Old favorite TV shows bring comfort during crisis

In times of stress, watching a favorite TV show from the past might ease the pain

We’re now approaching the one-month mark of quarantine. Rumors of another month being tacked on to the end are being spread around social media and others are hopeful we have only a few more weeks. Regardless of the amount of time we have been inside, we are going to start running out of ideas soon. More specifically, we are going to run out of TV shows.

‘What exactly do you do when you run out of things to watch?’ Well, you watch your favorites all over again. Some networks are ahead of the game: USA is doing a “binge-a-thon” of every “Psych” episode ever on their network, and it won’t be a surprise if others follow suit. Netflix didn’t always have originals — old TV shows are their thing.

In times of stress, we search for comfort. This period of time may carry the largest amount of collective stress we have ever experienced together, so it makes sense that we are returning to our favorite shows. “Parks and Recreation” will always be there for you, if you are wondering. You can turn to any of the girls when you need them — “Gilmore Girls” and “Gossip Girl.” If your comfort is more of an ironic one, “Criminal Minds” might be what you put on. Do I even need to mention “The Office?” My parents have even been watching “Cheers.” No matter what it is, classics and past favorites will always provide a level of comfort that new TV shows just don’t.

Our favorite shows taught us things we want to be reminded of in times like these. A lot of them are funny, sarcastic or at least have an underlying theme of ‘everything is going to be okay.’ The detective always solves the case, the couple always ends up together, the doctor always finds the cure. These shows are not happy all the way through, but they make your heart full — something we are all searching for a little more right now. Today’s shows, while incredibly produced and well-written, are a lot of the time … sad. We haven’t gotten to the happy ending of this pandemic yet, so watching shows that have might give us that false sense of security.

No matter what is going on around us, we can’t control most of our lives or what others are doing. We can control what we do with ourselves and that’s the extent of it. Everything around us is causing us stress: the curve, the family members we are confined with and the information on social media. Bingeing probably seems like one of the least important things to care about right now, and what’s on TV probably is — but your mental health is not. So, if skipping the new shows for once and opting for one you know every word of brings you even an ounce of comfort, go for it.

Edited by George Frey | gfrey@themaneater.com

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