What to Watch After a Breakup (Because It's Not the Right Time for "Oz" on DVD)

There needs to be more going on than hawt sexxors and true luv. BORING.

Aug 9, 2011 at 3:02pm | Leave a comment

Lately I’ve spent ... well, some time on the couch watching videos. I know I’m supposed to exercise and socialize and take up a hobby and redecorate and MOA or whatever. And I will! After I find my pants.

And besides, televised entertainment is like my friend. It can take your mind out of the loop of distorted compulsive thinking patterns, and it can be fantastically cathartic. You don’t have to impress televised entertainment. It loves you unconditionally.

But even TV love can be hard to find. Here at my house, we have cable and no Netflix, so I’m banking on the Web and an actual brick-and-mortar video store that I love and want to live forever. And while I’m doing well, I could use a few suggestions.

I like my breakup viewing to have the following characteristics: A high absorption factor. I want to get totally sucked in to that stuff. I want to be surprised by the end of a disc.

People need to kick some ass and be awesome. Not in a Chuck Norris way, exactly. Quietly uplifting is okay. Breakups can bring a person down on the whole human race. The characters don’t have to be perfect but they should be redeemable.

There needs to be more going on than hawt sexxors and true luv. BORING.

It can be challenging but should not induce abject panic. This was the criterion Oz failed, at least for me. I couldn’t make it through the first episode without huddling in the corner.

After my divorce I watched "Battlestar Galactica," which was kind of perfect. It got challenging for me when Michelle Forbes showed up with her uncompromising military discipline and complicated bangs, but I held on until the end. (On the ending: Meh.)

So far this time, the following entertainments have brought me particular comfort.

“Poison Arrow” by ABC

Don’t settle for the YouTube of Martin Fry in his shiny suit on Top of the Pops. Go for the music video of Martin Fry quite literally and unselfconsciously acting out the emotion of the lyrics, which people did then, like this:

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(You may have additional viewing options if you are situated in Europe, which my ass is not.)

If someone as fabulous as Martin Fry can get dumped, anyone can. (Some say “even Halle Berry,” but I’m sticking with Martin Fry.) He’s a wonderful avatar for heartbreak, fancily indignant but with real pain.

"Nurse Jackie"

Let Edie Falco teach you about coping. I just started this show, but I like almost everything about it. I like the punchy pace and quick viewing time. I like the music by Wendy and Lisa. I like it when stuffy hospital administrator Anna Deavere Smith gets punked with foundling babies and Percocet in her coffee. And I love the comic pairing of these two people.

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"Forgetting Sarah Marshall"


This DVD sat on my countertop for a few days while I fretted about the Judd Apatow connection. I don’t want to be a hater, but without the buffering action of Paul Feig, I find the jovial douchebaggery of his oeuvre hard to digest. I started the movie with a pickle-sucking grimace and wound up utterly charmed by it, not because Jason Segel is naked but because he is vulnerable, yet not pitiful. He makes the stupid mistakes people make when they are hurt inside, such as crashing into Russell Brand on a surfboard, but he’s still worthy of love and capable of growth.

And so are you, dammit. If you want to make a Dracula musical with Henson puppets, that’s OK with me.