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As a creature of habit I like to do the same things over and over. I re-visit places I love for holidays (New York, anyone?), read the same books time and time again and watch my favourite movies thrice a year. I guess I find the repetition of these things comforting, like a long warm hug from someone you really love.
I’m exactly the same with TV shows. I’m one of those people who finds it really hard to sit down and give a programme I’ve never seen my whole attention – I totally blame Social Media and the fact my kids leave me sleep deprived for this – so my favourite thing to do is watch an old favourite TV show while I potter around in the background, working or tidying.
The amazing Dr Foster is of course excluded from this. I am glued to the screen come Tuesday evenings #TeamGemma.
There are TV shows that I love so much that I know their characters better that some of my best friends, I care more about what happens to their fictional relationships than I do my own and feel their sadnesses as deep as they would if they existed. And rather than that being a sign of me needing to get a hobby, I like to think it’s a result of really clever scriptwriting and acting.
So here’s what I’ll be watching the next time I’m sobbing while folding the washing…
The Good Wife
If I’m ever feeling a bit wobbly at work or like I’m suffering from a little Imposter Syndrome, The Good Wife is the one. Bouncing back after her high-profile husband has a public affair, the main character Alicia Florrick is total #careergoals. She returns to work after years out looking after her kids and totally owns the Law firm she starts working at… while being the most poised and elegant (fictional) woman I know.
I basically love her: I want to be her when I grow up. And after that I want to be Diane Lockhart.
Although I will never forgive Grey’s Anatomy creator Shonda Rhimes for her cold-hearted twists in this show, it’s one I’ve loved long time. Nothing has ever made me sob so uncontrollably or feel more emotionally invested in TV characters than Grey’s, and though the plot gets a little far-fetched at times (train crash/dying of hiccups/gunman/ferry crash/bomb/plane crash/sinkhole, anyone?) it’s always a programme I watch all the way through once a year.
True story: back in the day when I was on Guardian Soulmates, my tagline (yes, they make you write an excruciatingly awkward tagline) was ‘Jeremy Seeks Mark’. Only one person acknowledged and understood what that meant, and that is why I am not in love with anyone I’ve ever met on Guardian Soulmates.
Peep Show has given me some of the best quotes ever from a TV show: “Brown for first course, white for pudding. Brown’s savoury, white’s the treat. Of course I’m the one who’s laughing because I actually love brown toast.” – I love Mark.
Or my favourite from Superhans, which I roll out on Facebook every time a General Election comes around: “People like Coldplay and voted for the Nazis. You can’t trust people, Jeremy”. Exactly.
The Real Housewives of…
I will quite happily devour any and all iterations of The Real Housewives franchise. All day every day.
I first got into the original show, The Real Housewives of the OC, while on maternity leave with Elfie, and was straight away addicted: New York soon followed, then New Jersey and Beverley Hills. The Real Housewives of Cheshire is a recent love, as are the Melbourne and Sydney versions. Bangkok is on its way (yay!) and I can’t wait.
I can’t even put my finger on what I love so much about the show. The sheer displays of consumerism are jaw dropping and on the odd occasion slightly aspirational (Heather’s megamansion!!), and the drama – though probably fictional or at least embellished – always has me hooked. This is properly wonderful trash TV.
Set in New York City with a slightly awkward protagonist, GIRLS has always been the anti-Sex and the City. To be honest, at the age of 32 having been through a couple of relationships and my own divorce I now find Carrie et al teeth-grindingly annoying: Big’s a fuckboy/commitment-phobe and Carrie’s a self-obsessed whiner who seemingly earns enough writing one column a week to keep her in rent, cocktails and Manolos (facts which won’t stop me watching the show til the day I die, however).
In contrast Girls feeds my soul, with characters the most relatable than I’ve ever seen. I recognise so much of my own early twenties as a woman finding her way in a big city through the adventures I watched on-screen. Plus, Lena Dunham is a genius and her character of Hannah Horvath owns one of the top quotes of all time, second only to Superhans: “I have work, and then I have a dinner thing. And then I am busy, trying to become who I am.”
That was – and is – basically my life.
What shows can you watch over and over again?