Is there an ‘After Life’ after the death of love?

By Aishvarya Varma (fetuinyou)

‘After Life’, in my view, is Ricky Gervais’ most outstanding work. A difficult accolade to achieve after having also created ‘The Office’, Gervais’ genius outshines itself in this dark comedy-drama series. The plot is set in the fictional English town of Tambury, following the life of Tony Johnson – a widowman – played by Gervais himself.  I specifically choose to say ‘widowman’, as this wonderful story does the same. 

“I don’t miss doing things with Lisa, I miss doing nothing with Lisa. Just sitting there knowing she was there.”

Season 1 follows Tony as a man grieving the recent loss of his wife to breast cancer. A cynical “Does anything matter?” approach to his days is seen, especially at his workplace – The Tambury Gazette. As the head of feature stories, his job involves visiting people who claim to have done or experienced something worthy of being published in the local gazette. His cynicism draws him to the very edge of unabashed questioning, often causing comedic chaos. He is a loyal son who visits his father in a nursing home, as he suffers from dementia, every single day.

By the end of the season, things change. Tony garners a sensitivity as people who care for him highlight that his nonchalance may be a little more damaging to him and others than he thinks. Earlier suicidal, now the views of his friends and colleagues change his perspective on living a more connected life.

“You’re the only man who’s ever cooked me a meal.”

After Life Season 2

While whiskey and footage of his late wife – Lisa – continue to fill his nights, Season 2 embarks on new adventures for his days. His brother-in-law and boss – Matt (Tom Basden) – has problems that keep Tony entertainingly busy. The once cynical Tony now goes for a meditation class, attends a comedy show, and controls other impulses for long enough to make audiences laugh heartily for even trying. It slowly deciphers his active cynicism, exploring the depths of his humor and how he tackles the strange characters around him. This season, he’s given one last societal challenge to determine if he has any concern for the living – his colleagues, friends and family – anymore or if that is an emotion that died with Lisa.

“I am trying to work out if there’s a way I can still carry on annoying people after I die, but I haven’t cracked it yet so I’ll just have to make the most of that while I’m alive.”

Tony is now better adjusted at The Tambury Gazette. He enjoys mentoring Sandy (Mandeep Dhillon), who is now well-versed with his thinking. They often playfully tease others together, sharing a soothing comfort that finds its way to a definitely-sniggering audience. Unfortunately, the gazette is facing its own crisis. Does Tony have what it takes to keep a “paper no-one reads” alive? Tony’s interactions with his widow-friend Anne (Penelope Wilton) continue to nourish his ‘After Life’, making him question the kind of man he wants to be, or rather, is. 

“I shouldn’t wait around forever or I’ll miss the boat.”

His attempt at a love story with Emma (Ashley Jensen) remains wavering. He wasn’t quite ready for changes so close to home yet, but is slowly able to express more than he could in Season 1. This season observes all the boundaries that Tony tries to lay down, partly reconnecting with society again. From completely dismissing rules, to offering new rules for his comfortable inclusion, Tony vulnerably makes his way back into the community as best he can. The season unveils a beautiful ending that excites fans for what lessons are to come in the already-promised Season 3. 

Photo: After Life/Netflix

“She wants to see her husband and her daughter’s name in the paper. That cat thing is just an in. She’s lonely.”

While the premise of the show rests on his unequivocal love for Lisa, the script has unabashed conversations about happiness, community, and morality through humor. Will he ever be more than the widowman, widowed by his only love & joy? The self-deprecating narrative as a contrast to light-hearted jokes continues to serve as a gripping creative tool. The script makes you laugh, irks you, eases you – all the while making you cry. Exceptionally voiced, each character has a depth behind the loud frivolity, as does most of Gervais’ writing. With highs and lows of such a nature, the script tackles every emotion that triggers heaving in ordinary lives, perhaps simplifying them with a touch of Tony’s newly learned “zen”. 

“I didn’t understand it until I met Lisa but it is everything – being in love I mean. You just don’t need anything else. You realise that even more when they’re not around.”

If you loved After Life as much as I did, please share your thoughts and predictions for the next season in the comments below!

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‘Broadchurch’: The Unmissable Crime-Drama TV Series (2013-2017)

By Aishvarya Varma (fetuinyou)

The gripping seriousness of a good crime-drama series is what viewers most often need. The subtlety of a well-written mystery leaves modern audiences with the kind of memories that garner respect. While television today is swarming with well-shot video, plots often fail to share the same finesse. Often too predictable or too dramatic, producers fail to recognize the importance of nuanced storytelling.

Escaping this new norm, Chris Chibnall writes a riveting tale of the fictional English town -Broadchurch. ‘Broadchurch’ is a British trilogy series from 2013-2017, available for streaming on Netflix. David Tennant, best remembered as Barty Crouch Jr. from Harry Potter, portrays the role of police Detective Inspector (DI) Alec Hardy.

Photo: Broadchurch/BBC/Netflix

The three seasons follow the crimes that Hardy uncovers with the help of local Detective Sergeant (DS) Ellie Miller, portrayed by none other than Olivia Colman, now known for her outstanding work in shows like ‘The Crown’ and ‘Fleabag’. With this star cast, Chibnall unravels the caustic impact of hidden secrets in a tight-knit community. As he unearths once-innocent bonds, global audiences experience genuine shock as they relate to a genre one usually cannot relate to.

“I hate it. I hate the air, I hate the sand. I hate the stupid people, I hate the way they work. I hate their bloody smiley bloody faces. I hate the never-ending sky.”

Season 1 observes the death of Danny Latimer, an 11-year-old local boy. Such a young death causes irreversible ripples through Broadchurch, demanding an intensive investigation. Broadchurch has not seen a crime of this measure before. This mystery is assigned to Hardy, a newly appointed DI, who is to be assisted by DS Miller. One nervous step at a time, Chibnall shakes viewers into recognizing the remorse that must follow casual conflict. The dominos effect highlighted in this season finds a murderer whose intentions are far too common but unpredictable. Softly touching upon the strange fabric that a conservative community rests on, one realizes that there is a message in the breakdown of fabricated formalities.

“Murder gnaws at the soul. Whoever did it will reveal themselves, sooner or later. No killer behaves normally over time.”

Season 2 follows the trial of the alleged murderer, whilst also taking us back to a case that Hardy worked on before moving to Broadchurch – The Sandbrook case. Miller becomes an angry but devoted discoverer of truth, showcasing a noble tenacity that is inspiring. The season also describes the difficulties that her son Tom Miller faces – an anchoring plot point that raises relevant questions of parenting. The trial is an informative exploration of the politics of law, starring wondrous performances by Charlotte Rampling, Marianne Jean-Baptiste, and Phoebe Waller-Bridge.

“What does it take to destroy lives forever? 12 people. 12 ordinary, stupid, easily swayed, hard-of-thinking arseholes!”

The parallel crime that Hardy returns to revolves around the protection of a witness to an unholy crime. The season takes surprising turns that continue to showcase discreet secrets; an underlying pattern in Chibnall’s writing.

Photo: Broadchurch/BBC/Netflix

Season 3, while set in Broadchurch, has very little to do with the plot of the first two seasons. While the Latimers recover from the toiling trial of the previous season, a new crime emerges involving the rape and murder of a local woman. Except for the two police officers that form the main cast, the third season is a whole new tale, presented by new characters.

“You know what’s bothering me about this case? It makes me ashamed to be a man.”

The problem with Broadchurch is its eloquent presentation of the everyday possibility of dangerous crime. I say “problem” because Chibnall’s attempt to display the “Shit, I fucked up” narrative is catastrophically brilliant. He explores psychological oppression in a way that ties-in societal realities that form the basis of pleasantries or neighborly affection. The lines that must be drawn between over-indulgence and assistance are raised in a manner that, while beautiful, may remain a grey-area to unintelligent viewers. To those who arrived at the message that Chibnall wished to highlight, it is clear that he implores people to revisit their understanding of acceptability.

Chibnall explores ageism, adultery, and alcoholism; raising an important question – Are such liberal stances a weakness or a matter of personal choice that need not lead to crime? Set in Britain, it is easier for viewers to understand that the criticized secrets cannot be the cause of such abuse. However, the twists that the show takes prove that it is difficult for such behavior to end in any other way. This dangerous proposition requires a level-headed approach that would hopefully inspire viewers to be better whilst allowing ‘better’ as well.

“The future’s not inevitable. It’s down to you.”

If you enjoy watching crime TV that makes you think while being a visual pleasure, ‘Broadchurch’ is a must-watch. If you agree, let us know what you thought of the show in the comments below.

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‘The Politician’: Season 2 – Awaited Psychosocial Political Promise?

By Aishvarya Varma (fetuinyou)

In June 2020, Netflix released the second season of Ryan Murphy’s brainchild, ‘The Politician’. This comedy-drama was renewed with many recurring members from season one’s cast. Ben Platt continues to play the ambitious protagonist, Payton Hobart, who remains on the relentless path of becoming the President of the United States of America.  However, now no longer a high-school student, Payton studies at NYU whilst looking to see if he has the chance to secure more votes than Dede Standish (Judith Light) and represent New York’s 27th District.

“We are dick-deep in some serious espionage, missy.” – Hadassah Gold

Dede Standish is the current Majority Leader and New York State Senator. Her right-hand woman and campaign manager, Hadassah Gold (Bette Midler), has one agenda alone – Protecting Dede. It turns out that Dede has a sultry secret of her own that is, as always, leveraged in various ways to increase the blood pressure of both candidates, and us as gripped viewers. 

The politician season 2
Photo: Netflix/The Politician Season 2

While this remains the main political focus, an interesting twist of events surrounds Georgina ‘Mother’ Hobart’s (Gwyneth Paltrow) reinvention of herself after the death of her husband. This season surprisingly devotes extensive plot points to Paltrow’s personal ambitions. Finding her ruminating about actual actions and not just painting in her backyard or wandering in search of love, her character grows this season in ways that are best not introduced by anything other than the season itself. How the Hobarts meld almost cosmically is as Goop-y as the ever-enchanting and inescapable beauty of on-screen Paltrow.

“There are jobs that feed the ego, and there are jobs that make a difference. Politics does both, It’s vanity without the bitter after-taste.” – Georgina Hobart

The gravitas of a New York State Senatorial race adds a level of seriousness to Murphy’s political satire. Often side-lined in season one as yet another cheerleader-movie plot meant to engage younger audiences, the truth is that Murphy has paid careful attention to the nuances that build perfect political commentary from the very beginning. Well-represented by the title sequence of this show, Payton’s character was pruned to possess a detached ambition destined to paint a political masterstroke. A shout-out to Sufjan Stevens’ alluring voice that adds the requisite ‘feels’ to the poetic visuals.

The politician season 2
Photo: Netflix/The Politician Season 2

Unlike common opinions on the interweb about the dubiousness of this character, I firmly believe that no other combination of traits could justify the purity that Murphy’s script aims to achieve. The core of a true statesman is evidenced by his ability to remain neutral and find the solution society requires and demands at a particular point in time.

The moral questions raised throughout the show draw us closer to this reality of good politics, especially the last two episodes of this season. It would be wrong to suggest that such success could have occurred without the loyalty of McAfee Westbrook (Laura Dreyfuss), who continues to be Payton’s chief campaign manager and advisor. Other primary cast members continue to feature in this season, including Infinity (Zoey Deutch). 

“It never ceases to amaze how good it feels to say no to things.” – Infinity Jackson

A deeper understanding develops through recurring questions of authenticity often answered by the voice of River; a character that continues to voice Payton’s shadow-side and musical habits. Unsurprisingly, River’s death remains a wound that needs soothing. This season explores an unorthodox route used for remembering him, featuring River’s former girlfriend Astrid Sloan (Lucy Boynton). Alice (Julia Schlaepfer) continues to support Payton’s ambitions and life-choices, aiming to protect him till she can. 

This season is exciting & enthralling, with multiple character twists that – for a while – make you wonder if Payton is still the protagonist of Murphy’s tale. Despite a predictable conclusion on-paper, Murphy successfully takes us through a contrastingly unpredictable journey. As secrets of elder throuples, closeted cultural appropriation and young pregnancies are thrown at viewers, we continue to see how far this State race stretches the candidates and the grace with which they tackle disapproval.

If you haven’t seen the show yet, I hope this convinces you to reconsider. I assure you that there’s a lot to learn from this satiric political dramedy.

To fellow fans, let us know what your thoughts on this season are in the comments below.

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McGill transforms into Goodman: ‘Better Call Saul’

By Aishvarya Varma (fetuinyou)

‘Better Call Saul’: Quick Recap

The universally admired crime-drama ‘Breaking Bad’ is writer-producer Vince Gilligan’s claim to fame. Set in Albuquerque, New Mexico, the plot unfurls the life of the fictional Walter White and his drug empire. The show grabbed audiences through a faultlessly engaging script and star performances, including Bob Odenkirk as Saul Goodman – an Attorney. After its final season in 2012, Gilligan renewed his hunger for this plot through ‘Better Call Saul’ (‘BCS’). Serving as a spin-off prequel to ‘Breaking Bad’, BCS’s protagonist is the very same Saul Goodman who is appointed as White and Pinkman’s attorney in the parent show.  

Exploring events between 2000-2008 in Albuquerque, New Mexico; this crime drama is a tale of the rise of Saul Goodman. Formerly Jimmy McGill, the first four seasons follow the life of a public defender and his frustration. Each of the first four seasons showcase how McGill’s steadily growing greed and questionable morality permits an association with Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks), a crime-cleaner, hitman, and a surprisingly all-loving grandfather. As the credits roll for Season 4, we see continued subtle support from Kim Wexler (Rhea Seehorn) through the plight of McGill who now announces that he will practice under the name of Saul Goodman.

Photo: Better Call Saul Season 5

‘Better Call Saul’: Season 5 Review

Following suit from the Season 4 climax that audiences awaited from the very beginning of the show, the journey of Saul Goodman – the criminal defense lawyer for the drug cartel – officially begins. While Howard from HHM attempts to hire Saul, Saul is tied up with the dual-role of assisting Salamanca and being a lawyer. Barely able to piece his obligations together, Season 5 explores various facets of the once-boy McGill’s transformation into the desperate-to-adult Saul. 

Saul: Tuco? [pause] Oh, sure, sure! Yeah, I see the family resemblance. Your cousin makes quite an impression. He has a huge heart, and… a serious passion for justice.
Lalo: He’s got a temper, huh?
Saul: I hadn’t noticed. Uh… How is your lovely abuelita?

The cartels are always at war. In this season, the feud between the Salamancas and Gus is a game that leaves the most beloved players of BCS rather confused. While the audiences are aware of all the game-twists that are to happen, the gravity with which they occur leaves viewers spellbound. Saul is put through a trial of fire that does not test his legal skills alone. His survival instinct is for us to witness in arguably the best episode of the season, “Bagman” directed by none other than Gilligan himself.  He’s cornered into doing extra-legal activities by the now-jailed Salamanca who needs to be bailed out.

Leaving no room for negotiation, Saul obeys Salamanca’s request which serves as the chief quest of this season. Admittedly, this unravels Saul’s temptation to be friends with the cartel and avail the benefits that come along with it. Without giving out too many spoilers, this chief quest causes Saul to be put under physically frightening circumstances with Mike as company. The season captures engaging aspects of Saul’s personality that form the meat of this season. Particularly exciting is the introduction to the world of the Salamancas. As crime families go, the Salamancas are your standard bad boys – loud, brash, drug-taking big boys who always get their way. 

Jimmy: Heh, it’s perfect! They already know me, I know them, what’s not to love? [pause] Kim, I can’t go back to being Jimmy McGill. [sighs] Jimmy McGill the lawyer is always going to be Chuck McGill’s loser brother. I’m done with that. That name is burned. This is a fresh start! This is how I move forward, and… I like it!
Kim[pause] Sorry, I-I just can’t see it.
Jimmy: It’s okay. You will.

Mirroring these fascinating traits of Saul, Kim Wexler’s parallel narrative showcases her true allegiances. Having to tackle demands from Mesa Verde, her biggest client, Kim also rediscovers the legal ethics she abides by. She goes through unorthodox measures to please her client while providing a solution that best represents her morality. Bordering on illegal, Saul and Kim go through strange journeys through their days. However, their nights present cathartic conclusions on their current beliefs on ethics. The two have always shared a subtle relationship that attempts to understand the other’s needs without imposing an expectation from the other.

Watching Saul (still Jimmy at home) and Kim in the balcony of the house they share, sipping on a beer, quiet in each other’s company is calming. They share wondrous revelations as they talk to one another, often unfolding an already-known heart to the show’s audiences. Most memorably, the two often role-played the people in their lives, talking as them to either reinform each other of their intentions or to merely add a good laugh at the end of a monstrous day. Subtle devices allow for an intimacy that audiences were yearning to understand. Yet, this calm does sound like a loud bugle welcoming an impending storm. 

Photo: Better Call Saul Season 5

A subtle but panic-inducing insertion is the black and white overtures of Saul working at a Cinnabon bakery outlet in every other episode. He’s sporting a mustache; not letting viewers ascertain if this is from before Breaking Bad or after. The showrunners are not clear on the timeline. One can only wonder – what makes Slippin’ Jimmy change his identity a third time?

While we wait for the final sixth season rumored to release in 2021, we wonder what phases Saul will showcase before finally reconnecting with White and Pinkman. It does hurt to know that the character of Kim Wexler is never heard of or mentioned in Breaking Bad. What happens to her? 

Let us know what your predictions are in the comments below!

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‘The Sinner’: Season 3 – Starring Matt Bomer

By Aishvarya Varma (fetuinyou)

Earlier this year, Netflix released the third season of the show “The Sinner“. The plot is based on a car crash in Dorchester. Needing assistance with this crime, Detective Ambrose (Bill Pullman) is called in by the Dorchester Police to help solve this mystery.  In this season, Ambrose follows his primary lead, a Jamie Burns (Matt Bomer) – the survivor of the car crash and the one who reports the alleged accident.

It is made clear that Burns is the protagonist of the show in the first episode itself. As threads are pulled out of this once well-knit tale of an accidental car crash, this 8-part series reveals an age-old relationship between Burns and the deceased, a Nick Haas. It also showcases Sonya Barzel (Jessica Hecht), a painter-artist who lives out in the woods on a large plot of land. It appears that her home is the only home around the area where the accident occurs, and is thus the secondary lead on this case. 

Like any season of ‘The Sinner’, the plot centers itself on a known philosophical theory of living. This season, it centers it’s tale around ‘The Übermensch’. A term propounded by Nietzsche, the Übermensch or the Over-Man, better translated as ‘The Man Beyond Men’, is another concept that defines an alpha-personality. After Plato’s Philosopher King, Nietzsche’s Übermensch is the first memorably-defined written vision of a supreme human being. Due to the infamy it receives from Adolf Hitler’s public reliance on the theory and his self-proclamation as its follower, the theory is often misunderstood.

Doing an excellent job of narrating the practical facets of the Übermenschian thinking, the script follows the bond between two friends and their search for resonance. Ambrose connects with Burns’ and Haas’ teacher who highlights that their bond in college was based on their critical thinking and love for philosophy. As the show attempts to engage an audience with new lessons on an otherwise infamous term, it rediscovers the root cause of a flaccid living that plagues Burns. Unfortunately, it also discovers where the search for strength and individualism could stray into weakness and the criminal extraction of undeserved validation.

The sinner
Photo by: Peter Kramer/USA Network

The show explores the powerful attraction among men who seem to recognize their trauma in one-another. It highlights the various relationships that society allows to be forged between them – best friends, father-son, acquaintance, concerned citizen, or suspect. It aims to disclose the facets of unbridled freedom that often lead to irreversible and regrettable association with crime. A quest for wholeness often afflicts the few souls who seem to be cornered into critical thinking. An otherwise-relaxed population finds it impossible to engage with this strange, ever-hungry seeker of individuality.

Individuation, a theory well-propounded by Jung, discusses the need for a certain section of the population to be a ‘Hero’ or an unshakable force of nature that cannot be diluted by mere concepts like ‘choice’. Somewhere between the martyr and the madman lies the Übermensch, who in its purest form is meant to holistically represent the extremes of society, gluing the possibilities together to encourage the functioning of a fair, tolerant and wholesome world. This ideal is sought by Burns and Haas in yet-another grim tale discovered by Detective Ambrose.

Burns: I want you to play the game. I want you to play the game, to look death right in the face, right where I am. No escape route.
Ambrose: There’s no way out of this that’s ever going to satisfy you

Sonya Barzel, an important supporting character of the show, highlights her awe of Burns as she claims to “feel” a specialness within him through her artistic intuition. Showcasing a range of emotions from fear to desire to obsession, the parts of the story that are narrated through her point of view are a fascinating rendition of a feminine perspective.  Another much-needed feminine counter-story is presented by the afflictions that berate the trust of Burns’ pregnant wife, who has to tackle far more than a woman should have to.

Overall, ‘The Sinner’: Season 3 may not be as overwhelming as Season 1. Touching topics that may be considered supernatural by some, the season loses viewership from those who enjoy a practical perspective on psychological crimes. Awaiting external stimulation through drugs or financial coercion, the regular viewer may be disappointed to find a surprisingly natural stimulus for crime in this season of ‘The Sinner’. 

What did you enjoy most on this third season of ‘The Sinner’? Let us know in the comments below.

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Top 5 Mind-Blowing TV Series of 2020

By Aishvarya Varma (fetuinyou)

2020 has been a difficult year for most of us. Here’s a review of the 5 best TV Series that were released this year, as you socially-distanced yourself from the world:

1. Unorthodox

‘Unorthodox’ is inspired by Deborah Feldman’s autobiography that details her life in the Yiddish community of Williamsburg, Brooklyn, New York. In this miniseries, Esty (Shira Haas) is a 19-year-old girl from an extremely orthodox community. The story follows her rebellion and her desire to grow as an individual, unlocking unexpected quests. The writer, Anna Winger, unravels the simplicity of the orthodox mind without forcing the audience to judge them too harshly. The cultural commentary is meant to irk but allows for an emotional exchange between the very orthodox and the very liberal. Small plot points, like the sensitivity Etsy’s partner grows to portray, question the sensibilities of the audience, and empower the emergence of a new moral.

2. Dispatches from Elsewhere

‘Dispatches from Elsewhere’ is a TV Series written by Jason Segel, most remembered for his role as Marshall in ‘How I Met Your Mother’ and creating ‘The Muppets’ movie. The story explores the daily problems faced by four people in Manhattan, who seem to think that their life is dull and uneventful. Through a revitalizing interactive role-playing game set up in the streets of Manhattan, the four rediscover themselves. As they unlock their secrets, the audience realizes that they’re reeled into the game too. A prolific masterpiece delving into human psychology, the show stars Jason Segel, André Benjamin (André 3000), and Eve Lindley. Exploring diverse issues, it urges a much-needed rethink of what duality and forward-thinking mean.

3. Dave

An enthralling dive into the life of rapper and comedian Lil Dicky, this comedy tv series is a must-watch. Produced by Jeff Schaffer, Kevin Hart, and Greg Mottola, the show is packed with wholesome humor that is just right. Dave Burd has a lot of sides to him, the loudest being the obvious truth that he’s the greatest rapper of all time. The show follows his twists and turns, studying his support systems and the faith they have in his resilience to be a star. Sheer brilliance, Kevin Hart has indulged well with this loosely autobiographical comedy on Dave.

4. Space Force

Churning a perfect balance of satire and political commentary, ‘Space Force’ is a well-written comedy tv series created by Greg Daniels and Steve Carell. The show follows Carell in his role as the head of the Space Force, a new American venture that aims to restore their global prowess. With performances by long-time favorites Jane Lynch, Lisa Kudrow, and Noah Emmerich, Space Force undoubtedly makes for great dinner-time television. One could say that the spirit of ‘The Office’ is sprinkled on this more enigmatic version of a day at Dunder-Mifflin Paper Company.

5. Midnight Gospel

An Adult Animated TV Series, ‘The Midnight Gospel’ explores the multiverse like Rick and Morty. Surrealist Sci-Fi, the show’s protagonist is a spacecaster named Clancy Gilroy who resembles a mutation between an overgrown Mowgli and a unicorn. The authenticity of his adventures similarly lies somewhere between Rick and Morty & The Jungle Book, featuring heart-wrenching isolation and real-life podcasts. Comedian Duncan Trussell explores his own works through the Chromatic Ribbon and all its possibilities. An engaging and refreshing piece of fiction that could replace tears from having binged all of Rick and Morty
(Season 5).

If you happened to miss any of these, you’ve made a grave mistake. If it was because you were busy watching the new episodes released for the shows* that are so dear to you, then I’m forced to forgive you. If not, grab some popcorn and finish the first half of your 2020 Journey.
Let us know what you feel about the review of these mind blowing TV Series in 2020 in the comments below!
TV Series that were renewed with new seasons*:
• Better Call Saul
• Sex Education
• Schitt’s Creek
• After Life
• The Politician
• The Sinner

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TV Shows: Top 10 All-Time Laugh Fests

By Aishvarya Varma (fetuinyou)

If you’ve been searching for your list of All-Time Laugh Fests, today’s your lucky day. Here’s my review of 10 TV Shows that have stolen smiles, giggles and snorting laughter from global audiences for the last few decades:

1. The Office

A masterpiece created by Ricky Gervais for British audiences, The Office blew global audiences away with Steve Carrell’s performance in the American adaptation of the show. While it aims to irk, it does so very politely.  It is the most humorous and comforting binge-able show on the internet now and, if I may daresay, forever. Describing the daily affairs of the employees of Dunder Mifflin Paper Company, it is one of the few TV Shows that magnifies the smaller moments in an assumedly mundane life, showcasing how eventful it is if seen from the right lens. 

TV Shows - Office

2. Friends

The lives of these 6 Manhattaners who find themselves giggling at Central Perk will remain etched in the memories of global audiences. All 6 portray a goofy adoration for each other’s lives, including the otherwise-nonchalant Joey (Matt LeBlanc). As they evolve, we learn about the importance of friendship and that humor is the best solution to most challenges. While Monica (Courtney Cox) may disagree with my conclusion, unforgettable scenes will prove otherwise. 

TV Shows - Friends

3. Modern Family

One of the newer tv shows on this list, Modern Family nuzzled its way into the hearts of more modern audiences. Each nuclear family has an interesting twist that highlights valid facets of once-closeted families. Whether it’s Jay marrying a POC younger than his daughter or the story of his gay son’s domestic partnership, Modern Family upholds the values that this generation holds dear half-a-degree below its standard for unabashed humor. 

TV Shows Modern Family

4. The Simpsons

The only animated sitcom on this list, ‘The Simpsons’ is an unforgettable cross-play between satire and simplicity. With 684 episodes, it is the longest-running American Sitcom to have existed. Each character has been curated to identify with different American values. We have the intelligent and ambitious daughter – Lisa, the carefree son – Bart, the far-too-carefree Father – Homer and the Mother – Marge – who would not be remembered if not for her crazy hair and grungy voice. Each character, along with Little Maggie and Quagmire, brings added perspectives to this unforgettable show.

TV Shows - The Simpsons

5. The Big Bang Theory

Being a humorous nerd is not easy to capture for television. ‘The Big Bang Theory’ challenges this notion, presenting four nerd-men who are surprisingly enthralling. The show revolves around the obnoxious Alpha-Nerd Sheldon (Jim Parsons) and his apartment that he shares with co-scientist Leonard (Johnny Galecki). Their lives are pleasantly interrupted by Penny (Kaley Cuoco) who is everything they’re not, adding contrast to the show. This well-written show has been an American favorite, defining friendships between people of different cultures, intellect, and upbringing.

Big bang theory

6. Seinfeld

Regarded as one of the greatest sitcoms of all-time, this autobiographical parody is Jerry Seinfeld’s only entertaining work apart from ‘Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee’. One would attribute the pressing desire for humor in America and Larry David’s attempt at thwarting the writing to the success of the show. This is yet another show highlighting the daily life of a Manhattaner, and is my least-favorite most-popular show. 


7. How I Met Your Mother 

While it can be frustrating to realize that you’d probably never know who the Mother is, the joy of ‘How I Met Your Mother’ is discovering a new day in the lives of Manhattaners. The show’s protagonist is Ted Mosby (Josh Radnor), but his friends are the hook that keeps audiences reeled in. A table is always reserved at MacLaren’s Pub for Marshall (Jason Segel) & Lily (Alyson Hannigan), Ted’s main friends in New York. The three are also friends with Robin (Cobie Smulders), an extremely good-looking Canadian who is universally adored and Barney Stinson (Neil Patrick Harris) who is simply legendary. 


8. Two and a Half Men

One of Charlie Sheen’s best performances, this show humorously describes the life of Charlie Harper, an indulgent bachelor well into his 40s. The tale tells the story of his Malibu Beach Villa and younger brother, Alan, who unapologetically squats here with his son. An array of women tease Charlie’s lust for life unless dampened by the hilarious idiocy of Alan (John Cryer) or their responsibilities towards raising young Jake (Angus T. Jones). In the 9th season, Charlie’s home is bought by Walden (Ashton Kutcher). The show lasts four more seasons till it becomes barely tolerable, despite his good looks and intelligence.

Two and a half men

9. Parks & Recreation

An Emmy-winning political satire, ‘Parks & Recreation’ showcases the lives of Government employees in an unpopular department. Facing crises like budget cuts or an uncontrollable disinterest to serve, the writers successfully navigate through the inefficiency of government functionaries with humor. The writing is well-researched and takes soft but memorable jabs at every aspect of the American society. 

Parks and recreation

10. That ‘70s Show

This period sitcom discusses the lives of six teenagers who lived in (fictional) Point Place, Wisconsin in the ‘70s. Perhaps the beginning of Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis’ romance, ‘That ‘70s Show’ is responsible for one-a-many relatable modern cult references. It also features Cheech from Cheech & Chong. While the story describes the lives of ordinary teenage neighbors, this blast from the past best expresses entertaining & youthful banter.

That '70s show

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