Comfort in the familiar: What to re-watch in a pandemic

BU News Service Staff

As Hollywood studios scramble to release their blockbusters at home, and everyone and their mother seems to be putting out a streaming service, there’s no shortage of new films and TV to watch while stuck at home. If anything, there’s too many choices. Sometimes when the world is so unpredictable, the only thing that can ease a frantic mind is sinking back into a fictional well-known world. Here’s what four BUNS contributors are re-watching.

Relive twenty years worth of “Survivor”

By Kaitlyn Riggio
BUNS Contributor

“Survivor” has been a staple in my selection of frequently watched television shows for as long as I can remember. Watching the latest episode at 8 p.m. on Wednesday nights might as well be a weekly tradition in my family.

“This is Extortion – Michele Fitzgerald, Ben Driebergen, Sophie Clarke, Jeremy Collins, Kim Spradlin, Tony Vlachos, Denise Stapley, Nick Wilson and Sarah Lacina at Tribal Council on the Eleventh episode of “Survivor: Winners at War.” Photo courtesy of CBS Entertainment

The amount of “Survivor” I’ve been watching has only gone up as I’ve been stuck in the house. In between installments of the current 40th all-winner-themed season, “Winners at War,” I’ve been re-watching old seasons with my family. Going back and forth illustrates how much “Survivor” has evolved as a show and a game over the course of its 20-year run.

In early seasons, like 2001’s “Australian Outback,” the contestants seemed more focused on forming genuine human connections and having an adventure than trying to win the game. It felt more like a social experiment than a competitive reality show. On the other hand, “Winners at War” is full of nearly constant strategic moves. Every move any player makes is to advance themselves further in the game and increase their chances of cementing their place in “Survivor” history as one of the greatest winners, on one of the greatest shows, of all time.

Indulge in the absurdity of “90210”

By Katharine Swindells
Arts and Opinion Editor

On April 12, as the world adjusted to the new reality of lockdown, Shanae Grimes, best known as Annie Wilson in the 2008 spin-off of the 90s “Beverly Hills, 90210” franchise, posted a new video on her YouTube channel. Amidst cheesy mommy blogger vids, this one, which shows her and fellow “90210” co-stars re-watching the famously terrible finale. I watched all 12 minutes in a glorious daze and knew instantly that a re-watch of the early 2010s show was the perfect antidote to coronavirus dissociation.

Because “90210” is, let’s be clear, utterly absurd and totally brilliant, and like a fine wine, it only gets more brilliant with age. It follows the lives of Annie and her brother Dixon as they move from Kansas to West Beverly High School in California, and make friends (and enemies) with their exorbitantly wealthy and high-drama new classmates.

Fabulously rich and richly fabulous Naomi Clark is, of course, the star of the show, amongst an extremely good looking but also lackluster cast. But what it lacks in character depth, this show more than makes up for with the wild plot. In between endless hookups, breakups and betrayals, it manages to include some truly bizarre plotlines including manslaughter, copyright infringement of a dead pop star and faking HIV. Not to mention the iconic noughties outfit choices.

Solve the world’s problems with “Parks and Recreation”

By Anoushka Dalmia
BUNS Contributor

Watching Leslie Knope control and fix every ridiculous problem that is thrown her way helps me ignore that the world is collapsing around me, destroying any illusion of routine or direction.

Photo from the “Parks and Recreation episode “One Last Ride.” Photo courtesy of Colleen Hayes / NBCUniversal Media

Set in the fictional town of Pawnee, Indiana, “Parks and Recreation” follows a group of reluctant government employees, led by the ambitious, kooky Knope, as they try to make their town a better place to live. The work isn’t glamorous, their lives aren’t riveting.

But the comfort lies in the mundanity of their struggles. One day they’re trying to prevent the spread of STDs among seniors through illegal sex education classes. On another, they’re bickering with a middle-aged man who wants to include Twilight in the city’s time capsule. On most days, however, they’re swooning over a miniature horse named Li’l Sebastian.

This show is witty and devilishly funny, but what brings me back often is its ability to anchor. Above all, this is a series that celebrates the differences in people and their ability to navigate the ups and downs of life with love, and a little bit of craziness.

Find a home away from home in “Gilmore Girls” and Stars Hollow

By Kendall Tamer
Copy Editor

The opening theme song for the Gilmore Girls says “Where you lead, I will follow,” and I am letting Rory and Lorelei lead me into binge-watching their antics for the millionth time. With the world turned upside down, sometimes we just need comfort and what could be more comforting than an old favorite? 

The show’s setting, a fabricated Connecticut town called Stars Hollow, is like a worn sweater in the form of a place. Everyone knows everyone, everyone goes to the same little diner, they have adorable town festivals complete with costumes and hi-jinks, and there is a cast of silly characters always up to something. Between vast antique shops, picnic basket auctions and cup after cup of Luke’s coffee, Stars Hollow and its colorful cast of townspeople is the perfect place to get lost in. 

Lorelei, the vibrant and fast-talking mother and her daughter, Rory, the bookish and sarcastic second, can entertain for hours. The script is loaded with pop culture references that viewers can enjoy pinpointing, and the comedically timed delivery of the actresses is the ultimate distraction from your real-world-woes.

Anyone currently mourning their college life can relish in the later seasons, when Rory goes to college to study journalism, and join in having mixed feelings over her romance with a character we all love to hate. And the “will-they-won’t they” suspense between Lorelei and potential romantic encounter, Luke Danes, is enough to keep me holding on until the very end.

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