My Favorite Comfort TV Shows -- Tell Us Yours, Too

What's the last TV show you got hopelessly addicted to?
Publish date:
September 28, 2013

I've never seen "Breaking Bad."

There, I said it.

For a television addict like myself, the response from friends to this statement ranges from, "YOU would love it so much! You have to watch it!" to, "OH MY GOD, GET OVER YOURSELF AND GET TO YOUR NETFLIX RIGHT NOW AND RECTIFY THIS EGREGIOUS CULTURAL ERROR."

I have no doubt that this show will change my life, but in all honesty I'm hesitant to start a new, addictive show right now.

You see, when I get sucked into a show, I REALLY get sucked into a show, and with life being increasingly hectic right now, and many trips on the horizon, I'm afraid I'll end up a sloppy, sleep-deprived mess if I drink the "Breaking Bad" Kool-Aid and like it.

When I discovered "Dexter" a few years ago, already several seasons running, I was almost useless for a week.

The hours between work were spent melding with my couch, surrounded by food, compulsively watching episodes until 3 a.m. (or later) every night. When I ran out of seasons on Netflix, I rabidly sought out DVDs of the following seasons for mass consumption.

The foolish coworkers who revealed to me that they, too, enjoyed "Dexter" were treated to a giddy barrage of best moments and, "OMG I love this character because."

I will always be grateful to my best friend, another television minion, for enthusiastically rehashing past seasons with me over red wine and dessert. She nodded and gushed, and patiently joined in my excitement the way a more experienced friend might fan the flames of a more virginal friend's first romance.

I'd like to say this was an isolated incident, but I get so hooked on what my "TV friends" are doing, I actually catch myself wondering, "What would Liz Lemon/Debra Morgan/Jean-Luc Picard do in this situation?" I didn't say this was healthy.

Television is delicious escapism for me.

With my brain frantically running on all cylinders throughout the day, my stories are one of the few times I turn off and get absorbed in something other than the worries in my life.

And like that reliable pair of pants that seems to magically fit you no matter how much weight you lose or gain, there are some television shows that I always return to, to lift my spirits and ease my weary soul.

So I offer you a glimpse into my Tivo, Netflix on Demand, and Amazon Video Library. Maybe we have some friends in common.

Arrested Development

What makes you feel more smart and included than being on the inside of a three-season (four if you include the Netflix season, which I'm still on the fence on) inside joke?

Whether it's "Motherboy XXX," being victim to a "douche chill," or "making a huge mistake," the Bluths have a way of making me feel a little less stupid in my daily dealings. This is one of those few shows that, at its best, can get funnier with every watching. Even at it's worst (I was not a huge fan of the Maggie Lizer episodes, I might be the only one), I'd still "stick around for the Poppins."

Star Trek: The Next Generation

I've loved this show from the moment it first aired to the day it ended, and way, way beyond. It's one of my top go-to, "had a shitty day", escapes.

I don't think I'd categorize myself as a full fledged Trekkie necessarily, but something about this show -- both the hilariously cringe worthy (Data and Picard as, for all intents and purposes, Mayan gods) and the weirdly poignant (Picard being tortured by a Cardassian) -- makes me a little more hopeful about the state of humanity.

Any episode in which Data shows a smidgen of emotion or the Enterprise is subject to a ship-wide emergency (diseases, booby traps, mind erasing orgasm games, etc.) has been replayed a dozen or so times on my TV or computer.

I dream of having a friend named Wesley one day, that I can tell to "shut up."

Harper's Island

Has anybody else actually ever seen this show?

It's one of those shows, like the episode of "Punky Brewster" where all her friends are terrifyingly killed by a Native American Spirit-Monster, that I often wonder if I somehow imagined.

A group of friends go to Harper's Island, an island in the Pacific Northwest where a murderer named John Wakefield killed everyone not so long ago, for the swanky wedding of their best pal. One by one, the cast of kooky characters is killed off in violent, gruesome ways, leaving the survivors to run around accusing each other of being the killer.

This show is ridiculous. It's overwrought, the actors mug their way through every episode, and it pulls on every cheap horror convention you can think of. One review I read called it a "B-movie as a TV show" and that couldn't be more accurate. BUT IT'S SO MUCH FUN.

If nothing else, it's a hoot to see how each character will be done in every week (or every hour if you're watching it on Netflix for 13 hours straight).

King of the Hill

I recently came across this quote from Bobby Hill:

Mom, I'm fat. But big deal. I don't feel bad about it, and you never made me feel bad about it. And just because there are people out there who want me to feel bad about it doesn't mean I have to. So Bobby Hill's fat. He's also funny, he's nice, he's got a lot of friends, a girlfriend. And if you don't mind, I think I'll go outside right now and squirt her with water. What are you going to do?

To me, this encapsulates exactly why I love "King of the Hill" so much.

On the surface, this cartoon appears to be about conservative, small town Texans, going about their daily lives oblivious to the goings on in the world outside their bubble.

But just give Hank, Peggy, Bobby, and the whole gang a little more of a listen, and you'll find a show with a huge heart that shows regular people figuring out how to love the exploits and eccentricities of the various odd-balls in their community. Judgment is reserved for those who actually deserve it, and at the end of the day acceptance -- of self, of others, of enormous feet -- is usually the moral of the story.

This is the only animated show that has in the course of one episode made me laugh out loud as well as get a little teary eyed.

Plus Luanne and the Manger Babies? Shut up.

Law & Order: SVU

Oh, come on, who hasn't gotten lost in marathon of "SVU"?

It's so satisfying: WAH WAH. A sexually based offense is committed. WAH WAH. Stabler and Benson (yeah, yeah, it's Benson and Amaro now, my heart belongs to Stabler) get to solving said crime. WAH WAH. There's a twist! WAH WAH. It goes to jury. WAH WAH. There's a settling or not so settling resolution to the crime. DICK WOLF.

Yeah, this show has its problems. The writing is spotty, and I'm not going to lie, the representation of women is very often questionable, but what is it about "SVU" that keeps us glued to the TV episode after every "haven't I seen this storyline before?" episode?

For me, I think it's the plain and simple hope that good guys will always catch the bad guys, and no matter how heinous the crime, the good guys will never give up.


Honorable Mentions:

  • Strangers With Candy
  • House (I'm a little embarrassed to admit this one.)
  • Celebrity Ghost Stories

What are your comfort TV shows? What's the last show you got hopelessly addicted to?