One of my favorite self-care habits whenever I am in my dark phase or when I feel it coming on is to binge watch comedy shows on either Netflix or iFlix. It doesn’t always solve my issues in life but it temporarily lifts me up from the doldrums of my life. And along the way, you can also come up with some life-changing realizations while watching them.
Here are some shows that you can binge when you’re feeling down or even when you just want to laugh out loud. I won’t include the usual suspects anymore, like Friends or How I Met Your Mother or Brooklyn Nine Nine or Modern Family or The Big Bang Theory, even though I go back to them every once in a while. These are shows that not a lot of people (well, except for those who are like me and watch a lot of shows) know about or cared to check out, but which I find really, really hilarious.
The Good Place (Netflix, iFlix)
Basic premise: Kirsten Bell dies and wakes up in a sort of “heaven” but ultimately realizes she’s not supposed to be there. Hijinks ensue. Twists you didnt’ see coming come up. It’s hard to explain the rest of it without spoiling anything, so just watch the first two eps to get a feel of it first.
Why I love it: I just read an excellent New York Times piece on why The Good Place is so good and it can explain better why this show is one of the best and smartest comedies around. It tackles a lot of things like what makes a person truly good, what is human nature, faith in a higher power, morality, love and soulmates, etc. And it does it in a really funny, twisted, but ultimately philosophical but understandable way.
How many episodes do I need to binge? Two seasons of 13 eps each. Season 3 just started.
One Day At A Time (Netflix)
Basic premise: Single Latina ex-Army Nurse raises her two children and lives with her feisty mother. Sounds a bit like my mom’s life. Haha
Why I love it: As I said, this territory seems familiar (except our life is not that hilarious or dramatic) and I’m a sucker for heartwarming but not corny family dynamics. And even as I laugh at and with them, they also make me cry especially when they tackle issues like crappy fathers, sexuality, and especially mental illness. I spent hours crying over one episode (Hello, Penelope in season 2) and it helped me come to terms with my own depression.
How many episodes do I need to binge? Two seasons of 13 eps each. Season 3 will start next year.
Basic premise: An alchoholic mother and daughter try to repair their relationship with each other and the people around them (including the daughter’s own children)
Why I love it: While it is funny and irreverent, it can also get pretty dark. Well, with a show that deals with various addiction, how can it not be? There is humor to be found in the way they (and their fellow alchoholic friends) try to stay sober and try to fix their messed up lives. Also, Allison Janey is a treasure and Anna Farris is such an underrated actress.
How many episodes do I need to binge? Five seasons of 22 episodes each. Season six just started.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Netflix)
Basic premise: Kimmy is part of group of women were kidnapped by a crazy, doomsday cult figure and kept underground for years/decades. When they are rescued, she has to adjust to a life of being above ground and the last time she was with regular people was in the 90s so she’s a bit behind, in more ways than one.
Why I love it: Just like Mom, the premise seems pretty dark but they are more absurdly crazy and over-the-top in the way they bring humor to Kimmy and the assorted weird characters that she interacts with. Titus Andromedon is one of my favorite comedic characters of the past decade and his Peeno Noir and Hold Up parody still cracks me up.
How many episodes do I need to binge? 3 seasons of 13 episodes each, plus the first half of SEason 4. The second half (and last) will come next year.
KIm’s Convenience (Netflix)
Basic premise: A Korean couple immigrates to Canada and runs a convenience store to raise their two children. The son is now estranged from the dad and the girl has just started art school.
Why I love it: Another heartwarming family comedy that will make you laugh and cringe and occasionally cry. Plus the fact that it’s about immigrants in a first world country will probably strike a chord with a lot of Pinoys. And it’s really, really funny
How many episodes do I need to binge? 2 seasons of 13 episodes each. There will be a season 3 soon!
Other shows that I can’t find on streaming but you can “acquire”
Speechless - A family comedy again, this time dealing with one of the kisds having cerebral palsy and being non-verbal. The three kids are probably my favorite siblings among the current comedy shows. (2 seasons of 22 episodes each. Season 3 just started)
Fresh Off The Boat - Before the world fell in love with her as Rachel in Crazy Rich Asians, Constance Wu has always been Jessica Huang for me. This is another family show about Taiwanese immigrants in the US, based on the real life of chef Eddie Huang (4 seasons of 22 episodes each. Season 5 just started)
Superstore - A workplace comedy set in a Walmart-like superstore chain with a lot of hilarious characters and deadpan humor (3 seasons of 22 episodes each. Season 4 just started)
Parks and Recreation - Who would have thought a workplace comedy about government workers in the Parks and Recreation department could be one of the funniest and nicest shows ever on TV? Also, Leslie Knope and Ben Wyatt are the ultimate relationship goals. (7 seasons of around 22 episodes each. This ended back in 2014)
Veep - This show has a lot of profanity so not for little ears. Well, for a show set in Washington D.C and about the inept VP of the US and her equally inept staff, how can you not have profanity? (6 seasons of 10 eps each. 7th and final season starts next year)