Check It Out: TV Shows to Binge-Watch This Thanksgiving
It’s that time of year again. That time when young children double tap pictures of pumpkins and gross pumpkin flavored lattes. That time when everyone seems to have been robbed by the same thief, leaving them with only flannel clothing. That time when seniors rejoice from having submitted their early college applications, only to be once again crushed by having to work on their much longer list of regular decision applications. That time when the geese fly south and every bit of metal starts to shock anyone who dares to touch them.
But most importantly, it’s that time when we as a country come together to celebrate our rising obesity rates by eating sweet potato flavored marshmallows, baked bread, cranberry sauce, a very lean meat smothered in very rich gravy, and pies galore. As we take our five day reprieve from school, here are five TV shows to watch as you revel in your gluttonous stupor. For this list, I decided for no reason in particular to focus around a theme of gender. This list of shows to watch is in no particular order.
This character driven series, which is an Amazon Prime original, is an ingenious, thoughtful exploration of not just gender, but also human relationships, family, happiness, and so much more. The series is thrown into motion when Mort Pfefferman (played by the incredible Jeffrey Tambour), the patriarch of a Los Angelos upper-middle class Jewish family, comes out in his late sixties as transgendered. The show not only follows Mort turn Maura’s own transition from “Poppa” to “Moppa,” but also its ramifications on her seriously-flawed adult children and ex wife. This show is rich in imagery and stirring themes. Beware, however, despite being billed as a comedy, one should watch this with a box of tissue near.
This fantastic period-drama transports the viewer back to the year 1960, a time when married women were largely confined to their homes and single women confined to the secretary desk. This show explores, among many other things, what it meant to be a woman in a world where women were viewed as inferior to men, and how that changes and stays the same over the course of the 1960s. Betty Draper, wife of the show’s protagonist, Don Draper, embodies The Feminine Mystique. While seemingly having everything, a picturesque family and a house in the suburbs, yet she still feels an inexplicable emptiness. Peggy Olson, Don’s secretary, has the talent to be much more than just a secretary but has to battle at every turn to get the respect she deserves. Joan Solloway, the office manager, suffers as the idealized female professional of the time, with a nice body she is not afraid to flaunt and an ability to anticipate her male superiors many needs.
RuPaul’s Drag Race
Watch as ten men bend gender expectations to fight to prove they have the biggest personality. Each episode is filled to the brim with reality TV tension and fighting gold as the competing Drag Queens complete activities ranging from photoshoots, to Pitch Perfect style sing offs, to themed fashion challenges (eg: “Gone With the Windows” where contestants had to fashion dresses out of curtains, and “Pride Floats” where contestants had to wear giant bulky boats). Each week, host RuPaul picks the two weakest contestants and makes them “Lip Sync Battle for their lives” to determine who gets sent home.
It’s the funniest show currently on television. It has two female leads, one of which, Illana, us in my opinion basically just a caricature of Riverdale’s own Amanda Chiles (an aside: Ms. Schore-Lesnick claims that Illana is much closer to her than Amanda. I believe that Ms. Schore-Lesnick does have some qualities of Illana, but overall, I disagree). It’s also woke (except for when they appropriate other cultures). Just watch it already.
Parks and Recreation
She’s got a passion for public service that she will talk to you about until you fall asleep and wake up to find her still talking. Some say she tries too hard and over prepares, something she can retort with a 25-point, 3 binder self-review of her work. She’s from middle America. She’s got the hots for Joe Biden. She’s blond. No, she’s not Hillary Clinton. She’s Leslie Knope.
For all her talk of being a trailblazer, President-Elect Hillary Clinton will not be the first female to win the general election. That title belongs to Vice President Selina Meyers. This show started off as a satire, but now pales in comparison to our wacky reality. Still, that is no reason not to watch this whip-smart show about the inner-workings of DC. While House of Cards paints a dark and gloomy portrait of DC as a corrupt and merciless war zone, VEEP paints it as a sad city full of schmucks, egomaniacs, and foul mouthed public servants devoted to improving the country and their seat of power.
This HBO series turned movie is an excellent case study of everything wrong with men in America. Watch (as I inexplicably did for eight full seasons) as up and coming big shot actor Vince and his titular entourage climb their way to the top of Hollywood using nothing but their toxic masculinity. This show has it all: objectification of women, sexism, extreme homophobia, and the glorification of “bro” culture.