I’m fascinated by people who identify as “adrenaline junkies.” These people seek out activities that make their heart race, like bungee jumping off incredible heights. I’ve done it and I can confirm: It was terrible. Never again.
What makes my heart race? Cozy sweatpants, a soft blanket, my dog cuddled next to me on the couch and a TV show I’ve already seen 47 times. While some crave extreme sports, I crave extreme comfort.
I get that it’s weird that The Amazing Race is one of our longtime favorites. When we were on season 33, so many of you wrote and commented about how stressful it was watching. Can I admit something? I’ve made it a habit to watch the shows (not our season obvi) at least a day after initial airing. I know, I know. It’s like cheating, but I like to know all the spoilers before I watch.
I’ve been told it’s a tell of an anxious mind to watch, and re-watch shows. I don’t disagree. I think that’s why I watch every Hallmark Christmas movie they create. I love a formula and knowing exactly how it will end in that cozy New England town.
When I really need to unwind and allow my mind to rest, my favorite thing to do is put on my lazy pants and turn on one of these 10 shows.
- Brooklyn 99 (Hulu) – This show is funny, true, but I think we love this show so much because of the circumstances in which we were first introduced to this cop comedy. In late February of 2020, we left for The Amazing Race for the first time. If you recall, we shot three episodes before they sent us home because of a developing global pandemic. Penn and I were worried about the thing called “coronavirus” before we even left for the race, so when we were watching the news while sequestered in hotel rooms in the UK it was causing my anxiety to flare. I knew we needed to get home, so much so, I started to panic that we wouldn’t be able to get back into the US with how fast the virus was spreading. We could tell the production was making some big decisions while we were in Scotland because we spent several days in a hotel there waiting for word. The only thing on TV besides wall to wall news coverage of the virus, was Brooklyn 99. It wasn’t even on our radar but we struck gold with a Brooklyn 99 marathon on a local station in Glasgow. It got our minds off the very serious situation looming outside the hotel room doors.
- Gilmore Girls (Netflix) – The mother/daughter/friend relationship between Lorelai and Rory draws me in everytime. Lola and I spent a lot of time this summer re-watching this gem. There’s drama, romance, family struggles, and the pursuit of lofty dreams set in an impossibly adorable New England town. What more could you ask for?
- 30 Rock (Hulu) – This Tina Fey-led comedy makes me laugh every time. A fictional show about a live sketch comedy, it’s like this show was written just for me. Plus, I love anything Tina Fey creates.
- Parks and Rec (Peacock) – Leslie Knope is the kind of person and friend you hope to find in real life. Passionate, hardworking, quirky, and kind. I love watching her over-achieving personality work for the good of her community.
- Ted Lasso (Apple TV) – This show makes me want to move to London, but we all know I’ll never leave my couch. Ted is an American football coach recruited to coach an English Soccer team. In one show, a player had a rough game. He told him, “be a goldfish”. Goldfish have zero short term memory, so basically, forget the bad play and move on. We don’t need to dwell on EVERYTHING life hands us. Especially when it comes to youth sports, our most frequent sideline advice to our kids is: Be a goldfish. I hope I can see the good in everyone the way Coach Lasso does.
- Friends (HBO Max) – When in doubt, just turn on the “Pivot” episode. I love that Friends still has staying power. My 15 year old loves the show so much we went to the “Friends Experience” in New York recently. When I push play on this show, I get the added bonus of couch time with my girl.
- The Great British Baking Show (Netflix) – The calm setting under the tent, the soothing voices, the sugar overload. I love it all. These amateur bakers perform different high-level baking tasks in a series of rounds to impress a panel of judges. Other competition shows feel very … tense. This one lowers my blood pressure, even when the technical round goes awry.
- Schitt’s Creek (Netflix) – Watching this family hit rock bottom and then hilariously learn how to navigate a new life together checks all the boxes for me: Funny? Check. Interesting characters to love? Check. Life lessons that remind us what it really means to be a family? Check.
- Only Murders In the Building (Hulu) – I know “murder” is in the title, but I find this show oddly comforting. I don’t actually listen to true crime podcasts, but I love watching Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez try to solve cases while documenting it in podcast form. Also, Tina Fey makes appearances. You can’t lose.
- The Good Place (Netflix) – I didn’t think it was possible to laugh while also pondering thoughts on ethics and philosophy, but that’s exactly what happens here watching Eleanor, played by Kristen Bell, and the rest of the cast figure out their place in the after life. Bonus: seeing the older, more mature Ted Danson. It was created by the great Michael Schur who had a hand in many of the shows on my list. I think he’s on my celebrity crush list just for how smart and funny he is. He’s on Penn’s list too so it’s totally cool.
If I am really in the mood for a movie over a TV show, my #1 comfort movie go to is…
Spy with Melissa McCarthy (Disney+). It’s not your typical comfort comedy, but I love anything with Melissa McCarthy. Spy is more of an action movie, but it’s so ridiculous and not rooted in any sort of reality and McCarthy’s character is so completely loveable. I’m obsessed and I’ve seen it too many times to count.
What’s your favorite comfort TV show (or movie) to watch when you want to unwind?
As a reminder, I’m blogging every day in September as a way to focus on my own mental health. (It sounds so 2006, right?) If you want to stay up to day on these posts or any of our silly videos, click here to subscribe to our newsletter.
Thanks for being here,