5 SHOWS TO WATCH FOR THE TENTH TIME AND 5 TO REFLECT OUR CRIPPLING DESCENT INTO MADNESS

Rewatching TV shows isn’t anything new, but given the fact we won’t be seeing much new pop culture for as long as we’re stuck inside (and until we can have large social gathering events, which could take even longer), the future of what we watch is in the past. 

After the World Health Organisation (WHO) advised against large social gatherings and practise social distancing to lower the spread of Covid-19, HBO decided to postpone production of Euphoria’s second season. Shortly after that, a Riverdale crew member was reported to be in contact with someone who tested positive for coronavirus and production came to a red stop. Then, Netflix announced it was postponing the production of all of its projects for the seeable future. 

So, where does that leave us? 

Well, bar the few shows that are coming in the next few weeks, we’re likely to not see any new TV shows or films on Netflix in the coming six months. So, basically, now’s the perfect time to revisit some of our faves, with streaming services even pumping them out as if they’re Netflix originals. 

As The Atlantic’s Derek Johnson puts it, we rewatch old TV shows and movies we love because it can be therapeutic, let us experience a passage of time and reflect from when we last watched it, is nostalgic and, well, reminds us why we love it. 

So, with that said, here are five good shows we could watch again and again in self-isolation, and five that we love but remind us of our growing descent into madness (I am on the verge of baking a new circle of friends).

Five feel good shows that we can watch again and again

Avatar: The Last Airbender (Netflix)

“My girlfriend turned into the moon.”
“That’s rough buddy.”

Avatar: The Last Airbender is the pinnacle of cartoon culture in the ‘00s and a real feel-good show. Inspired by anime, eastern philosophy and Nickelodeon goofs, the series has such great moments, incredible character development and stylish action. I mean, my cabbages, the beach episode, the boulder, literally anything to do with Toph…I could go on.

FYI, Avatar: The Last Airbender is a fantasy cartoon series about a ragtag group of elemental teens on their quest to stop an empirical nation from taking over the world. One day, water-tribe siblings Katara and Sokka awaken a young boy frozen in ice and discover he’s the Avatar, a powerful being who can control the four elements: earth, wind, water and fire. What follows is a super enjoyable time, filled with laughs, intense action and a wonderfully big loaf of a fluffy creature called Appa. 

I’m a big fan of The Legend of Korra and Bolin, and recc you rewatch that, too. Do it not just for me but for my anime boyfriend Bolin. 

Side note: we’re big fans of A:TLA here at Syrup. We’ve all talked about what bender we’d be (some water, others earth), what the cast’s instas would be like (Azula would 100% have a smoking thot fitness profile and Katara would post retro photography or be a plant mum), and looking forward to catching up after all this mess for a marathon (from book one to four babyyy). 

Please Like Me (Netflix)

While sometimes bordering the line of sad and too real, Please Like Me is a wonderfully wholesome and down to earth show about the ups and downs of being in your early to mid 20s. Ngl, it’s a huge mood rn, even while in self-isolation. I find myself turning to it when I’m dealing with heartbreak or an awkward situation and need something that will make me feel less crappy as a person. 

Awkwardly charismatic Josh Thomas and the show’s cast are horrible people who are trying their best not to be. They’re self aware and grounded in that they’re relatable people with real problems and awkwardly poor ways of handling them, which is what makes the show such a joy to watch.

In fact, this isn’t that bold of a statement but it’s the best of Australian TV in the last ten years. 

Parks & Recreation (Stan)

“Leslie, I typed your symptoms into the computer and it says you have network connectivity problems.”

Cut as a faux documentary about the daily events of the fictional town of Pawnee and the half a brain cell crew of its Parks and Recreation office (an american government-owned institution that handles local council matters) Parks & Recreation is great fun and full of wonderfully stupid moments that border on reality.  

There are so many fun episodes and little moments to revisit in this show: any of the town meetings, Ron Swanson’s 360 degree desk, Ron Swanson’s permit to do whatever he wants, Janet Snakehole, Megan Mullaly’s, Ben Schwartz and Jenny Slate’s cameos, the final epilogue season…It’s another really great show about people trying to do their job and dealing with stupid people, sometimes including themselves.

Plus, I love going back to season two and reminding myself of old Chris Pratt and how beautiful and innocently dumb his character Andy Dwyer was. Truly, a golden retriever reincarnated as an infectiously sweet manchild.

Can you tell I have a type?

Steven Universe (Stan)

Much like Please Like Me, Steven Universe is a comfort show. I listen to its music to feel good, I revisit old fight scenes and performances, and sometimes, I decide fuck it, and rewatch the show’s entire five seasons, film and, now, epilogue series. 

As I wrote when Steven Universe Future aired, the show is a camp love letter to musical theatre, anime, queer pop culture, and has taught me a lot. So, to me, it feels like therapy. No matter which episode you watch, revisiting Steven Universe feels like coming home to a nice big warm hug. It’s just really nice and wholesome. 

RuPaul’s Drag Race All Stars: Seasons 2-4 (Stan)

So here’s the thing, we all agree that the first season of All Stars was a mess. The teams were a bad idea, the gaff show was a bad idea, it was all just a big missed opportunity.

But, fortunately, the rest of the All Stars seasons are genuinely good fun. We could just as easily include original RuPaul’s Drag Race seasons here, but the best part about All Stars is seeing some of the show’s most memorable personalities from across the seasons interact.

Plus, All Stars season two to four had some of the most gag-worthy and funniest moments in reality TV. I’m speaking of course to the “facecrack of the century,” when Phi Phi talked about Alyssa Edwards behind her back after she was eliminated only for it to be revealed she was watching them from behind the mirror; BenDelaCreme’s shocking self-elimination and the drama between the returning girls and top 5 in All Stars 3; and literally anything between Monique and Monet in All Stars 4.

Five chaotic shows that reflect our crippling descent into madness

The Eric Andre Show (YouTube)

If you want to watch something that’s not only wild and uncontrollable but will feel like you’re having a panic attack or hallucination while watching, please rewatch old interview clips from The Eric Andre Show on YouTube. 

In it, comedian Eric Andre plays the host of a low-budget absurdist talk show with his straight right hand man Hannibal Burgess. They invite a plethora of guests—some fake, some real—and try to make them as uncomfortable as possible.

For some, that might mean smashing the desk, cutting to a close up of sweating Tyler, The Creator, bringing on actors that look like them and their guest James Van Der Beek and mimicking their every action to make their guest uncomfortable, or, simply, bring a live bear on stage. 

It’s like if someone combined the absurdism of Twin Peaks, the concept of late night talk shows and chaotic and feral energy found on the internet, and invited people into its doors. 

Or, as I like to call it, a Friday night between me, myself and I.

Tim and Eric (YouTube)

For something in the sketch comedy route, we recommend Tim and Eric, another bizarre Comedy Central show that’s given us a bunch of great memes. 

From “it’s free real estate,” to galaxy brain to “it’s spaghett,” Tim and Eric’s comedy is unhinged and absurd. Like The Eric Andre Show, it gives us a little hint at what society will be like months into this self-isolation period.

And yes, that is Paul Rudd.

Glee (Netflix)

Look, I won’t lie to you. I loved Glee as a kid. I was…a Gleek. And, I’m ashamed of it.

At the time, Glee felt revolutionary. It was the first time I watched an actual queer character’s story on TV, where I really stepped into the wild and wonderful world of fandoms and fanfiction and read some *ahem* interesting work. But, we have to be real here: the writing is goddamn horrific and the show does not hold up in the slightest. 

I mean, Rachel Berry sends a girl to a crackhouse instead of an audition because she feels threatened by her singing ability. I’m sorry but what. the. fuck. 

But for that reason alone, it’s good to revisit Glee. When the world is falling apart and we can’t get much bad TV anymore, it’s important to look back on the past and cringe. 

Still losing it over the fact the show didn’t give Tina a solo until the group performed Psy’s “Gangnam Style.” 

Twin Peaks (Stan)

Twin Peaks starts off as a simple murder mystery in a peaceful whimsical town near the Canadian border. Then, as things start to develop and detective Dale Cooper discovers a bellowing underworld, alternate selves and a super weird red curtained room with a talking brain tree…it gets weird.

With its feature prequel film Fire Walk With Me and 2017’s Twin Peaks: The Return season, the series goes the extra mile and becomes straight up unhinged, absurdist and scary. 

Things are dialed up so much that it no longer feels real, much like my life in self-isolation right now. It’s been so long since I’ve talked to another human being that I’m going to come out of this speaking backwards gibberish.

Neon Genesis Evangelion (Netflix)

Now look, I’m not saying that the apocalyptic events of 2020 so far could mean we’re about to witness Third Impact, the cataclysmic event in Neon Genesis Evangelion that causes the end of the world, I’m saying it’s already happened. We just don’t have an eco-sustainable Eva for Greta Thunberg to pilot yet.

On the surface, Neon Genesis Evangelion is a cult classic anime TV series about teens piloting giant mechs, fighting off alien creatures called Angels and slowly losing their minds doing so, but really, it’s a lot more than that. Creator Hideaki Anno made the series while he was experiencing severe depression and his struggles with mental health translated into the show’s writing and imagery in an incredibly cathartic and therapeutic way. 

Through its characters’ individual struggles with identity, belonging and attachment, Anno explores depression, isolation and mental health in a medium that it hadn’t really done quite at the time it first debuted in the ‘90s. Plus, it’s visuals are incredibly visceral and experimental, with people continuing to dissect its symbolism to this day. 

With the final reboot film scheduled to come out in June in Japan (or later this year considering things), it’s also the perfect time to rewatch it and go insane.

Julian Rizzo-Smith is a writer and producer. He also claims to be a vine historian, avid connoisseur of low-fi beats, indie hip hop and Kermit memes. In a perfect world, he’d be married to Tyler the Creator, own an Arcanine and a Lapras, and don his own Sailor Scouts uniform. He tweets @GayWeebDisaster, which is also, coincidentally, how one might describe him.

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