Category: something that won’t ruin your life

hellyeahomeland: Hello, Homeland fans (or people who just think…

hellyeahomeland:

Hello, Homeland fans (or people who just think we’re neat). It is time for another installment of “something that won’t ruin your life,” from HYH champion recommender, Ashley.

This week, after a six month gap during which time not one single member of this blog has stepped up, I am recommending the Netflix television programme, GLOW. 

If you’re not a fan of Alison Brie, don’t sweat it. I’ve been there. It is not a problem. 

I started watching it when the first season dropped back in 2017. And, to be honest, I wasn’t totally into it. But I watched it anyway, because 80s + wrestling + LADIES WRESTLING + Chris Lowell for some reason = everything Ashley could possibly ask for. 

Then the second season came out and I was like WELP guess I got nothing else to do and oh. my. god. Like, I watched a recap of the first season, ZOOMED through the second season, went right back to the beginning to watch the first season again, and immediately watched the second season again. 

The show is awesome, guys. So it starts out with Ruth (Alison Brie), a struggling actress who cannot get a break. Her BFFN is Debbie (Betty Gilpin), a hot blonde ex-actress who had spent a while in a coma on a soap opera before asking to be written off. Debbie is married to Mark and they have a baby because why be an actress when you can be a mom, amirite?

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SO. 

Ruth ends up at an audition for a new wrestling show which is being directed by Sam Silvia (Marc Maron). She has no idea what she’s in for and, by the looks of it, none of the other ladies do either. So when Sam is like “yo, this is a wrestling show,” half the ladies walk out. 

Anyhoozles they get into the auditions and Ruth immediately fucks it up, like, she is straight-up trying to make this silly wrestling show into High Art.  Literally, she ACTUALLY starts quoting Maggie from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. (Actually, she does that when she decides “fuck this dude who told me I couldn’t be in the show, I’m gonna be in the fucking show,” but that’s still generally what got her kicked out in the first place.)

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But because the show would not happen if Ruth didn’t get hired for wrestling purposes, she comes back. But TWIST Debbie shows up and they get into a major fight because Ruth did something VERY UNCOOL and there was BETRAYAL. 

And that’s where we’re at. 

The first season is about putting this wrestling show together. It’s produced by a dude named Sebastian (Bash) Howard who is all, YAY WRESTLING. But Sam is like, NO! ART!!! 

Gradually it turns more into YAY WRESTLING than ART and the show is so super fun. 

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They are working with uncomfortable topics, like racism and sexism and all the -isms really, and the AIDS crisis gets thrown in. It’s a comedy that takes the problems of its time very seriously, and that’s refreshing. 

The show has a lot of heart and a lot of soul and they care SO MUCH about what they’re putting into the world, it’s obvious. It makes me happy and I think it will make you happy too. 

It might make you a little sad a couple of times, but it’s okay. The happies outweigh the sads like 15000 to 1. 

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Happy Friday, y’all! 

I’mma take advantage of Sara’s neglect as of late to re-rec GLOW, a television show that definitely won’t ruin your life. New season is out today!

This hiatus is just so blissful and uneventful that I’ve been…

This hiatus is just so blissful and uneventful that I’ve been able to catch up and discover so many new TV shows. 

But today, I’m not telling you about a conventional TV show. Today I want to talk about the Bon Appétit YouTube channel. 

I try to cook a real meal at least 2x week (thanks, Blue Apron! #notsponsored) and I genuinely love food but let me tell you that neither having experience cooking real food nor really enjoying it are required to fall in love with the cast of characters at the Bon Appétit YouTube channel (though I’m sure it helps a little). 

What this channel gets so incredibly right (and, I imagine, why it’s so much more successful than other food channels on YouTube, not that I watch them, but again here’s why) is that it recognizes that people watch TV–whether on their TV boxes or their computers or phones or wherever– for the people. That’s why you keep coming back. And the BA channel has assembled a true cast of characters in its main test kitchen chefs. Together, they’ve gathered a near-cultish following

First, there is Claire, BA’s resident Baking Queen. I need to say this: I LOVE CLAIRE. She may be my favorite Claire at the moment. Are you understanding what I’m saying?? Claire’s main series is a show called “Gourmet Makes, where she attempts to create the “gourmet” version of popular junk foods like Doritos, Twinkies, Kit-Kats, and the like. It is as addictive as the junk foods themselves. I binged about 10 episodes when I first discovered it, which is how I fell down this k-hole to begin with. 

Claire is … perfect. Everything she does is perfect. She is brainy and witty and loves to get super scientific, though in an approachable way. She is a perfectionist, and watching her struggle to recreate these extremely specific foods on Gourmet Makes is such a delight, in an “oh my god she’s really struggling can I give her a hug” sort of way. 

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As she’s talking you through why she’s doing X or Y to make her version of a Dorito (which I won’t ever even eat!) I find myself thinking “God, she’s so fucking smart.” 

Claire’s most chronicled relationship in these videos is with Brad. Depending on your deal, you either ship them romantically (apparently there is fic?? which is cringe), think they’re an old married couple, or are like sparring brother and sister. I fall into the last of those camps, but their dynamic is so charming and fun to watch. 

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Brad’s main series on the BA channel is a show called “It’s Alive,” where he makes all kind of stuff that is, literally, alive! Like yogurt. Or sourdough. Or kombucha. The production on It’s Alive is really fantastic and leans into Brad’s totally bizarre persona and habit of saying the word “water” like “wourder.” Basically Brad is like Ron Swanson if Ron Swanson ABSOLUTELY LOVED HIS JOB AND CO-WORKERS. 

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Our next test kitchen cook is Carla, who is the food director at BA. Her main series is “Back-to-Back Chef,” where she attempts to instruct a famous person (take your pick! From Troye Sivan to Elizabeth Olsen to Natalie Portman to Al Roker) how to cook a dish with only verbal instruction (they are literally back-to-back and Carla just talks through the recipe as they both make it). This is actually my favorite concept for a food show because it highlights just how challenging cooking can be but also how amazing a good teacher is. They make pretty involved stuff but Carla’s instruction is so perfect. Even if it’s not always technically correct ( “so, my sauce looks like it’s doing bubbly stuff, does yours look like that too”) she perfectly captures the exact way we viewers actually cook and talk about recipes. 

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Carla has frequent interactions with Molly, who is my favorite chef after Claire. Again, if we’re going back to Parks & Rec analogies, Molly is like a perfect amalgamation of Leslie, Ann, and April. My favorite thing about Molly is that she abbreviates everything. But not in a cutesy or annoying way. “Casear salad,” which is her favorite food, is “Cae Sal.” You get the dealio. Anyhoozles, I love Molly both for her love of made-up words and also for her fun, yet also endearingly serious demeanor in the kitchen. You can tell she just LOVES food. And she has OPINIONS and HERE THEY ARE. We stan. 

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I’m going to describe the last of the main test kitchen chefs together because they have similar personalities: Chris and Andy. They frequently hang in the back of other people’s videos, specifically Claire’s, and are known to give very good and very honest opinions about whatever she’s cooking up, usually with a side of comical commentary. Chris is well-known to have a perfect palate and Andy is a type A personality whom I believe really shines when he has to deal with the likes of (decidedly type B) Brad.

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(There are other personalities you’ll see regularly, like Alex or Gaby or even BA EIC Adam Rapoport (they call him “Rapo”). They are all lovely and wonderful.)

I individually love all of them, especially the ladies (duh), but my true adoration and stanning reached a new level when they all came together, Avengers-style, for the most epic crossover of all time in a new series called “Making Perfect,” where they attempted to make the perfect pizza. I am being 100% serious when I say it was genuinely thrilling to watch this true mix of personalities (and chefs!) come together for this quest. I’m not even a huge pizza person and I found myself watching a FIFTY MINUTE VIDEO WHERE CARLA AND MOLLY MAKE CHEESE. GIVE THIS SHIT AN EMMY. IT WAS ICONIC. 

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Beyond that, what I love so much about the BA channel is just how… fun it seems to work there. The channel has all the familiar elements of a workplace reality show (oh, in case it wasn’t clear by now I desperately want a reality show starring these people. If the New York Times can get a show on Hulu WHY CAN’T THEY??? Get on it Condé Nast) while also being genuinely funny and charming and quasi-educational. I’ve yet to actually make anything featured on a video but I can wholeheartedly tell you that I enjoyed every second watching them make it. 

How to watch: this shiz is free. The channel is here.

P.S. My basic hard and fast rule is to NEVER read the YouTube comments of anything but the comment section on their videos is where the true BA fandom/memes come together and I love reading them. *CHEF’S KISS* 

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Well, it’s been a minute since we talked about anything around…

Well, it’s been a minute since we talked about anything around here, let alone something non-Homeland-related. 

As always, I got your back with a cutting-edge, of-this-moment recommendation for the next thing you should watch. 

That’s right, we are going BACK IN TIME to when Showtime still put that horrible watermark on all their shows and we are going to talk about United States of Tara, a show I recently entrely devoured in the span of a week. 

That gif above is about 50% of the reason to watch the show which is to say: ALL THE AWESOME LADIES. Since the concept of United States of Tara is a suburban middle-class family struggling with the dissociative identity disorder (fka multiple personality disorder) of its matriarch, played by Toni Collette with total and utter abandon, we actually get four, five, six, sometimes seven awesome ladies for the price of one! 

The central plot of the show is very late 2000s Showtime, in that “oh Carrie is just difficult? Can we give her some sort of pathology or….” way. But in the hands of Toni Collette, all is well. 

The show was created by Diablo Cody and the characters and story bleed through with her signature “fucked-up suburbia” vibe (while I’m at, please go watch Young Adult and Tully. You’re welcome in advance). 

Toni Collette stars as Tara Gregson, a sometimes-artist who spends most of her life trying to wrangle in her multiple personalities and give her two kids and husband a semblance of a normal life (the real thesis of this show is something along the lines of “normal is lame”). When the show starts, she’s got three “alters”: Alice, a 1950s-era Stepford wife; Buck, a Vietnam veteran/lethario; and T, a 16-year-old high school dropout. 

(T is my favorite alter: This is T: 

)

As the series goes on, Tara attempts multiple avenues to try to figure out why she’s like this and how to fix it (one of the really interesting subplots the show explores is the concept that so many people believe that DID is just… not a thing). 

She’s surrounded by a truly incredible all-star cast. John Corbett plays Max, her ever-loving husband, a Mr. Fix It type who takes all the craziness in stride. He is a true Cool Dad and their love is the anchor of the show. Rosemarie DeWitt plays Tara’s sister Charmaine, a real hot mess of a person who is one of those people who denies Tara has an actual mental illness. She likes to get her hot mess on with Patton Oswalt, who plays Max’s employee Neil. BABY BRIE LARSON plays Tara’s older daughter Kate. I have no words for how much I love Kate ok she is perfect please act shocked at this information. Kier Gilchrist is pitch perfect as the younger son Marshall, the “adult” of the family who’s also trying to figure out his identity. This is just the main gist. The show features guest stars like Viola Davis, Zosia Mamet, Joey Lauren Adams, and Ezzie Izzard. 

But you really come for the main cast and the Gregson family, who with each season grow messier and more fucked up and more absolutely and completely lovable. And love them I do. 

(all three seasons are on Hulu, get into it!) 

Has anyone watched the new Sabrina series? Is it good?

Short answer: YES AND YES.

Long answer:

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So, like, I’m a big fan of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. The 90′s show, anyway — it is iconic, I love it, and I have spent way more time than I care to admit obsessing over plot inconsistencies. 

When The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina was announced, I was kind of skeptical. When I saw who they cast as Harvey, I was like… nah. When I found out that Salem (Sabrina’s cat) would not have a speaking role, I was like… well, I mean, probably for the best? Nick Bakay’s performance is legit inimitable and incomparable. The fact that Kiernan Shipka is evidently allergic to the cat who portrays Salem was FAR more worrisome. 

In spite of all my skepticism, I was also really excited because SABRINA! THE TEENAGE WITCH! 

Not to mention MIRANDA OTTO as Aunt Zelda. (Plus Lucy Davis!? as Aunt Hilda.)

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The show is, obviously, a LOT darker than its predecessor. It kicks off the day before Sabrina’s 16th birthday. Sabrina’s preparing for her “dark baptism,” which essentially means that she signs her name in The Book of the Beast. She’s… not totally sold. Essentially, once she participates in that rite, she has to leave her mortal life behind and go to The Academy of Unseen Arts. Basically Witch School.

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But of course nothing is that simple and Sabrina ends up getting sued by Satan. I mean, what did we expect.

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Sabrina’s trial goes better than I expected it to, honestly, and ultimately she’s allowed to go splitsies between mortal/witch life. She has to attend the academy, but only sometimes, and she’s allowed to keep going to her regular high school. She maintains her relationship with Harvey Kinkle (who is so fucking MEH to me I can’t even) and she continues to hang with her besties, Roz and Susie. 

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And, clearly, as you can see from the gif above… her mortal + supernatural lives mesh SEAMLESSLY. (If you believe that, I have an oceanfront resort in Chicago to sell you — for more information please e-mail ashley at hellyeahomeland dot com.)

Things at the academy are much crazier, as Sabrina is hazed by a trio of mean girls who go by the name “The Weird Sisters.”

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She also meets a superfine gentleman named Nicholas Scratch who is SO into her and I totally ship it. 

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The real MVP is Sabrina’s cousin Ambrose, who is witty and awesome and hot as hellllllllllllllllllllo Chance Perdomo. Welcome to my heart.

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On the whole, the show does a REALLY good job of distancing itself from Sabrina the Teenage Witch without devaluing it at all. Miranda Otto is obviously my queen. 

I don’t want to give away any of the plots, except to say that things are INSANE. There are some really heartwrenching moments and some really fun ones, but all in all the show is just the bomb dot com.

Ooh, and don’t let me forget motherfuckin’ MADAME SATAN.

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If you enjoy exciting supernatural drama that doesn’t take itself TOO seriously but also is wicked fucked up… check it out.

(One big disclosure. They use this weird blur effect a LOT in the show, and I while I understand it, I don’t like it… actually, NOBODY likes it, but it’s definitely ~art~; anyway, if you get through the first episode, you kinda stop noticing it? Or at least I did.)

But, since this is a Homeland blog, please allow me to reiterate:

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C’est tout!

The bulk of the recommendations in this series are for comedies…

The bulk of the recommendations in this series are for comedies or decidedly lighter fare than Homeland. Which is fine… we all need comedy in our lives. Especially now. The world is a fucking trash heap. 

But sometimes you also want something a bit meatier, a bit darker, a bit mysterious. The Sinner checked all those boxes for me. 

The Sinner premiered last year with its first installment. It’s one of those “anthology” series that tells a new story every year, with all new characters, but with the same themes or tone or setting. Like Fargo or True Detective. The True Detective comparison here is actually super apt. I’ve recommended this show to a few people already and what I tell them is that it’s like if True Detective had women in it (season one, I never watched season two, although God bless Rachel McAdams). 

The Sinner follows the story of Cora Tanetti (played by Jessica Biel, who–surprise!–can actually act her ass off and act her ass she does – she is ridiculously good), a totally normal woman, living her totally normal life in upstate New York. Then, one day at the beach, while there with her husband (Chris Abbott, who is HORRIFYINGLY miscast but whatever) and toddler son, she up and MURDERS this dude, in the neck, with a paring knife, in broad daylight, for seemingly no reason. 

She is immediately arrested. She pleads guilty in court because why wouldn’t she? She did it and about a hundred other people are witness to the crime. 

But WHY did she do it? Enter Detective Harry Ambrose, played by Bill Pullman, who meshes the good cop/bad cop personas into one seriously messed up–but still good-intentioned–dude. Ambrose believes firmly that people like Cora just don’t do this. He becomes obsessed with figuring out how this could have happened. What happened to Cora Tanetti? 

As Ambrose pushes for the truth–and pushes Cora for it as well–the show tells the story of her past in flashbacks. In the words of Stefan, this story has everything: drugs. sex. country clubs. incest. terminal illnesses. kink. catholicism. EDM. 

It’s the True Detective we all deserved.  

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OH NOT THAT I NEED TO REMIND YOU BUT CARRIE COON IS IN SEASON TWO GET ON THIS DAMN THING Y’ALL. #CarrieCoon4Eva

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BONUS: Meatface plays Cora’s dad and Janet (aka Ellan Adair, listen to our podcast with her here) is in S2. 

OH: You can watch it on Netflix.

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So, I used to be one of those people who, when someone…

So, I used to be one of those people who, when someone recommended a British TV show (e.g., Downton Abbey, Sherlock, The Crown, etc.), would almost apologetically respond, “Ya, so I’m just not that into British stuff.” 

It was my get-out-of-jail-free card when I really just had no desire to watch John Lithgow play Winston Churchill.

Enter The Great British Baking Show. Or, as actual British people know it, The Great British Bake-Off. 

The GBBS is Britain’s VERY famous annual baking competition to find the best amateur baker in all of Britain. I started watching this a few weeks ago after the Texas season of Top Chef left the most disgusting taste in my mouth and it was like LIGHT CLOUDS OF SOFT MERINGUE. 

If you’re accustomed to American competition reality shows (whether of the food variety or not), the GBBS is a most refreshing change of pace. It’s light! It’s fun! It’s cheery! All the contestants are SO honored and pleased to be there and grow to be great friends and also just happen to be AMAZING bakers and there is no actual prize money, just the title and the experience a glass cake stand???? 

Each week is themed (e.g., “cake week,” “biscuits week,” “bread week” [<< universally feared], “patisserie week,” etc.) and has a signature challenge (shorter bake where you can put your spin on a classic), technical challenge (complete surprise where they have no idea what they’re baking and a very basic recipe), and SHOWSTOPPER CHALLENGE (what it sounds like; they do crazy shit here). The challenges get harder and harder both as the season progresses and also as the series does. Like one week they tell the bakers to just “make a shortbread cookie” and a few weeks later they’re like “make a mirror cake with at least 3 tiers and 2 different flavors and 4 different types of sugar work in FOUR HOURS.” WTF??? 

The stuff these AMATEUR bakers come up with is incredible. The first time they told them to make baklava and I saw them all start to make phyllo pastry FROM SCRATCH I thought I was having a moment. But then they made them do it like three other times in separate seasons!! These people ARE. NOT. JOKING.

The hosts for much of the series were Mel and Sue, a wonderful comedy duo who make ALL the baking puns. They are delightful and when the going gets rough (as it sometimes does; not everything is sunshine–literally, it rains constantly in the UK in the summertime–out in Welford Park or Harptree Court or Scone Palace and OMG don’t you just love the names of British places??), they always calmly remind the baker, “Hey, it’s just [insert baking term here; e.g., cake, bread, pavlova, sugar sculpture, babka, rough puff, etc.].” 

The judges are Mary Berry (yes, her real name!) and Paul Hollywood (yes, also his real name!). Paul is like…. enh, whatever, he’s kind of a jerk and every time he pokes someone’s bread I just want to punch him. Mary Berry is a flawless queen. 

ANYWAY I love them all (even Paul, begrudgingly) and was quite disappointed to learn that when the show moved from BBC to Channel Four a few years ago, Mary and Mel and Sue left. But you know what? I ENDED UP LOVING THEIR REPLACEMENTS. That’s how amazing this show is. Prue, who replaced Mary, is ALSO A QUEEN. 

(I honestly can’t remember the names of the replacement hosts…. I think Sandy and Noel? Anyway they are cool and make baking puns so it’s all good.) 

Ok ok I need to wrap this up but please?? Watch this? It is honestly so lovely and beautiful and to see these people bake these incredible cakes and cookies and breads and all manner of things just because… they love it, because they love the challenge and the reward and the doing it? It’s honestly inspiring and it warms my heart. 

P.S. I’m thinking of watching The Crown because maybe I’m not “not that into British stuff.” 

P.P.S. DEETS ON WATCHING: FIVE of the most recent series are on Netflix in the US. I think you can buy earlier seasons on Amazon. 

P.P.P.S. GIFS FOR YOU:

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We love Mel and Sue. 

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Paul really is evil.

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Queen Mary

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TINY BEAN ANDREW I LOVED HIM

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Prue can really WORK a pair of glasses and always rocks a statement necklace. We love her, too! 

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Loved Candice from the second she said she wanted Mary to be her nan. Also respect a woman who wears heels, a dress, and a strong lip color to bake.

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We do not like Ruby but she had good facial expressions and her overwhelmed-ness was very relatable.

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Nadiya forever.

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GO WATCH, PLS. 

Hello, Homeland fans (or people who just think we’re neat). It…

Hello, Homeland fans (or people who just think we’re neat). It is time for another installment of “something that won’t ruin your life,” from HYH champion recommender, Ashley.

This week, after a six month gap during which time not one single member of this blog has stepped up, I am recommending the Netflix television programme, GLOW. 

If you’re not a fan of Alison Brie, don’t sweat it. I’ve been there. It is not a problem. 

I started watching it when the first season dropped back in 2017. And, to be honest, I wasn’t totally into it. But I watched it anyway, because 80s + wrestling + LADIES WRESTLING + Chris Lowell for some reason = everything Ashley could possibly ask for. 

Then the second season came out and I was like WELP guess I got nothing else to do and oh. my. god. Like, I watched a recap of the first season, ZOOMED through the second season, went right back to the beginning to watch the first season again, and immediately watched the second season again. 

The show is awesome, guys. So it starts out with Ruth (Alison Brie), a struggling actress who cannot get a break. Her BFFN is Debbie (Betty Gilpin), a hot blonde ex-actress who had spent a while in a coma on a soap opera before asking to be written off. Debbie is married to Mark and they have a baby because why be an actress when you can be a mom, amirite?

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SO. 

Ruth ends up at an audition for a new wrestling show which is being directed by Sam Silvia (Marc Maron). She has no idea what she’s in for and, by the looks of it, none of the other ladies do either. So when Sam is like “yo, this is a wrestling show,” half the ladies walk out. 

Anyhoozles they get into the auditions and Ruth immediately fucks it up, like, she is straight-up trying to make this silly wrestling show into High Art.  Literally, she ACTUALLY starts quoting Maggie from Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. (Actually, she does that when she decides “fuck this dude who told me I couldn’t be in the show, I’m gonna be in the fucking show,” but that’s still generally what got her kicked out in the first place.)

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But because the show would not happen if Ruth didn’t get hired for wrestling purposes, she comes back. But TWIST Debbie shows up and they get into a major fight because Ruth did something VERY UNCOOL and there was BETRAYAL. 

And that’s where we’re at. 

The first season is about putting this wrestling show together. It’s produced by a dude named Sebastian (Bash) Howard who is all, YAY WRESTLING. But Sam is like, NO! ART!!! 

Gradually it turns more into YAY WRESTLING than ART and the show is so super fun. 

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They are working with uncomfortable topics, like racism and sexism and all the -isms really, and the AIDS crisis gets thrown in. It’s a comedy that takes the problems of its time very seriously, and that’s refreshing. 

The show has a lot of heart and a lot of soul and they care SO MUCH about what they’re putting into the world, it’s obvious. It makes me happy and I think it will make you happy too. 

It might make you a little sad a couple of times, but it’s okay. The happies outweigh the sads like 15000 to 1. 

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In the second half of this season I’ve just had a constant feeling of dread with Carrie, I’m just like pls check yourself into the hospital now forget the mission, when Franny ran after her and she was reversing her car I almost lost my shit I was like NOOOOOOOOO FUCK ME THIS CAN’T BE HAPPENING, I felt so emotionally drained after this episode I need a to watch a feel good movie rn

I hear you! I didn’t ALMOST lose my shit – I TOTALLY lost my shit. The images of Franny laying on the ground, covered in blood, really set me off. The idea of Carrie potentially doing that to her…devastated me. My heart was racing for a good 20 minutes after the episode was over. I ended up watching an episode of Brooklyn Nine-Nine shortly after that and it seemed to help.

My love for older men is well-established I think. Tim Daly and…

My love for older men is well-established I think. Tim Daly and Kiefer William Frederick Dempsey George Rufus Sutherland are the two most notable examples, but there is another one and I want to tell you about him.

Timothy the ~beautiful~ Olyphant.

Now, I know you think I’m gonna rec Justified. And I am. But the entirety of the Justified rec is gonna be that gif right above me, because if Timothy Olyphant in a cowboy hat doesn’t sell the show to you, then I really don’t know what else to say. It’s really good, but, like, Timothy Olyphant in a cowboy hat. It sells itself.

But Timothy Olyphant has a new show that just dropped its second season on Netflix, and that is what we are going to talk about today. 

Santa Clarita Diet.

Now, I’m not into zombie shit. It just is very much not my jam. But this show had two things going for it from the get go that got me to put my prejudice aside: Timothy Olyphant (duh) and Victor Fresco, the dude who created the show. (Victor Fresco is also the brilliant mind behind one of my fave tv shows of all time, the canceled-way-too-fucking-soon Better Off Ted. You are getting three recs for the price of one here.)

Anyway, Santa Clarita Diet is a zombie show. Timothy Olyphant and Drew Barrymore play a very happily married couple, Joel and Sheila Hammond. They’re realtors with a super normal normal life, a nice house, and a daughter named Abby. All is good.

Until one day Sheila goes to work with Joel and they’re showing a house and she starts to puke, like, a lot. A LOT a lot. More than you ever thought possible. More vomit than should ever even be inside a person. 

Turns out… she’s dead. Undead. And she’s pretty happy eating raw hamburger until she bites a dude (no spoilers) and develops a yen for human flesh. Like, to the point where she can’t even try to force down anything else. (I have a similar reaction to butternut squash, so, I get it.)

Joel and Sheila pretty quickly realize that they’ve gotta start killing people. Well, Sheila does, but Joel really wants to be supportive so he helps. And mostly they do it Dexter style. Or Peter Quinn style. They’re guys who kill bad guys. 

And then Sheila pops them into a meat freezer and chisels off a little bit whenever she’s feeling peckish. 

The show is hilarious. Joel is so earnest. They get their neighbor’s kid, Eric, who they figure will be helpful because he is a fucking nerd, on board. Along with their daughter, Abby, who Eric is crushing on — hard

Every single day something new and terrible seems to happen and Joel can often be found sighing, “WHY CAN’T WE EVER HAVE A NORMAL DAY?”

He spends much of the second season just trying to build some bookshelves… when he’s not helping Sheila murder people, or trying to cover up for the murders they commit, or trying to find a cure for Sheila’s ~condition.

It’s all honestly pretty heartwarming, and Joel and Sheila are just GOALS. 

I love this show. It only ever brings joy. 

I was a late comer to the glory of the single cam sitcom, so…

I was a late comer to the glory of the single cam sitcom, so much so that after watching a few brilliant ones (30 Rock, Parks & Rec, etc.) I thought I was spoiled on multi-cams for the rest of my life. 

Enter One Day at a Time on Netflix. 

I’m not sure where I heard about this remake of the classic sitcom–now focused on a Latino family in Los Angeles–but I heard high praise just about everywhere and decided to give it a try last year. 

In short, I loved it. When the second season came out earlier this year, I was delighted to discover it was still just as good. Just as funny, just as heartwarming, just as diverse as I had remembered. 

The series centers on single mother Penelope–an Army veteran and now nurse–living in East LA with her two kids–the opinionated Elena and precocious Alex–and her mother, played by the spectacular Rita Moreno. Their wacky neighbor/landlord/permanent houseguest rounds out the rest of the main cast. 

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There are a lot of things I love about this show. There’s Rita Moreno, who is goddamn fucking fantastic in every way.

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There’s Elena, whose first season journey of coming out to her relatively conservative family is written and acted so beautifully and openly… 

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… And then there is the real glue and magic of the show, which is Justina Machado as Penelope, and the complexity she brings to the role. She is a phenomenal comedic actress but her ability to handle the drama and heart the show requires makes her the true secret ingredient. PLEASE GIVE THIS WOMAN AN EMMY.  

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The show covers a myriad of tricky, hot-button topics–immigration, homophobia, PTSD, depression, and mental illness, to name a few–but it never feels like you’re being lectured at or talked down to. There’s no whiff of after school special here. This show is truly, truly funny, has tons of heart, and–always a bonus for a show that won’t ruin your life–filled with lovely happy endings. Please watch it. It brings light and joy into my life. 

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