breastfeeding in public is. Rory’s best friend, Lane, is Korean, but man does she hate being Korean. In general, I think we as a culture are past feeling sorry for rich people. (But then again — maybe not???) And yet, I crave it. I’m charmed by these wackadoos. I stan Paris. I wish Richard were my grandfather. Much to my disappointment, I’m attracted to Logan. And Luke. And Jess. I’m not proud. But right now, all I’m thinking about is when I can watch the next episode. —Arianna Rebolini


Where it’s streaming: Netflix and Amazon Video (seasons are available for rent)

Law & Order: SVU


Courtesy of Hulu

When the end of the world comes — which is certainly what this current moment feels like it’s hurtling toward — there’s only one show that I want playing in an incessant loop as my brain slowly leaks out of my ears and my body disintegrates. The Law & Order franchise is perfect by any measure (I’m pretending Criminal Intent never happened), but Special Victims Unit has a special place in my unit (heart, I mean heart). After 21 seasons, it’s not like the show provides any real surprises or new thrills, or anything remotely close to a unique plotline, but that’s kind of the point. In the world of SVU, nothing that happens has any real consequences. It’s still trauma porn — Olivia has been kidnapped how many times at this point??? — but next week, everything mostly starts from scratch: a new case, a refreshed sense of righteousness, everyone in a new, crisp blouse and black boots with a heel that’s a perfectly reasonable height. When I’m sad, I don’t seek comedy anymore because it feels like I’m trying too hard to fix something that can’t be fixed. Instead, I gravitate toward a place where bad things happen all the time, but there are always people trying to help. Sometimes they succeed, but usually they don’t. No matter what, they do it all over again next week. There’s always hope for a better tomorrow. —Scaachi Koul


Where it’s streaming: Hulu and Amazon Prime

The Golden Girls


Hulu / Via screenshot

Betty White and Bea Arthur in The Golden Girls.

I began watching The Golden Girls at the top of the year because it was the one show that provided me with comfort after going through a bad breakup at the end of 2019. Growing up, it was a show I’d occasionally watch with my mother — who has seen every episode — and perhaps through some sort of osmosis, I’d familiarized myself enough with the dominant characteristics of the four lead actors. Dorothy’s ornery disposition and deadpan humor never gets old; Blanche’s sexual escapades are thrilling to witness; Rose’s ridiculous stories about her hometown, St. Olaf, are always confounding and hilarious; and Sophia, the oldest of the iconic geriatric crew, delivers sharp-tongued critiques of all of ladies in a way that’s always surprising coming from such a tiny person. Watching the show as a millennial lets me daydream about things that I may never experience — like retirement! I’m now on Season 4 and the show — with a few exceptions — still holds up. So while we’re all practicing social distancing, why not cozy up on the couch with a slice of cheesecake and have a few laughs with some old friends? —Michael Blackmon


Where it’s streaming: Hulu

On My Block


Courtesy Of Netflix

The stars of On My Block.

I’ve loved On My Block since the first season dropped on Netflix in March 2018 — it’s funny, the characters are dynamic, and the show tackles important issues like gun violence, gangs, friendship, family, and love, all through the lens of teenagers growing up in the fictional inner-city Los Angeles neighborhood of Freeridge. Season 3 started streaming on Netflix on Wednesday, which a lot of people may have missed in the middle of a chaotic news week. Still the latest installment of On My Block is the perfect distraction from everything else that’s going on right now. Sure, the show addresses some more serious topics and dips into the dramedy category with storylines here and there, but Ruby (Jason Genao), Jasmine (Jessica Marie Garcia), Jamal (Brett Gray), Monse (Sierra Capri), and Caesar (Diego Tinoco) are all laugh-out-loud funny. At the end of the day, they’re just high schoolers on their own quests to find themselves and discover how their evolving friendships fit into each other’s lives, all while getting into some standard teenage shenanigans. On My Block definitely deserves your attention; it sure has mine. —Krystie Yandoli


Where it’s streaming: Netflix

The Outsider


Bob Mahoney / HBO

Ben Mendelsohn and Cynthia Erivo in The Outsider.

I am not a horror movie person. I have never read a Stephen King novel. But one Sunday night, when my partner and I couldn’t choose anything else, I begrudgingly agreed to watch the first episode of The Outsider. The show follows a group of police and private investigators (including Ben Mendelsohn, better known as the creepy guy from Bloodline, and Cynthia Erivo, who’s just fantastic) as they attempt to figure out who (or, because this is Stephen King, what) brutally murdered a young child in a seemingly peaceful small town. The first three episodes are some of the most gripping episodes of television I’ve ever seen. The rest of it is just fine, but that was OK with me: What I’m looking for right now isn’t the best television of my life, it’s the most distracting and immersive. And watching The Outsider, especially in binge form, is just that. —Anne Helen Petersen

Where it’s streaming: HBO Now and HBO Go

Mad Men


Courtesy of Netflix / Via screenshot

Jon Hamm in the last season of Mad Men.

I realize that Mad Men came out in 2007, but if you would like to shut off your brain while the coronavirus continues to march on, might I humbly suggest you fast-forward to Season 7 and bask in the glory of Don Draper slowly deciding to fuck it all? By the final season, which was split over 14 episodes that aired in 2014 and 2015, the fantasy is over, and Don is a dissatisfied alcoholic who only has a couple steps left in him to hit total rock bottom. His ex-wife Betty (January Jones) is dying (sorry for spoilers!) and almost-ex-wife Megan’s (Jessica Paré) Hollywood dreams are floundering, and everyone at whatever is left of Sterling Cooper is in their own form of freefall. What I mean to say is the 1970s has not only NOT brought these people the happiness they have all been striving for, but they’re all incredibly disappointed because of the bullshit they bought into. But! By the finale of the entire series, these characters who have thoroughly been put through the ringer finally find some semblance of peace, whether it’s the life they had hoped for or not. So why not sit back, relax, and watch a deeply melancholy Don Draper search for meaning and maybe even find it while the world is on fire. I promise it will soothe you! —Karolina Waclawiak


Where it’s streaming: Netflix and Amazon Video (seasons are available to rent)






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