What to Watch When You Can't Handle More Drama | marycarver.com

You’d think I would be happy to see any topic, any single thing that is not political, in my Facebook feed these days. And, I am. Puppy pictures and cat videos are great. Sarcastic moms and memes about bedtime and wine crack me up. I will even read your Superbowl predictions and resolution updates.

But ENOUGH with the posts about This is Us.

I kid, I kid. But you guys! I am nine (NINE!) episodes behind on everyone’s favorite new show, because I just can NOT handle any more drama in my life right now.

When I first saw the trailer for the hour-long family drama on NBC, I had no doubts that I would NOT be watching this show. As everyone else was going on and on about how amazing it looked and how they couldn’t wait and oh-my-gosh, could this family possibly be as wonderful as our beloved Bravermans, I was rolling my eyes and changing the channel.

Why’s that? you ask. Am I heartless? No, far from it! I decided not to watch This is Us because just the few minutes revealed in the trailer had me in tears. And the marketing strategy of aligning this new show with the soon-to-be-departed Parenthood was brilliant, because from the moment we heard those words, “From the creators of Parenthood,” viewers knew what kind of show this would be.

And I, for one, didn’t want any part of it.

I did watch the first couple of seasons of Parenthood, but it was just TOO dramatic for me. It was so well-written and well-acted that I could not shake off the angst permeating each episode. It was a good show — a really good show! — but it wasn’t for me. My life and the world in general feel too intense and too hard for me to add made-up emotional trauma to the mix. I felt left out when all my friends talked about the latest Braverman story they’d watched, but I knew I was emotionally better off for avoiding it.

(SIDE NOTE: Yes, I am aware that this is a sign I just might be too sensitive, too emotional. I’m okay with that. If this sounds familiar, either because you are the same way or someone you know is, I highly recommend this video by Mayim Bialik about being “too emotional.” It is fantastic.)

Clearly, I thought as I watched Mandy Moore in labor in that This is Us trailer, this was not a show for me, either. But then? I don’t know what happened. Peer pressure? A healthier emotional state? A moment of TV premiere season-induced weakness? I DON’T KNOW. But after hearing everyone and her sister gush all over the place about that darned premiere and it’s “incredible” twist ending, I caved. And I watched. And I loved it.

Yeah, you guys were right. That ending IS clever! And the show IS good! Writing, acting, all of it – SO good.

Just like that, I was hooked as completely as the next person. (And, based on my Facebook feed, there are a LOT of next persons.) I watched every episode those first few weeks, gobbling up each morsel of the stories as they unfolded on my screen. I appreciated the writing and the acting and the costumes (and, let’s be honest, the opportunity to keep rooting for Team Jess), and I was glad I’d given the show and my tender heart a chance.

But then I went out of town. And then the election happened. And then the world seemed so hard, and then the holidays, and then January blues — and then, well, I found myself nine episodes behind and scrolling past my friends’ posts about, “Yay! It’s Tuesday!” and “Ohmygosh, this is the best show EVAH,” and “Who else needs a private Facebook group to talk about This is Us?”

Meanwhile I was queuing up another episode of the One Day at a Time reboot on Netflix.

All that got me thinking…maybe I’m not alone? Maybe you can’t handle any more drama either? But {obviously} you DO want to watch SOMETHING? Well, I’m here to help! Here are a few of my favorites for those days when you just can’t handle more drama in your life.

Live TV or OnDemand: American Housewife, Speechless, Superstore, Black-ish
Netflix: One Day at a Time, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Better Off Ted
Hulu: The Mindy Project, Difficult People*, Happy Endings, Selfie, Samantha Who?
Amazon Prime: Veep*, Accidentally on Purpose, Frasier

*These shows have a whole lot of language. So consider yourselves warned.

Of course, your mileage may vary on some of these. I remembered Samantha Who out of the blue a few weeks ago and have almost made my way through both seasons. It cracks me up and is a lot easier on my mental state than the aforementioned Drama-with-a-capital-D. But I am aware it was cancelled after just two seasons…probably for a reason. Still, the beauty of streaming services is that we have access to classics with multiple seasons that we can come back to any time, as well as short-lived series that we can inhale in a long weekend.

(SIDE NOTE, again: Yes, it’s true: each of the streaming services has more original series every day — and my list of shows to watch keeps on growing. But if I can’t handle beautiful, popular family dramas, I’m probably not in the right frame of mind to start a new show either.)

You can also go old-school and check out TV shows from the library (or even buy them). In that case, I suggest short-lived shows Enlisted, Trophy Wife, and one of my all-time favorites, the quirky, British, HILARIOUS Miranda.

All right, friends, tell me:
Do you watch This is Us? Or dramas in general? What’s your favorite show right now?

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