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February 29, 2024

The utter comfort of bad TV Shows

By CLAIRE BEAVER | April 20, 2020


In this tumultuous yet simultaneously tedious time at home, I have to keep reminding myself that there is a light at the end of tunnel. Though we sadly do not know when we will see the light, how bright it will be, if it is actually there or not, whether or not it will reschedule graduation, if our government is really doing all they can, whether we will even get to vote this year or... sorry, spiraling seems to be a hobby of mine amidst all this (and I’m getting really good at it, if I do say so myself). 

Alas, this is yet another column and not my Notes app, so I’m going to reroute and bring us back to the reason we came here today and one of my saving graces in all difficult periods of my life: shitty art.

Over the course of the past month, we have all had a lot more time to consume media, good and bad, though I found myself looking through Netflix not for new things to watch (though I swallowed Tiger King whole and am trying to figure out how to contribute to the Wikipedia page) but for shows that bring me comfort.

These shows are, to put it bluntly, as I so often do, awful. I would have to admit that the show I have revisited time and time again when I am troubled is Glee. I know, right?!? I also want to punch myself in the face but I literally cannot get over how much I love this show.

If you haven’t seen at least one episode yourself, you have at least seen a meme about its insane one-liners, and at the very least you have heard me screaming about it. 

Glee is one of those shows I wasn’t allowed to watch when it first aired (I was in sixth grade) without my mom present, so naturally a lot of the jokes went over my head and the fact the Quinn was pregnant in the first season really didn’t hit me until my first high-school rewatch. Quinn is the head cheerleader of our dreams, and just because she is not the best singer doesn’t mean she is not one of the best characters.

I think one of the reasons I love this show so much is because it is so ridiculous. That, and all of the musical numbers. If only high school was singing in the hallways and dumping slushees on people you didn’t like... kidding (only about the slushee part)! My twin and I still, to this very day, quote some of our favorite lines at each other, a few as follows: “Tell me what you put in that slushee!” (the answer is rock salt), after a killer cover of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal” by Santana and Sebastian the Warbler; “I didn’t send her to an active crackhouse,” from Rachel after she pulls some BS to get the new talented girl out of glee club; and finally my favorite “I will puke in your mouth,” uttered by the icon Sue Sylvester.

This show makes me laugh and cry and laugh again when I realize how insane most of it is, and yet I will never stop watching it.

In my asking around to see what my friends have been turning to for comfort, I got a lot of Gossip Girl and New Girl answers, with a dash of Bob’s Burgers.

In terms of bad shows, Gossip Girl is the cherry on top. I tried to watch the first season about a year ago and couldn’t get past the first few episodes. I really don’t get the pleasure people take from watching Serena and Blair stab each other in the back, as everyone also stabs them in the back, as their moms are just complete assholes, and apparently all of NYC cares about it.

Are the actors hot? Yes, obviously Blake Lively is one of the hottest people on Earth, and Penn Badgley is not half bad himself (you might know him as Joe Goldberg from You), but this is just not enough for me to get past the terrible storylines and reeking privilege. I love escapism as much as the next guy, but I’m going to head over to Hogwarts, not the fictional Upper East Side.

New Girl, another popular re-watch answer, is better than Gossip Girl in my opinion. While this is also a show I genuinely laugh at and like, it is not well-written. You compare this to all the other incredible 24-minute comedies out there (Atlanta, Broad City, Community...), and New Girl can’t compete.

But I am so here for turning to those comfort shows when you need them. If I can admit to watching Glee, you can watch whatever you want, no judgement from me. Well, maybe a little, but it’s all in good fun.

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