The spring semester has commenced and that means students are back on that college grind. As I’m writing this, cocooned in the comforts of my plush blanket with candles burning, I’m already trying to run away from the immense stress and lack of sleep I’ve already been subjected to in these first two weeks.
Will and Grace (1998): Hulu
This classic sitcom was groundbreaking when it first aired in 1998, providing queer individuals with representation on a commercial level in media entertainment. For those of you that don’t know, the show focuses on the various obstacles that life throws at the main characters and best friends Will and Grace, as well as their friends Jack and Karen, who all live in New York.
Will is an anal and meticulous lawyer who has trouble giving up control in not only his life, but Grace’s life too. Will finds himself constantly repressing what he really wants and has the emotional maturity of a five-year-old. Will often struggles to be open with his emotions and his identity as a gay man. Grace is a neurotic and impulsive interior designer who goes through love interests quicker than you’d go through a box of Kleenex during flu season. The very nature of Will and Grace is to rely extensively on one another to get through their everyday life and activities. Without each other, they tend to crash and burn into depressive states of anxiety and confusion, revealing the relatable and intense codependency some have with their best friends. She struggles under the weight of her insecurities, finding comfort in Will’s guidance. Together, they traverse a plethora of trials and tribulations, before ultimately, finding their bliss.
Jack is Will’s flamboyant, openly gay friend. Jack has a new job every episode, and although he aspires to be a successful actor, he represents a free-spirit in his ability to stay true to who he is. Despite the respect we have for his confidence in self-identity, Jack’s bold personality is shown as too much for other people to handle. He’s often flighty and self-centered but is a symbol of comedy in the sitcom and is my favorite character. Karen is an upper-class socialite who works as Grace’s assistant to escape her monotonous home life and feel useful in a life where she’s had everything handed to her. Her only sources of happiness are drinking, shopping and her friends (even though she has a hard time showing it). Karen provides comedic relief with her sarcastic and dry humor that often comes at the expense of other people.
These characters combine to create one of the funniest and most culturally-woke sitcoms. As the characters face the highs and lows of Manhattan life—from sex, dating, divorce, career hunting, personal insecurities, and cultural uncertainties. Another nice aspect of the show is that you can watch any episode and not be lost in the plot. Nothing’s off limits in this hilarious, Emmy-award winning comedy.
Monk: Amazon Prime
This Emmy award-winning comedy series follows the life and work of Adrian Monk (played by Tony Shalhoub), a homicide detective who developed obsessive-compulsive disorder after the horrific death of his beloved wife that was caused by a car bomb. Monk’s disorder is so intense that it would be debilitating to anyone else. However, with the help of an assistant and his desire to find his wife’s killer, Monk is able to fight against the odds and solve countless murders and crimes as a consultant for the local police department.
Monk has what seems to be a never-ending list of fears and phobias including germs, needles, milk, death, snakes, mushrooms, heights, crowds, elevators, naked people, wind and more. Because of these fears, he was unable to function as an active police officer and was stripped of his badge, but the department kept him on as a consultant because of his brilliance. As a consultant, he solves homicides that the department can’t find the answers to, and subverts crime scenes and situations in a way only he seems to understand. He’s a modern Sherlock Holmes with the impediment of crippling phobias.
The show chronicles his journey to find his wife’s killer and become reinstated as a full-time police officer. A nice element to watching this show is that viewers can watch the show out of order and still make sense of the episode and series as a whole if they choose. Along the way, we get to see him battle his fears and phobias in a comedic light as he takes on the role of the best detective in the world.
House M.D.: Amazon Prime
Hugh Laurie stars as the genius Dr. Gregory House in this television series. Laurie takes on the role of a painkiller addicted, obsessive genius who is the head of diagnostic medicine in the fictitious Princeton Plainsboro Teaching Hospital and specializes in solving cases of infectious diseases that stump other doctors. This show is more medically accurate than the dramatic Grey’s Anatomy series, House is an addictive TV show that has you begging for more of Laurie’s sarcastic wit and dry humor as well as his ingenious cures for ill patients.
Dr. House entertains viewers with the unrelenting mind games he plays on his young diagnostician team of doctors and best friend oncologist Dr. Wilson. While he constantly ridicules both, he shows that he wouldn’t be able to do what he’s best at without them: and that is solving bizarre medical cases while remaining relatively sane in the way that only House can.