My 5 Pop Culture Comforts

Wednesday, 8 February 2017

SOURCE: FOX Broadcasting

Sometimes there are moments in my life where I'm too tired, stressed out, sad or lazy to do anything of value. These moments are hopefully few and far between, but when they do come its nice to have a few things you can watch/read/play that bring you into a really comfy place. A few months ago the NPR Pop Culture Happy Hour podcast did a segment on pop culture comfort food, this made me think what are the things I keep going back to when I need a little pick me up? So here is just 5 of the things that make me feel relaxed, comfortable and happy. In no particular order. ;) 

1. ARRESTED DEVELOPMENT

I actually found out about Arrested Development fairly late and long after it was cancelled. Arrested Development follows the Bluth family who are constantly fighting legal and financial problems, due to dodgy dealings with the family property development business. Trying to save the family is Michel Bluth (Jason Bateman) who is desperately trying to keep the business up and running after his father, and former CEO George Bluth (Jeffrey Tambor) gets locked up on corruption charges. While brother GOB (Will Arnett), sister Lindsay (Porta de Rossi) and brother-in-law Tobias (David Cross) try to rinse money out of the family to fund their own self interests. Add to this a manipulative mother (Jessica Walter), dependent and clueless brother Buster (Tony Hale), an incestuous son George Michael (Michael Cera) and rebellious niece Maebe (Alia Shawkat), Michel has his work cut out for him.

The show has some of the strongest sitcom writing I have ever watched, the plots and characters all entangle in each-others lives for a satisfying pay off. Also if you're into binge watching programs this is an ideal candidate, as it rewards consistent viewings with a deluge of "in" jokes and overarching plots. The ridiculousness of some of the episodes really does take no prisoners as often Bateman's straight-man character is often a fool. 

Seasons 1-3 originally aired on Fox, but ended up being canceled due to poor ratings even though the show received critical acclaim. Season 4 was brought out as an Netflix Original even though not as strong as the original run it still has its satisfying moments.  
  
SOURCE: Netflix [via. YouTube]

2. BOBS BURGERS


Even though some of my first choices of shows to watch change from time to time there is pretty much always a cartoon on the list. For the past few years Bobs Burgers has been my go to for cartoony goodness. Set around a struggling family restaurant the show features the Belcher family with all their quirks. Bob ( H. Jon Benjamin), the head chef and patriarch is a luckless business owner who tries to keep a positive attitude and happily endures his quirky family. The matriarch Linda (John Roberts) is the constant optimist, lively and ready for adventure, she's always looking for her new pet project. Daughter Tina (Dan Mintz) is a hopeless romantic, obsessed with boys, horses and zombies. Son Gene (Eugene Mirman) the musical virtuoso of the family is interested in all things gross and has some eccentric quirks. Lastly is the youngest child Louise (Kristen Schaal), a trouble making youth who has the ambition of growing up to be a criminal. 

The comedy of the show is somewhat muted and subtle containing one-liners that could be easily missed but are amazing when you catch them. One of the odd things that may seem a bit silly about the show is that it does genuinely make me feel broody, seeing a weird quirky family who love each-other and always stick together is heartwarming in its own way, even if they aren't as aspirational as some family comedies like Modern Family.


SOURCE: FOX [via. YouTube]

3. HARRY POTTER FILMS

I jumped on the old Harry Potter train fairly late, but when I did the world fascinated me, and even more then the main plot the backstory interested me. I can't tell you how many times after watching the films I had some obscure question for Jemma about the wizarding world, but it didn't take long before she just told me to "Just read the books!!". I will at some point finish reading all the books but for now I have the films to obsess over. There is something really cozy about the films, perhaps it's all the robes and candles so everyone looks comfy all the time. Or maybe it has something to do with my subconscious association between Harry Potter and Christmas, but whenever I have one of the films on I can just relax and go on an adventure.  

My favorite of the series is without a doubt The Prisoner of Askaban, probably because of the darker tone and the fact that one of the best characters (Reamus Lupin) in it. But no matter how relaxed these films make me I cannot help but get verbally angry at Dolores Umbridge in The Order of the Phoenix  

SOURCE: Warner Bros

4. LET'S PLAY

Let's Play videos on youtube and streams on Twitch are two things people either get or not. The basic concept is simple enough, you watch someone play a video game while they commentate over the top. These videos have been around for years originally starting on the Something Awful forums then moving to YouTube where they would later gain popularity exponentially. But back when I started watching them back 2006 they were weird and niche, and although I have enjoyed some popular, loud and outrageous videos from the genre before, I still yearn for the old videos when things were simpler.

It is super relaxing to just sit back and watch as someone else experience a game, or have it on in the background while pottering about with other things. There even was a time when every night I would fall asleep with one of these videos playing. 

The people I regularly watch changes frequently but here are some suggestions: Vintage Beef, NorthernLion, Keralis, GenerikB, Bagel411 and Sl1pg8r


  SOURCE: NorthernLion [via. YouTube]

5. CITIES SKYLINES

Cities Skylines is an city building simulation game and has replaced Sim City as the top game in the genre. In the game you build and plan a city; from laying down roads and zoning areas, right the way to deciding taxes, budgets and bus routes. The amount of minutia you can dig your teeth into is astounding and seeing your city build up and become a metropolis is truly satisfying. While this may seem boring to some, for me it's super relaxing to take time planning and building something. I could easily spend hours and hours playing this game and it feels like no time at all has passed. 

SOURCE: Paradox Interactive

~Gary


6 comments :

  1. Out of all of these, I've only seen the Harry Potter films. My pop culture comfort is Buffy! Always put it on if things are feeling crappy :) x
    Holly ∣ Closingwinter

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    1. I still need to watch all of Buffy. I think I stopped just after angel left. One day I'll make it through them

      ~Gary

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    2. Ah I love Buffy. You need to watch the whole thing dude, honestly it's so good. Tabla Rasa is my favourite episode.

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    3. ahhh one day I will. I just get easily distracted by other shows. 🙈

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  2. If you like Let's Plays you should check out: Achievement Hunter, Funhaus and the Let's Play channel! I'M OBSESSED! Also agree with Harry Potter, my fave is the fourth movie! (Cause mermaids) I want to start Bob's burgers if I have the time!

    Rai | www.utterardour.com

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    1. Haha I know I'll have to find a day to dig deep into their videos. I used to listen to the RT podcast so I'm aware of some of the AH peeps.

      ~Gary

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