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comfort shows, 2022 shows

"Ted Lasso," "We Are Lady Parts," and "Avatar: The Last Airbender"

When the real world has lost its luster, we must sometimes throw ourselves into the world of fiction. Comfort shows can be bona fide therapy, especially when so much time these days is being spent indoors.

The following is a carefully curated list of feel-good TV options to accompany the well-known not-so-good moments of life. May they instill your faith in humanity, warm your heart or at the very least, give you a moment of “ah.”


When you feel like a total outcast, hate your body and want to crawl in a hole where no one can find you: "Sex Education."

sex education netflix

"Sex Education" gets all A's.

www.tvguide.com

The great thing about this show is that everyone—both the teenagers and the adults—are sort of bumbling along the path to self-discovery. And though, as the title suggests, this show does have a lot NSFW moments, sex isn’t really the central theme. Rather, it's about identity, expression and authenticity. This show also tackles LGBTQIA+ topics with integrity and heart, particularly in Season 3.

When you take a gander at your bank account, and now feel just as empty on the inside: "Schitt’s Creek."

schitt's creek

The Rose family provides an abundance of giggles.

m.media-amazon.com

First, there’s the initial bit of therapeutic schadenfreude, seeing the shallow, materialistic Rose family have their fall from grace, and their millions. Then you’re hit with purely delightful, totally unforgettable comedy moments. I mean, there’s a reason why there are “fold in the cheese” T-shirts. That bit was comedic gold. Finally, there’s the added hope injected into your soul after seeing the Roses not only overcome financial hardship, but become better people along the way. Certainly, if they can do it, we can do it.

Plus, “A Little Bit Alexis” is a straight up bop.

When it’s the third time you’ve been “mansplained” to this week, and are so done with the patriarchy: "We Are Lady Parts."

we are lady parts

This show truly rocks.

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"We Are Lady Parts," a new sitcom from Peacock, tells the story of an all-girl Muslim punk rock band trying to make their big break. Actress Anjana Vasan, who plays timid “Capricorn” Amina, the band’s new guitarist (facing just a dash of vomit-inducing stage fright), is particularly delightful. With every subtle look and awkward giggle, the girl just knows how to get a laugh. But truly, it’s an ensemble show. It’s hard to not root for cunning band manager Momtaz, whose face covering makes her “feel like Beyonce,” or bassist-slash-mother Bisma and her misunderstood comic about “a group of women who all become homicidal maniacs when they’re on their period,” or powerhouse drummer Ayesha who appears to be goddess Khali incarnate, or unbreakable frontwoman Saira, who screams out the lyrics to bangers like “Basheer With The Good Beard.”

Yeah, they’re a LOT. And that’s what makes them great. And the best part is: By watching Lady Parts dismantle stereotypes and overcome their own insecurities, you somehow gain more confidence in the process.

When you haven’t seen your family in so long and just want a hug: "British Bake-Off."

great british bakeoff

"The Great British Bake-Off" always delivers the sweetness.

cdn.vox-cdn.com

Remember when you used to tell your mom, “I don’t wanna go to school, I just wanna stay home and bake cookies with you?” That feeling you were chasing is exactly what "The Great British Bake-Off" delivers.


It’s pure soul medicine. Plain and simple. There’s the artistry of it all, as the bakers make the most creative, most exquisite and exotic desserts ever imagined. Even if you don’t have a sweet tooth, it’s hard not to drool over some of the showstoppers. Plus the judges and contestants are as warm as baked brie. I’m convinced that even if America produced it’s own version and replicated it to a “T,” it would still not be able to capture that special something the British one has to offer. It’s a high stakes competition for the Star Baker, sure, but without any normal tension-inducing gimmicks that normally come from similar programs. And because of that, audiences are left with a soothing balm that brings a sense of home, no matter where you’re watching.


Pro tip: Don’t watch on an empty stomach.

When you’ve read far too many dreary headlines exposing dark secrets: "Avatar: The Last Airbender."

avatar last airbender

A magical show that gets right to the heart.

static.tvtropes.org

Looking for a story where good guys win and even bad guys redeem themselves? Where concepts of mindfulness are broken down so clearly you can’t wait to meditate? Look no further.

Though the animated Nickelodeon fantasy originally aired in 2005, it quickly became one of Netflix's most watched shows at the beginning of the pandemic. And there's a reason for that. Even adults can appreciate the way this cartoon elegantly conveys moral lessons sans the preachiness. And as any Airbender fan will tell you, this “kid’s show” depicts a cast of nuanced, dynamic, flawed characters. And this is coming from someone who didn’t watch the series originally. So no leaning on nostalgia here.

Curl up in a blanket and watch kids fight the world’s injustices with the power of magical martial arts and friendship. Your heart will thank you for it.

When Facebook shows you that your ex is engaged, and you’re wondering if you’ll ever find love: "Four Weddings and a Funeral" (Hulu version).

four weddings and a funeral

The rom-com for people who hate rom-coms.

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This mini-series never got the visibility (or good reviews) it deserved. Co-created by Mindy Kaling, “Four Weddings” adapts the classic rom-com movie of the same name, but with a “modern, diverse twist” (originally said by Entertainment Weekly, and it’s so accurate I can’t beat it). Let me say this first: I despise romantic comedies. But this one hits differently. As Kash and Maya go through their messy “will they won’t they” roller coaster, you fall in love with them in the process. It reminds you that love is complex, perfectly imperfect, and the basis for all healthy relationships, not just the romantic ones.

When you’re ready to just give up and let the planet destroy itself: "Earth to Ned."

earth to ned

Ned is the best late-night host in the galaxy.

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Earth to Ned on Disney+ blends late-night show antics with puppetry in a way that’s out of this world. Alien space invader Ned is set on a mission to annihilate Earth, but instead he falls in love with its inhabitants, and beams up celebrity guests to answer his burning questions about earthly customs, and pop culture of course. It’s just so quirky, so wholesome and so silly in a way that only a Jim Henson project can accomplish.

When it’s been so long since you’ve laughed at anything, you’re not sure you remember how to: "Whose Line is it Anyway?"

whose line is it anyway

1,000 points for bringing smiles.

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Ah, "Whose Line," the long-running improv comedy show where the points don’t matter, but laughter certainly does. This really is my go-to when I’m down in the dumps. Something about seeing Colin, Ryan and Wayne unapologetically make utter fools of themselves while playing pretend, makes the world seem less bleak. Even bits I’ve seen a thousand times bring a smile to my face.

And believe it or not, new episodes of "Whose Line" are still airing, now hosted by Aisha Tyler. And yes, it definitely still holds up. Try this one the next time you need an escape into pure joy.

When you simply can’t shake the feeling of being a loser: "Ted Lasso"

comfort shows

"Ted Lasso" is the champion of feel-good.

www.apple.com

Call it a fish-out-water comedy, or call it an underdog sports drama. Either way, "Ted Lasso" tends to our need for creature comforts. The show manages to stay uplifting without being blindly positive, even as it explores darker topics such as toxic masculinity and father issues in Season 2. As Ted Lasso teaches his team to “believe,” it’s hard to not find yourself being inspired to look for the silver lining.

Though my list could be much more exhaustive (honorable mentions to Netflix's "She-Ra and the Princesses of Power" and "Star Trek: The Next Generation"), I hope these can provide a little inspo next time you’re in need of a more nourishing binge watch.

Joy

1991 blooper clip of Robin Williams and Elmo is a wholesome nugget of comedic genius

Robin Williams is still bringing smiles to faces after all these years.

Robin Williams and Elmo (Kevin Clash) bloopers.

The late Robin Williams could make picking out socks funny, so pairing him with the fuzzy red monster Elmo was bound to be pure wholesome gold. Honestly, how the puppeteer, Kevin Clash, didn’t completely break character and bust out laughing is a miracle. In this short outtake clip, you get to see Williams crack a few jokes in his signature style while Elmo tries desperately to keep it together.

Williams has been a household name since what seems like the beginning of time, and before his death in 2014, he would make frequent appearances on "Sesame Street." The late actor played so many roles that if you were ask 10 different people what their favorite was, you’d likely get 10 different answers. But for the kids who spent their childhoods watching PBS, they got to see him being silly with his favorite monsters and a giant yellow canary. At least I think Big Bird is a canary.

When he stopped by "Sesame Street" for the special “Big Bird's Birthday or Let Me Eat Cake” in 1991, he was there to show Elmo all of the wonderful things you could do with a stick. Williams turns the stick into a hockey stick and a baton before losing his composure and walking off camera. The entire time, Elmo looks enthralled … if puppets can look enthralled. He’s definitely paying attention before slumping over at the realization that Williams goofed a line. But the actor comes back to continue the scene before Elmo slinks down inside his box after getting Williams’ name wrong, which causes his human co-star to take his stick and leave.

The little blooper reel is so cute and pure that it makes you feel good for a few minutes. For an additional boost of serotonin, check out this other (perfectly executed) clip about conflict that Williams did with the two-headed monster. He certainly had a way of engaging his audience, so it makes sense that even after all of these years, he's still greatly missed.

Noe Hernandez and Maria Carrillo, the owners of Noel Barber Shop in Anaheim, California.

Jordyn Poulter was the youngest member of the U.S. women’s volleyball team, which took home the gold medal at the Tokyo Olympics last year. She was named the best setter at the Tokyo games and has been a member of the team since 2018.

Unfortunately, according to a report from ABC 7 News, her gold medal was stolen from her car in a parking garage in Anaheim, California, on May 25.

It was taken along with her passport, which she kept in her glove compartment. While storing a gold medal in your car probably isn’t the best idea, she did it to keep it by her side while fulfilling the hectic schedule of an Olympian.

"We live this crazy life of living so many different places. So many of us play overseas, then go home, then come out here and train,” Poulter said, according to ABC 7. "So I keep the medal on me (to show) friends and family I haven't seen in a while, or just people in the community who want to see the medal. Everyone feels connected to it when they meet an Olympian, and it's such a cool thing to share with people."

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Co-sleeping isn't for everyone.

The marital bed is a symbol of the intimacy shared between people who’ve decided to be together 'til death they do part. When couples sleep together it’s an expression of their closeness and how they care for one another when they are most vulnerable.

However, for some couples, the marital bed can be a warzone. Throughout the night couples can endure snoring, sleep apnea, the ongoing battle for sheets or circadian rhythms that never seem to sync. If one person likes to fall asleep with the TV on while the other reads a book, it can be impossible to come to an agreement on a good-night routine.

Last week on TODAY, host Carson Daly reminded viewers that he and his wife Siri, a TODAY Food contributor, had a sleep divorce while she was pregnant with their fourth child.

“I was served my sleep-divorce papers a few years ago,” he explained on TODAY. “It’s the best thing that ever happened to us. We both, admittedly, slept better apart.”

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