What to Watch When You Can’t Handle More Drama

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?

23 Comments What to Watch When You Can’t Handle More Drama

  1. Erin February 2, 2017 at 12:09 am

    i do not and will not (right now) watch this is us. i just don’t have the time and i really don’t want to get 9 episodes behind because then i just won’t finish it and will still read all the blog posts about it and find out what happens anyway (like i did with parenthood. yep. still have to finish season 5. 6? i don’t even remember what season they quit in.) anyway… we’re watching once upon a time with samantha right now, so the only tv time i get is about 30 minutes every night after the family is asleep (now!). so I gotta keep it short. i’m going through HIMYM again. *sigh* it’s such an awful show but it sucks me in lol! and after that i’ll probably start up on friends. again. and THAT is definitely not a bad thing! ;-)

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect February 2, 2017 at 2:31 pm

      You will never convince me that watching HIMYM (or Friends, for that matter) is a waste of time. ;)

  2. Beth February 3, 2017 at 4:57 pm

    My husband and I worked through HIMYM, Friends, and then Gilmore Girls this summer. Then we watched Parenthood, which we just finished (oh my stinking heck.. all the feels). So it was his turn to pick a show (I chose Parenthood), and we are now watching West Wing. Because there isn’t enough presidential drama everywhere.. but at least this is fake (right, right?).

    I’m behind on This is Us, because I had to stop watching. I fell off in January too, because it was too heavy and i needed less heavy. I might just let it go until the summer when maybe the sun and fun can combat the drama.

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect February 14, 2017 at 11:26 pm

      Would you believe I’ve never watched West Wing? I’m planning to watch it this summer! I’ll take fake political drama over real life, FOR SURE ;)

  3. Pingback: For Your Weekend - emily p. freeman -

  4. Amy Canby February 4, 2017 at 8:35 am

    First time I’ve seen your post thanks to Emily Freeman’s ‘For Your Weekend’ and I like you already! Although I love This Is Us I can relate to finding ways to guard a sensitive heart. Mine involves not going to a Women’s March for fear the energy of people coming together for each other and a cause will overwhelm me, not comforting a crying stranger because at the sight of her my heart already feels too tangled up in her tears and many other ways I play it safe rather than allow my vulnerability to show. Sometimes I wish I was a little tougher. It would certainly be easier on my heart. But the world needs sensitive people so it’s a quality I try to embrace. Someday when the world seems a little less harsh I hope you’ll catch up on This Is Us.

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect February 14, 2017 at 11:26 pm

      Hi, Amy! Thanks for stopping by. I agree that the world needs some more sensitive people! <3

  5. Meagan February 4, 2017 at 9:11 am

    I watched the first episode of Parenthood years ago and after it was over I looked at my husband and told him there is no way I am watching that show. And I know I would have the same feelings about This is Us. I’m not even going to give it a try. I don’t mind dramas, but I guess if it’s too much real life drama I just can’t handle it. I watch tv and movies to be entertained and relax, not sink into the depths of despair. My favorite show right now is The Middle. Sooo hilarious! I just wish I could find it streaming somewhere because I would love to watch all the episodes from the beginning. My all-time fave comedy is Parks and Rec. I also like Frasier and Malcom in the Middle. I pretty much only watch tv at the end of the day and I want to laugh. Those shows make me laugh every time!

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect February 14, 2017 at 11:27 pm

      Parks and Rec is one of my all-time favorites, too!! I think The Middle is on Hulu, although I’m not sure the whole series is there. I think I saw it on my way to watch Happy Endings reruns again. ;)

  6. Ashley February 4, 2017 at 9:25 am

    We love finding “new” old shows at the library. Our favorite the last several months has been The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Neither my husband or I had ever seen it before, and we have LOVED it. Other than an occasional dramatic episode, it is just fun and relaxing.

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect February 14, 2017 at 11:28 pm

      Oh yeah, that’s a GREAT one!!

  7. lingerinthesunlight February 4, 2017 at 4:12 pm

    OMG!! This post of yours speaks so much to my state of mind. Thank you for sharing it. I have had to go dark on TV watching these past few weeks and almost no FB. I feel like I am on emotional overload right now that even fictional drama cannot enter this safe space I created. Lol

    Side Note: I made the mistake of going to see LaLa Land. Of course it was amazing but wrecked me emotionally. I have kept up with This Is Us thinking I could handle it, but after the latest episode I think I may need to step back from it too. Thanks for sharing. It is so good to know I’m not the only one struggling with Big Emotional Response right now. ( new term I just learned:)


    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect February 14, 2017 at 11:28 pm

      I got emotional watching LaLa Land, too! You are certainly not alone with Big Emotions. Solidarity!

  8. Diana Paige February 4, 2017 at 9:49 pm

    I started watching This is Us but can hardly get thru recent episodes and find it too painful to watch. Why submit myself to this by choice when my own life has enough painful drama going on? It is extremely well written and acted. I’m one of those “too emotional” people that seems to absorb every feeling if those around me. I just started watching the new One Day At A Time on Betflux and love it!!!!

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect February 14, 2017 at 11:29 pm

      Yes! I just finished One Day at a Time and am so bummed I have to wait for more episodes!

  9. ehartung7 February 6, 2017 at 8:09 am

    I couldn’t get into this is US. Besides yeah I don’t need more drama in my life. I watch friends and that 70’s show.

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect February 14, 2017 at 11:30 pm

      I love Friends and That 70s Show, too. And luckily, their reruns seem to be on, somewhere, constantly!

  10. Joni February 11, 2017 at 7:54 am

    You sound like me although I have managed to watch this is us. Partly because I have been needing crying catharsis. But I have a tendency most of the time to use everybody loves Raymond and king of Queens reruns to soothe myself. And I’ve had to totally stop the news. I already don’t watch it or read the paper because it seems like when I do, there’s always a babysitter suffocating a baby or something, but for the pre-election period I subscribed to two news encapsulation daily emails. Now that the election is over, I made the choice to stop reading them. Yeah I’m uninformed but the constant pain was too much. And I unfollowed anyone on Facebook who constantly posts political stuff. I just have to guard myself and hope my husband will tell me anything earth shattering I need to know!

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect February 14, 2017 at 11:31 pm

      Guarding our hearts is no joke! It’s wise to do it, I think. And I won’t lie – I have enjoyed many seasons of King of Queens myself! :)

  11. Mindy February 12, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    NYPD Blue reruns at 6 pm on “regular” tv are my new addiction instead of Happy Hour now. Dramatic, yes but they are set in the early 90’s so seem mild compared to today. And I finally watched all of Madmen last summer- the costumes, music and nostalgia make it a great escape!

    1. Mary @ Giving Up on Perfect February 14, 2017 at 11:32 pm

      “Escape” – that’s just it! I want to enjoy watching TV (or reading novels) as an escape, not a reminder of ALL THE HARD THINGS IN THE WORLD. :)

  12. Brenda March 1, 2017 at 9:23 am

    This Is Us is my current favorite show, but I TOTALLY get where you’re coming from. It’s actually a rarity for me to be in on the latest dramatic thing – I avoid plenty of intense shows and movies everyone loves because I just can’t handle it. Thanks for the lighthearted recs!

Comments are closed.