January Appointment TV

Sometime last year I decided I was going to watch every episode of Guy’s Grocery Games. I love the show, though it always makes me hungry and envious of people with cooking skills, and I enjoyed spending mindless hours with Triple G on my TV.

As someone who teaches Popular Culture, I feel like I have an academic responsibility to at the very least read about whatever television programs are in the ether. If I really want credibility with my students, I need to watch them.

So I needed to make a break from Guy Fieri and started scheduling purposeful television. Every Sunday, I look at my schedule and I pick one episode of a TV show to watch for every day of the week.

(Except lately, to cope with well, everything, I have been watching 3-4 episodes of New Girl a day, and as of publication time, I have four more episodes before I finish the whole series.)

Here’s what I’ve been watching lately. The common thread in the first three shows? They are released weekly so unless I fall behind, I can’t watch the entire slate in one sitting.

The Book of Boba Fett (Disney+): This is the latest in the Star Wars franchise, and it is a bit over my head in terms of “canon” and “understanding what is going on.” But I always like my preconceived notions about people—real and fictional—getting blown up a bit, and so far, this series delivers.  That’s all I will say to avoid spoilers. 

Finding Your Roots (PBS): I’ve been a fan of this show for years and the latest season just launched. In my own genealogical research, I’m much more interested in the stories behind the names, and this show focuses on exactly that. Some weeks the stories are tame, and some weeks the stories are wild, but I’m always reminded of how my current life is affected by generations who came before me. 

Abbott Elementary (ABC/Hulu): This is a new show on ABC that I caught the first two episodes on Hulu, and didn’t want to wait a day to see episode three so I actually tuned in at 8 p.m. on Tuesday to watch it live, as in times of yore. It’s a sitcom in the style of The Office and Parks and Rec, but in an elementary school. It is the first show about public education that doesn’t make me want to throw things; instead I am amazed at how much the writers are getting *right* about teaching. 

Queer Eye (Netflix): The latest season dropped over winter break, and instead of binging it in a day, I’m reserving it for Monday nights, one episode at a time. The men on the show are life-affirming and loving, a departure from the cattiness of the show’s early-aughts. It’s a nice way to start off my week.

Creating my own TV schedule has been a helpful coping mechanism with the current malaise. It’s given me something to look forward to during the day, and it’s also ensured that I don’t really fall down a bingey rabbit hole. What else should I add to my list?

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