By Niamh Feeney
Level 5 lockdown for the holidays wasn’t ideal and reminiscing on last year’s break was not helping to beat the lockdown blues. The laughs with my friends over Zoom weren’t the same and I found myself in need of a distraction from all the Covid-19 news. There was only so many games of Twenty-Five I could play with my family and so many daily walks down the bothairín that I could manage before I reached my final destination of boredom. I watched my mind drift and started to think about that one time I did something majorly embarrassing (well, to me at least). I needed a distraction, and quick. Naturally enough I did what anyone would do when in the need of a pick-me-up, I turned to a good ol’ friend of mine, Netflix. If you are in dire need of a distraction or just want to de-stress, then kick back and relax with a cup of tea and some rich tea biscuits and check out these feel-good shows that helped cure my lockdown boredom.
The key to relaxation was to sway from my usual guilty pleasure, emotionally heavy murder mysteries and thriller shows, so I switched it up with these casual, comical, and light-hearted pick-me-ups and they provided me with a world of laughs.
The first series I binged within three days, was Chewing Gum, and it was just what the doctor ordered. Created, written, and starring the comical and gifted Michaela Coel, this underrated sitcom had me cracking up and hooked at the opening scene with the eccentric Tracey Gordon. Tracey was raised in a restrictive religious house and the show follows her discovery of who she is and her place in the society. Most memorable for its hilarious dialogues, wildest sex situations, and Coel’s boundlessly expressive face, this had me entertained and smiling for days, I really wished there were more seasons. Spoiler alert: Special guests include Stormzy. If you loved Dear White People and Atypical, then you will adore Chewing Gum.
Big Mouth was up next and was great for keeping my spirits up. As a devoted fan of Rick and Morty this was the perfect show for me. What’s not hilariously relatable to prepubescent kids coming to terms with their sexuality and their budding secondary sexual characteristics? All in the form of quirky cartoons and hairy hormone monsters. I can’t help but love Andrew Glouberman’s faithful Hormone Monster, Maurice, for his grotesque yet hilarious dialogue encouraging Andrew to make the most embarrassing, yet relatable mistakes. Scenes that are so cringeworthy I couldn’t help but squeeze my eyes shut, cringe and cackle at every decision Andrew made in this coming-of-age story. If it’s not your cup of tea then at least tune in for the iconic theme song, “Changes” by Charles Bradley. At roughly 25 minutes an episode it was the perfect recipe to take my mind off the constant Covid-19 news and give my attention span a rest.
Saving the holy grail for last, it wouldn’t be right to exclude Derry Girls from this mix. An iconic uplifting classic that will never get old no matter how many times I binge watch it. I can always count on the adventures of Erin, Clare, Orla, Michelle and James to get me out of any slump. The lighted-hearted series, set in the backdrops of the Troubles in Northern Ireland, Derry Girls creator, Lisa McGee, uses hilarious slurs and generalisations to depict the conflict between the Catholic and Protestant kids. Plenty of bitching, laughs and troublesome situations was just the distraction I needed. Fortunately, season three is soon set to be in the works after being delayed in 2020, fingers crossed we get a new season before 2021’s out!
Striving to stay optimistic isn’t easy all the time, and the future does seem daunting. Losing yourself in a good TV show in a world of laughter was a great distraction for me during the break. If you haven’t watched any of these shows before you can find them on Netflix or Amazon Prime (which students can get a free 6-month trial, so don’t forget to make use!), they may be just what you need.