Wednesday, June 17, 2020

Sara and Melissa talk about....TV shows

We've been running a column series to get more personal with our readers. This month, we're talking about our favorite TV shows, just to keep things light and fun. Maybe you'll find something to binge watch after reading this!

We're always open to topic suggestions, so please don't hesitate to share those in the comments. We'd also love to know if you can relate to anything we've said or hear your own thoughts on the topic. So don't be shy. :) We look forward to getting to know you as much as we're letting you get to know us. You can find our previous columns here, in case you missed them.

Sara Steven:

Those who know me would most likely describe me as an outdoorsy, fitness-minded individual. I appreciate a nice hike through the Arizona desert, a run in my neighborhood, and during Coronavirus times I’ve managed to convince my children to join me on bike rides and walks, or the occasional Barre workout video I managed to find on Youtube. While I appreciate the healthy side to life, I must admit to a little secret that only my closest friends and family are aware of.

I’m a closeted couch potato.

It’s a habit I’ve held onto since childhood, starting with my Saturday morning cartoons, or the summer vacations that brought about some of my favorite television shows on channels like Nickelodeon. Sure, I appreciate the great outdoors, but I’ve always felt like a great show is like a means to an end for my relaxation needs. Sometimes, it’s proven to be a great helper for my sanity, a chance to unwind and not think about the stressors of life. Call it an escape, or a tool in my toolbox, but I love the time I get on the couch, losing myself within great dialogue, even greater characters, oftentimes leaving me on the edge of a major cliffhanger or allowing me to solve the great puzzles that often come from suspenseful scenarios. Given everything going on in our world today and the fact that so many of us are living within a Groundhog Day-type scenario on repeat, more and more people are seeking the same means of escape that I do. ‘Tis the season for binge-watching, so I’d like to share what I’m either currently watching, or what I’ve recently finished watching, so you might possibly add a few new shows to your own repertoire.

90 Day Fiance, Any of Them (TLC): I never thought I’d get into this show, or any of the 90 Day Fiance shows, as much as I have. I’d held off on watching it, even after Melissa had suggested it. But, it sucked me in and it’s become a great conversation piece with friends and even my mother-in-law! Not to mention the opportunities at impersonating many of the cast from several different seasons. Debbie and her infamous “I’M DONE!” is my favorite.


Desperate Housewives (Hulu): When Desperate Housewives originally aired in the fall of 2004, I wasn’t interested in seeing it. It appeared to be a foo-fooey type show, yet I recently decided to give it a chance, just to see what all the fuss had been about. After the first few episodes, I was HOOKED. It’s so much more, with so many layers, not to mention the suspense, the danger, the twists and turns. This show is so much more than it seems. It’s worth a watch!

Fuller House (Netflix): This was a slice of my childhood, brought back to life. I never realized how important the show had been to me in my youth, until I got to relive the experiences all over again with the reboot.

Insecure (HBO): I’d watch any show or movie, just to see Issa Rae. There is something almost magical about her, where you can’t really turn away or do much else, other than engage with each and every scene she’s part of. You want to see what she’ll do next.

Killing Eve (AMC): Two dynamic female characters, the kind that you love to hate, and hate to love, along with a lot of mystery and intrigue.

Queer Eye (Netflix): I’m not much of a crier, but this show gets me teary eyed with nearly every episode. While the Queer Eye cast intends on helping someone with their outer appearance as well as the environment they surround themselves with, it’s so much more than that. It’s an all-over feel good from the inside, out.

Reunited Apart with Josh Gad (YouTube): This 30-some minute show that is always for a good cause fills me with joy, with every single episode aired. The last one that recently aired had been most of the cast of Ghostbusters, and I was instantly filled with childhood nostalgia. The next one: Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. I can’t wait.

Teen Mom (MTV): I know, I know. This is one of my guilty pleasures, whether it’s the original Teen Mom, or Teen Mom 2. I’m admitting to it.

Upload (Amazon): Melissa recommended this one to me, and I’m so glad she did! The show consists of an interesting premise where the afterlife is concerned, with equal parts humor and intrigue.

Westworld (HBO): I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about Westworld, but I was instantly hooked after the first episode! The science fiction aspect combined with old time roots that are based on the original Westworld movie from 1973 really sticks with you. And who can forget: “It doesn’t look like anything to me.”

Workin’ Moms (Netflix): The trials and tribulations of motherhood, told from a really humorous perspective that doesn’t hold back on any of the punches!

Melissa Amster:

I was originally going to do a top ten list of my favorite TV shows, but then realized it was nearly impossible. So I've decided, instead, to talk about shows I was hooked on during different parts of my life.

I was introduced to cable during my elementary school years, and along with that, Fairie Tale Theatre. It was this show where famous people acted out fairy tales. Some of the stories were much darker than Disney, but it went over my head during my childhood. I also enjoyed Fraggle Rock a lot. And then there was Nickelodeon, with Today's Special, Nick Rocks, and You Can't Do That on Television. When I was in middle school, Don't Just Sit There and Fifteen consumed my time after school. I was addicted to Double Dare at one point in time, as well. On network TV, I loved Family Ties (I had such a crush on Michael J. Fox) and Punky Brewster. I was also really into an animated series called Beverly Hills Teens. And then came Full House when I was in sixth grade. D.J. and Stephanie reminded me of myself and my sister. That show stuck with me throughout middle school, high school, and into my first year of college.

When I was in high school, I didn't watch as much TV. I was more into movies during those years. However, I enjoyed Saved by the Bell, Degrassi High, Saturday Night Live, and Ren and Stimpy. During my senior year, I started getting into Seinfeld. During the summer between high school and college, I was introduced to Animaniacs and became addicted to it. I (sort of) met the actor who does Wakko's voice. (At least he let me take a picture of him at an event at our local mall.) Some other shows I really enjoyed during my college years were Party of Five, The X-Files, Dawson's Creek, My So-Called Life (I met Ricky in person!!!), South Park, and, of course, Friends. I still watched Saturday Night Live occasionally. You're probably wondering why I haven't mentioned Beverly Hills 90210. I watched it in the first couple of seasons and then lost interest. Later I got back into it, only to lose interest again. It was a fair-weather show for me.

Jess Harnell a.k.a. Wakko Warner

My sister and I with Wilson Cruz in 2003 (he was in Tick, Tick, Boom)

After college, I stayed hooked on Friends and Dawson's Creek while they were still hanging around. Freaks and Geeks premiered the autumn after I graduated and I was really into that show. Too bad it was only one season (just like My So-Called Life). After one of my close friends came out to me, I started watching Will and Grace and it reminded me of our friendship a lot. We even had another mutual friend whom I referred to as Jack. I also was a big fan of Sex and the City and Six Feet Under.

When my husband and I were dating, we would watch South Park and Family Guy together, and later we got into Curb Your Enthusiasm. The autumn after we got married, a woman at work told me about Desperate Housewives and I couldn't get enough of it. My husband got into it and we'd watch together. I'm now enjoying it vicariously through Sara and remembering things I forgot. After I became a mom for the first time, I started watching Ugly Betty, Firefly (another one-season hit), and Arrested Development (the latter two were with my husband, as he thought Ugly Betty was the same as The Devil Wears Prada.) There was a point in time when I was into American Idol, but it only lasted a couple of seasons (one of them being the season with Adam Lambert). Leading me into the next decade were Glee and 90210 (the new series on the CW that I liked way more than the original).

This past decade has brought some great television entertainment, thanks to Netflix and Hulu for the most part. (Although network stations did account for a bunch of favorites, as well.) I am just going to list the majority of shows I have loved between 2010 and now (in no particular order): Orphan Black, Stranger Things, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, Younger, The Bold Type, Jane the Virgin, How I Met Your Mother, The Goldbergs, Schooled, Manifest,The Mindy Project, This is Us, A Million Little Things, Fuller House, Modern Family, Will and Grace (reboot), Parenthood, Smash, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Pen15, and The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. I recently watched and loved Upload, Unorthodox, Little Fires Everywhere, Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, Never Have I Ever, and Dead to Me. I am currently halfway through Schitt's Creek and can't get enough of it! And my guilty pleasure these days is 90 Day Fiance, like Sara mentioned above (as I got her into it and now we talk about it all the time).

So there you have the couch potato side of me. Did you see any of your favorites listed here? Did this bring back some memories? Please let me know in the comments.

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