In light of our feelings about the 2016 US presidential election, we work through some of our feelings and have a conversation about how notionally “frivolous” TV and TV criticism are still important, and how they will continue to be important going forward.
Then, we go into some comfort TV shows that you can use to make yourself feel just a little better if you’re feeling as bad as we are. And also: dick jokes??!
As a break between TV book clubs, we turn to a broader topic this week - houses and apartments on TV. We kick things off with a TV vs TV debate between Andrew and Kathryn over the best, most memorable TV house. As per usual, Margaret is forced to make a somewhat arbitrary but ultimately binding decision. There are no take-backs in TV vs TV court.
After the debate, we turn to a bigger discussion of the role of houses on TV. What makes a good one? What makes a TV home distracting? Which is better, Joey and Chandler's apartment, or Monica and Rachel's? Is there a difference between three-cam sitcom houses, and single-cam ones? What about dramas versus comedies?
This week we kick things off by making three of the next great TV shows using a fun tool of the same name from The Ringer. Then, we wrap up our TV Book Club segment on Veep, something that seemed a lot more fun before we had to confront our present political reality.
Speaking of that, this episode was recorded in mid-October when this devastating loss seemed all but impossible. We make jokes to that effect toward the end of the show. They’re hard to listen to now, but we’re leaving them in on the off chance that it helps any of you remember what it was like to feel normal.
For the final installment of our fall Good TV/Bad TV series, we first look at the British show Fleabag, which is now available for streaming on Amazon. Andrew and Margaret have seen all of the short series, and discuss its unusual protagonist, the show's uncanny ability to find emotional depth in minor characters, and the pleasure of identifying yourself inside deeply unappealing characters.
We then turn to different but even less appealing characters for Kathryn's Bad TV selection, the ostensibly real people of Ben and Lauren: Happily Ever After?. Unfortunately for Andrew, Kathryn and Margaret are too delighted with how terrible this show is to truly commiserate with his misery at being forced to watch it. Still, everyone agrees that it is remarkably terrible television.