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Like, if you're tired/depressed and just want to feel uplifted.

I've re-watched Parks and Recreations too many times now (not that I'm gonna stop, apparently). I've thought a lot about why it's so comforting to me, though. I'll distill those thoughts in a list:

  • Conflicts within the show don't get too heavy/melodramatic and stress me out. The stakes really don't get that high. The tone is very light.
  • The main characters are lovable, well-intentioned, and supportive. They always seem to end up doing the right thing and have their own ways of doing so.
  • The show imparts positive values – optimism, hard work, friendship, perseverance, mental and physical health, etc. – while generally avoiding some of the entertainment culture's more negative pitfalls, like casual nihilism and commiseration. (Not that there isn't dark humor).
  • Romance, which I find myself tuning out in other shows, exists as an accessory to the characters' lives, senses of self, and other social relationships (rather than consuming those completely). There's balance.
  • Relationships between characters are the epitome of healthy. Or, when a character is doing something toxic, they learn to correct it. Conflicts are (eventually) resolved maturely.
  • The show is socially responsible and progressive. Jokes aren't made at anyone's expense. Delicate topics are handled delicately.
  • There's some clever writing and diverse characterizations to keep me engaged and make me laugh.

    This is just a list of why I find it comforting; my list of reasons for liking it would be bigger (and I'm probably forgetting some stuff). The sum of it all is that it just gives me faith. Faith in people, faith in love, faith in the fight to be good and to make the world better.

    I need some recommendations for other shows (or movies, I guess) that are comforting. Obviously, I'm not expecting something to hit the exact same points as Parks and Recreation. But let me know if you have anything to recommend!

    Also, do you have any comments on what's already been suggested to me? Gonna check these out:
  • Brooklyn Nine-Nine
  • Modern Family
  • This Is Us
  • Friends (I watched a good chunk of season one and am already bored)
  • How I Met your Mother (ditto)

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    There are 29 Replies

    Master of None

    Seinfeld

    Posted February 8th by S.O.H.
    S.O.H.
     

    Jokes aren't made at anyone's expense.

    Unless you're Gerry.

    Posted February 8th by Agis
    Agis
     

    The Andy Griffith Show. That always picks me up when I'm in a bad mood. The fact that everyone in this little town knows everyone else and has healthy relationships is so comforting to watch. There's a lot more respect shown between the people in one episode of that show than entire seasons of modern TV. From time to time it shows its age, specifically how you're supposed to approach kids dealing with a bully and at times treating women, but it's never done with malice, and its characters are well-rounded and developed enough you know no joke was ever done at anyone's expense.

    Modern Family is... good, but I wouldn't say it's a show you want to watch when you're depressed. The family is dysfunctional, and you don't usually get to the touching moments until the very end of the episodes. Until then it's a lot of chaos and stress. I guess it's OK in the sense that you're watching other people be miserable in this obviously exaggerated portrayal of reality, but you have to be able to distance yourself.

    Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is a very easy watch. Seinfeld makes the show good. The problem is consistency: some episodes, like Kramer, Ricky Gervais, and Louis CK are incredible, but others are disappointing.

    Full House and Fuller House are guilty pleasures.

    The Good Place is an AWESOME concept show, maybe not specifically for when you're depressed, but it's a very, VERY short and amazing show (13 episodes, 22 minutes each), and it's SO darn original! Made by the same guy who made Parks and Recreation. Check it out!

    Posted February 8th by mariomguy

    Game of thrones

    Rick and Morty

    Black Mirror

    Posted February 8th by Xhin
    Xhin
    The planets are aligned

    The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt and Community are usually my two go-tos.

    But undoubtedly the show that has given me the most joy for so many reasons (that I can't guarantee will apply to you) is Lady Dynamite.


    Posted February 8th by Jet Presto

    I don't think I watch any show or shows to make me feel better. At least, not tv shows. There are web shows I watch, namely AT4W, to feel better

    Posted February 9th by -Riku-
    -Riku-
     

    My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I have never resonated witha nymone in my life more than I did with Moondancer.

    Posted February 9th by tnu
    tnu

    The Good Place is an AWESOME concept show, maybe not specifically for when you're depressed, but it's a very, VERY short and amazing show (13 episodes, 22 minutes each), and it's SO darn original! Made by the same guy who made Parks and Recreation. Check it out!


    I second this recommendation. Although it's actually 26 episodes as there are two seasons now :)

    Posted February 9th by Moonray
    Moonray
     

    There are two or three shows I can watch pretty much any time and it would lift me up.

    Seinfeld is one. I probably don't have to talk about it at all considering it's so popular.

    Arrested Development is another. It's all on Netflix and the fifth season is coming out some time this year and I'm so DAMN excited.

    The last and imo the one that can pick me up the most is Red Dwarf. It's no longer on Netflix but this show is a riot. It's British so it's only 6 episodes per season (series for the UK) but there's like 12 seasons so far (since 1988) and it's still going but they have long hiatuses. I personally have only seen up to season 10. I can't recommend it enough but I will say the first two seasons are just okay but once season 3 starts it starts hitting solid gold. It's a really original show and is a slight mock of Star Trek.

    Also I agree, The Good Place is a great show and I really like it but I wish they would slow it down just a bit. The plot always feels kinda super rushed.

    Posted February 9th by Fox Forever

    idk why the good place reminds me of fallout 4

    Posted February 9th by Brandy

    More than a feelijg, feeling satisfied are literally what you’re asking for.! also dont look back

    Posted February 9th by Weid man

    "This Is Us"

    this show is sentimental trash
    cry porn for the middle-aged
    coasting on a gimmick
    etc

    Posted February 9th by poptart!

    My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. I have never resonated witha nymone in my life more than I did with Moondancer.

    SECONDED! But not the part about Moondancer. I always tell new viewers to start with the Season 2 finale. The pilot episode is... not the best representation of the show.

    The entire show is about relationships and making them work. It's actually very well made, and a lot of fun! It has taken me through a lot of grief in my own life. I do wish the show could do more, but as it is it's brilliant. This show got big the same time Korra aired, and it had no competition, so this one is a no-brainer: it is the best animated series of the decade hands down. And the episode with Moondancer seemed to touch a lot of people.

    Posted February 9th by mariomguy

    @mariomguy As much as I love MLP, I'm not sure I would say it's the greatest animated series of the last 10 years. Gravity Falls and Steven Universe are both great shows that, imho, are better. I'd say MLP is the third best animated series of the last decade. I so wish Korra had not been jerked around by Nickelodeon execs because I think it had the potential to surpass its predecessor

    Posted February 9th by -Riku-
    -Riku-
     

    Well, Korra was only intended to be a one-season miniseries that ended with Amon. The executives actually asked for more seasons than what Mike and Brian wanted to direct. It was really bogged down and eschewed too much to be enjoyable.

    I'm just thinking how, around 2011, so many ideas were tried and washed up, and writing in western animated shows was really not so well sought after. When the Canterlot Wedding episode struck, it truly was an event. A year later, Teen Titans Go would destroy my dreams of big network shows ever going back to what works. The excessive marketing for it turned me off of Cartoon Network for good. PPG, Dexter's Laboratory, that was never coming back again.

    But A Canterlot Wedding, Lesson Zero, Brotherhooves Social, Amending Fences, A Hearth's Warming Eve, Twilight's Kingdom, Crusaders of the Lost Mark, The Cutie Map, Pinkie Pride, The Perfect Pear, A Royal Problem... You cannot have a show with a selection like that without calling it one of the greatest of all time! The quality is very consistently good, especially for a show with 7 seasons, the writing reaching impeccable highs on the standout episodes and season premiers/finales, and it is a visual and audible pleaser as well. Overall it's one heck of a soaring epic fantasy that stays tied together by the strength of its characters, dynamics, and their development. There are certainly ways to improve on the show and it is running a bit out of steam right now, but there have been 169 episodes so far. Seriously, all good things must come to an end at some point. The Simpsons started sucking at season 9, and season 8 wasn't all that hot, either. If I had to cast a vote, my vote would definitely go for this show.

    Posted February 10th by mariomguy

    MLP, best of the decade? I dunno. I'm not a big animation buff by any stretch of the imagination, but I don't think I could say that unequivocally about that show when there are shows like One Punch Man and Rick & Morty.

    Posted February 10th by nullfather

    OPM is anime. That's a different beast all together

    Posted February 10th by -Riku-
    -Riku-
     

    Another one that is jsut plain uplfiting is Wander Over Yonder.

    Posted February 10th by tnu
    tnu

    Thanks for your responses! They're much appreciated.

    Some of these I have already seen.

    Community

    I've watched this through more than once! It's another show I'll sometimes turn to in the same way I turn to Parks and Rec. It's just that there are significantly more parts of it that annoy me. Still, thanks for the suggestion!

    The Good Place

    I've seen season 1. I feel like I'm close to liking it, but... I don't know, there are parts that are just so dumb. Maybe I lack a good sense of humor. I do intend to watch season 2. :)

    The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

    I loved how quirky this show is, but got bored eventually and stopped watching. I admittedly haven't seen it in a long time. I should definitely give it another shot!

    Arrested Development

    Ok fellows – don't get me wrong. I do enjoy this show, and I think it does some ambitious things with comedy. But you watch it to feel uplifted? Good god, it stresses me out.

    On to the suggestions I haven't yet seen!

    Master of None

    I've heard good things about this. I think subconsciously my brain is holding me back from watching it because Ansari's Parks and Rec character annoyed me for a looong time. But I'll definitely put it on my list.

    Seinfeld

    I've been meaning to watch this, just like, to catch up with culture haha.

    The Andy Griffith Show

    Thanks for your detailed recommendation, mariomguy! I really don't know much about this show apart from what you described, but your appraisal has me inclined to check it out!

    Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee

    This sounds like it could be entertaining and light. I think I've seen the title floating around Netflix. I'll put this on my list as well!

    Full House and Fuller House

    I remember watching Full House when I was a kiddo. Maybe I'll stream it for nostalgic value. :)

    Lady Dynamite

    Have never heard of this, but I take your suggestions seriously. :) Will look it up.

    AT4W (web show)

    What are web shows? What is AT4W? Where do you watch it?

    My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic

    I have no opinion on this show having never seen it, but I am wary of the culture that seems to follow it.

    Red Dwarf

    Hadn't heard of this! Your description of it did pique my interest. Will check it out. :)

    More than a feelijg, feeling satisfied are literally what you’re asking for.! also dont look back

    Thanks weid! I'm having a hard time finding information about these online. Do you have links to descriptions, perhaps?

    Wander Over Yonder

    Googled this – it looks cute and colorful. :) The optimistic protagonist sounds fun. I might check out an episode or two.

    Regarding your notes on the shows I'd already been recommended...

    Modern Family is... good, but I wouldn't say it's a show you want to watch when you're depressed. The family is dysfunctional, and you don't usually get to the touching moments until the very end of the episodes. Until then it's a lot of chaos and stress. I guess it's OK in the sense that you're watching other people be miserable in this obviously exaggerated portrayal of reality, but you have to be able to distance yourself.

    Thanks for the notice! I'll put off watching this for now. Maybe it will be one I watch with my sister or something. Watching new things is sometimes easier with someone.

    this show is sentimental trash
    cry porn for the middle-aged
    coasting on a gimmick
    etc

    Lmao. Frankly, I might like it. I often enjoy trash.

    Posted February 10th by Cetasaurus
    Cetasaurus
    Formerly KM8

    I feel like you've already seen it/already like it, but maybe 30 Rock? I've actually never watched it, but it seems Parks and Rec-y. Last Man on Earth gets kind of boring, and honestly it hardly ever makes me laugh, but it's quirky and light. Will & Grace? Again, I've never seen it (lol), but it seems similar in genre.

    Posted February 10th by Ophelia

    Parks & Rec for sure. Chuck used to be my go-to, as well.

    Posted February 11th by Orion Nebula

    psych

    Posted February 11th by poptart!

    Nothing makes me feel better about being human than Star Trek.





    Posted February 11th by Famov

    oh and of course Steven Universe even ifyoud otn' like the fandom. it does get a little darker over time but it's generally pretty uplifting.


    @Orion Nebula Ron Swanson is my spirit animal.

    Edited February 12th by tnu
    tnu

    Ok fellows – don't get me wrong. I do enjoy this show, and I think it does some ambitious things with comedy. But you watch it to feel uplifted? Good god, it stresses me out.

    AD maybe stresses you out because it packs like a dozen jokes per minute. To me I find that I feel insanely better when I watch it. It doesn't calm me down though. Not at all.

    And 30 Rock, like Ophelia said, is another thing similar to parks and rec but whereas parks and rec is kind of quiet, 30 rock is kinda loud and fills the show with music often. Both are pretty funny but you watch 30 Rock to mainly laugh while you watch P&R to laugh but also to feel better. P&R is just a show where the "feel good-ness" is better, imo.

    Posted February 12th by Fox Forever

    I mean, to be a little fair regarding the take that Arrested Development could stress someone out: it is a lot of uncomfortable plot threads. Like, the *entire* season 3 plot with Mr. F and realizing that he's dating someone with mental disabilities and seeing that train speeding over the cliff is kind of painful.

    Don't get me wrong. That's why I love it. (And why I love a show like The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret), but it's often pushing awkward plots that are designed to make you feel embarrassed and uncomfortable as the source of the comedy. (I looove Arrested Development, but I can definitely see it being stressful.)

    Posted February 12th by Jet Presto

    And why I love a show like The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret

    That show is great but it is probably the cringiest show I've ever watched. My lord the first two seasons it's just cringe scene after scene. Even watching it alone was super uncomfortable.

    Posted February 12th by Fox Forever

    Right. I found Arrested Development to be cringe-worthy in a lot of ways, too. (Like all of Season 3 with Charlize Theron. And the entire George Michael/Maeby storyline.)

    Posted February 13th by Jet Presto

    The 100, Game of Thrones, Limitless, Full Metal Alchemist Brotherhood, Survivor, and Prison Break.

    Posted March 22nd by I killed Mufasa
    I killed Mufasa
    long live the king
    Reply to: What are some shows that make you feel... better?
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