In the last year of COVID-19 and lockdown, there’s been one thing that the majority of us have relied upon to get us through the endless days – the television. With limited social interaction and few outside activities to help us to chill out after a long day at work, television has become our primary method of entertainment. Streaming services have taken over our lives to a certain extent, from Netflix to Amazon Prime Video to Disney+, we now have more programmes to watch than ever before.
However, whilst we have more shows to watch than ever before, we also have more and more plots to follow and hosts of characters to remember. Sometimes all you want at the end of the day is a little light relief, something that makes you smile and isn’t too taxing on your already worn out brain. Hence, this blog!
Below you will find a few suggestions for gentle, amusing, zero brain-strain telly watching… Enjoy!
Benidorm – all seasons available to stream on Netflix UK
What to say about the sitcom that got my boyfriend and I through the worst of lockdown? It’s crass, colourful and made me snort laugh on a regular basis! Back when we were told to stay at home and life became one long computer screen, day after day, we’d find our brains continually fried after work and just needed something to take the edge off. Benidorm was it for us!
This show is full of characters that you absolutely would not want to go on holiday with but secretly find fascinating! From the weathered, foul-mouthed grandma to the requisite lothario barman to the middle-aged, completely inappropriate swingers, there really are a multitude of gentle laughs and insane plotlines that anyone can enjoy. Plus, you can pretty much dip in and out without really having to pay attention to the plot. It’s easy watching for the brain and never fails to make you smirk.
Don’t Tell the Bride – all seasons available to stream on All 4
Now, I was never the kind of little girl who planned and fantasised about having a wedding. I don’t own a wedding scrapbook, have never looked at a bridal magazine and have never stared in the window of a bridal shop dreaming of what I’d look like in ‘THAT’ dress. But I realise that alot of women do, which is why I find it so hard to believe that they would put their fairytale wedding in the hands of their hapless grooms to organise!
Honestly, some of these grooms have absolutely no bloody clue what a wedding even is! They think it’s a bloody fancy dress party! Oh the tears from the bride to be, the anger of the mother of the bride, the total stupidity of the groom – it’s car crash TV at it’s best. I just can’t look away. I’m shocked that half of these marriages even go ahead. The majority of the grooms are so bloody selfish, I often find myself slack-jawed and shouting ‘don’t marry him!’ at the telly. It totally takes my mind off work though. I’m also completely sure that I’d never let my boyfriend plan our wedding on his own – I’d probably end up in a bloody Wonder Woman outfit! I’d really love my mother to give me away in that – Not!
The Big Bang Theory/That 70’s Show – available to stream on Netflix
I’m sure I’m not the only person in my 30’s that grew up on half-hour American sitcoms like ‘Cheers’ and ‘Roseanne’. Whilst those shows now look quite dated (trust me, I’ve looked), there are plenty of worthy successors out there to replace them and provide you with that nostalgic, warm glow. My personal favourites during Lockdown were ‘The Big Bang Theory’ as I’m a bit of a geek and ‘That 70’s Show’ as it’s all about growing up. Well, they both are about growing up really.
Key ingredients for this type of programme are – a group of quirky characters living together/growing up together, characters hooking up with different characters around a central couple who are constantly in a state of will they/won’t they and a secondary cast of wise but imperfect parents who impart life lessons and prove to be far more outrageous than their children. Job done! Half an hour of gentle laughs and simple plots – what more could your tired brain ask for?
Naked and Afraid – current season available to watch on the Discovery channel
Idiots in the wilderness. That’s really what this show is all about. Take two perfect strangers (a man and a woman) who are so-called ‘survival experts’, get them naked and stick them in the arse-end of nowhere for 30 days with just some hessian bags and a couple of tools that they get to pick beforehand. Chaos ensues. Don’t get me wrong, some of these couples really do know what they are doing – they can hunt, make fire, build a camp, gather water etc. But for the most part, there’s generally one partner who’s a bit shit.
They whinge, they moan, they make themselves sick eating and drinking stuff that you’d think they’d know not to and generally make each other’s lives a misery. From the vegetarian who thought she could survive on sunlight and leaves to the guy who went ‘hunting’ all day (when really he was having a kip whilst his poor partner did all the camp work), this is just another level of shock and awe that your brain will not believe. Plus the producers seem to be putting these couples in increasingly more dangerous places like flooded areas of rainforest, African deserts and mountainous terrain – I’m actually convinced they want someone to die or be seriously injured! Every time we watch it, my boyfriend still insists he’d have everything sorted out in the first few days and we’d survive no problems in the wilderness! I think not, although watching other people try to do it is thoroughly entertaining!
Ghosts – all seasons available to stream on BBC iPlayer
Rentaghost for grown-ups. This series is just delightful and harks back to classic BBC sitcoms that you may have watched growing up. The story revolves around a young couple who inherit an old country pile that is home to a plethora of ghosts. Not just ghosts; funny ghosts with issues.
The show is full of cracking one-liners that regularly make me laugh out loud and elbow the boyfriend in the ribs. Watch out for the caveman – he’s a gem of a character. If you’re looking for gentle, funny, sitcom-era telly, then look no further than this overlooked jewel in the crown of the BBC’s comedy options. It’s not too taxing on the brain and thoroughly entertains!
I hope that these recommendations provide you with some options to help to switch off your brains after a long day at work. A bit of easy-watching goes a long way in this hectic world we live in and I hope they raise a smile too!