This has been a stressful week/month/year/decade, and with a lot of uncertainty in our futures, that anxiety will probably continue. As I wrote in my newsletter this morning, entertainment and diversion services a vital role, especially in this time of social distancing. And I want to offer a little help.
There are endless options—and this week, many of you shared reality TV that gives you comfort— so this list is by no means exhaustive. Just a handful of recommendations for unscripted shows you may not have thought of immediately. Enjoy whatever you decide to watch or do! Take care of yourselves, and, of course, wash your hands.
But I just learned of this show, which is on YouTube and begins with Mary Berry saying, "I love it when the evenings draw in and there's a hint of wood smoke in the air—that's the time for comfort food."
In the first episode, she says, "I want to show you some of the hearty and comforting recipes that I always turn to."
Well, I will be turning to Mary Berry cooking comfort food to find comfort, and I'm grateful to have learned of this option.
Ken Burns once perfectly described how "narrative gives us comfort," and that's certainly true of his sweeping documentary series, which tell the story of the past and present through footage, artifacts, and experts.
Now, as actual baseball takes a break, Burns' 1994 documentary series Baseball is back streaming again, on all of PBS's free apps.
Okay, this former Travel Channel show isn't quiet, but if you want to watch someone smart and knowledgeable take control and solve problems in less than an hour, four of Hotel Impossible's seasons are on Amazon Prime Video.
This British show—two seasons are on Netflix—transports us to a new community in each episode, showing off the architecture and history of the UK's buildings, while inside, amateur designers make over rooms and spaces while being as kind and considerate as possible.
Blown Away, a Canadian series that's on Netflix, is far from perfect, but it showcases talented artisans and their work, which is in a medium that I knew nothing about before watching this show: glass blowing.
If you need reassurance that the world is full of good, kind people who respect each other's knowledge and expertise, and who want to help other people restore normalcy, give yourself several hours in The Repair Shop.
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Andy Dehnart is the creator of reality blurred and a writer and teacher who obsessively and critically covers reality TV and unscripted entertainment, focusing on how it’s made and what it means.
I value our community at reality blurred, which connects people through open and thoughtful conversations about the TV we’re watching and the stories about it.
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