Have listicles ever been as popular as they have been over the past month? As of this Sunday (April 19), it’ll have been that long since the start of Gov. Gavin Newsom’s unprecedented stay-at-home order.
Maybe it’s a boredom thing or a need to connect with others during the COVID-19 pandemic, but my feed is full of friends sharing lists of the escapist variety. I’m talking purely entertainment: Five movies I never get tired of watching. Best post-apocalyptic novels/movies. Ten things other people like but I don’t.
I didn’t post any of them, but I did offer some comments. Movies: The Empire Strikes Back, Alien(s), The Silence of the Lambs, The Goonies, Pride and Prejudice (the Matthew Macfadyen one). Novels: The Road, by Cormac McCarthy. Dislikes: I played devil’s advocate to a friend who doesn’t like Steven Spielberg’s work by pointing to the deeper themes in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and making a case for Close Encounters of the Third Kind, another film I could watch over and over again.
Obviously, such lists are cathartic. Maybe it’s a search for shared experiences, a way for us to not feel so isolated during these lonely days.
Just this week, I had to tell one of my oldest friends—someone I’ve known for nearly 35 years and was visiting from out of state—that I couldn’t hang out with her. Believe me, I’d love nothing more than to sit by a bonfire at her family’s Orland ranch. Under normal circumstances, we’d talk about stupid stuff we did as kids and laugh till it hurts. What I wouldn’t give for that kind of medicine.
Anyhow, just because I haven’t gotten list happy doesn’t mean I don’t turn to various forms of media for comfort. In the spirit of sharing—and maybe bringing a little sunshine to readers during this dark time—here are just a few of them.
THIS CAT IS CHONKY: Here, I’ve joined some 713,000 strangers for comic relief via adorable—and, yes, plump as heck—felines. If thick cats make you smile, this is a group for you.
Himb A Good Boi: No species is off limits. Doggos, cats, opossums, hedgehogs, tortoises, snakes (aka noodles)—you name it. You’ll find its 121,000 members gushing here, too, many writing in the animal equivalent of baby talk (e.g., where hoomans wuv cooing over all da good bois and gorls).
Weird Secondhand Finds That Just Need To Be Shared: As its name implies, this group mostly features things picked up at thrift stores, antique stores, yard sales, estate sales, etc. Some are family heirlooms, while others are pulled out of dumpsters. Yes, some are weird, including the resin (aka “vomit”) pieces filled with random objects. But more often than not, the items are interesting and come with a great story. Some are funny and some are sentimental, such a recent post on century-old letters from a prisoner of war to his wife.
As a person who loves strange, old bric-à-brac and decor—and especially a good story—I find this group particularly entertaining. And with 1.8 million members, it’s extremely active.
On the small screen
I can’t think of a TV show to recommended more than Schitt’s Creek. I mean, sure, the modern small screen is filled with an embarrassment of riches. But, I’m telling you, this show is the perfect antidote to the heavy, dark political landscape we’ve lived in since 2017, not to mention the recent daily barrage of COVID-19 death tolls.
Short synopsis: Four members of the ultra-wealthy, eccentric Rose family—parents Johnny and Moira and adult siblings David and Alexis—go bankrupt and wind up living in a janky motel in middle-of-nowhere Schitt’s Creek. The riches to rags plot—a reverse take on The Beverly Hillbillies, if you will—is brilliantly told through an ensemble cast that includes Eugene Levy (the American Pie dad) and Catherine O’Hara (Kevin McCallister’s mom in Home Alone).
The rural hamlet is filled with oddballs and normies who are central to the evolution of the Roses. Indeed, turns out losing their fortune allows them to find themselves. You’ll laugh a lot, but you’ll probably cry, too. And who doesn’t need a little weepy time right about now?
I was late to the party on Schitt’s Creek. My mom tried for years to get me to tune in, but I did so only last year. Better late than never. The show aired its series finale last week, which means you can binge-watch all six seasons. When you’re finished, join one of Facebook’s fan groups and obsess about each episode with folks who will quickly become your new “Schitty family.”