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    Updated on Jan 17, 2019. Posted on Jan 17, 2019

    Here Are 9 Shows I Recommend You Watch To Forget About Brexit

    When the news gets too much, some shows can help you temporarily forget that it is even happening at all.

    1. Parks and Recreation

    NBC

    This is a no-brainer. Parks and Rec solves everything. It is the televisual equivalent of chicken soup.

    Perhaps it is something to do with the fact that the show is about people trying to do better for themselves, their friends, and their community. Perhaps it has something to do with Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) and her sheer force of optimism and determination, especially when the odds are stacked up against her.

    Or perhaps it has something to do with the way that the citizens of Pawnee make a massive deal out of nothing ("I found a sandwich in one of your parks, and I want to know, why it doesn't have mayonnaise?"), at a time when people are yelling the same lines about the same big issue over and over into the void.

    All that I do know is that, if it helped me, it'll help you.

    Where you can watch it: Amazon Prime.

    2. Cruising with Jane McDonald

    Channel 5

    I don't know about you, but I think the cure for Brexit is seeing Jane McDonald getting increasingly sozzled on a cruise ship holiday that Channel 5 is paying for.

    If you’re not familiar with McDonald, she originally became famous or appearing in a BBC documentary called The Cruise in the mid-'90s. One of my first memories ever is her singing during The National Lottery Draws. She's now back on a travelogue where she goes on a cruise and just tells us how much fun she is having.

    That's it. And I love it, because it is so pure. It’s like someone has just hit “record” on her holiday. The structure is so loose: She talks about how great her room is, how she likes the curtains, and how great a time she’s having, before bumping into several paying guests in the corridor who also tell us how great a time they’re having. And then Jane goes to a bar while an animation appears on screen informing us, for no particular reason, how far away she is from her hometown of Wakefield.

    Do not underestimate the power of this show. Channel 5 killed Big Brother for this. On New Year's Eve, Channel 5 decided to show us nearly five consecutive hours of this show, because they could.

    Where you can watch it: Channel 5

    3. Mystery Diners

    Food Network

    Mystery Diners is, without a doubt, one of the stupidest programmes I have ever seen in my life. The concept? You're a restaurant owner and some of your petty cash goes missing! You don't know which member of staff is to blame!

    The natural and not-in-any-way insane solution: You decide to call in a team of private investigators to wiretap all of your employees so you can find who did it, all filmed from increasingly ridiculous hidden camera angles (see lobster cam, above). The first part of the show consists of the restaurant owner complaining about what is going on to a man with an incredibly serious moustache; the latter part of the show consists of private investigators zooming into the foreheads of suspicious employees with their cameras while sitting in a nearby garage.

    The show leaves more questions than it answers, but to be honest that's part of the fun. For example, why do all of the good employees who have nothing to do with this have to undergo this national humiliation? How much does all of this surveillance cost? Does this show require drones? They release drones, for god's sake. DRONES.

    Where you can watch it: Food Network

    Food Network

    4. Bros: After the Screaming Stops

    BBC / Fulwell 73

    Yes, I’m probably the 585,896,604th person who has recommended the Bros documentary to you this month. I know, I’m sorry. But if you haven’t got around to watching the documentary that went viral over Christmas, now is the perfect opportunity. Why? Well, Brexit.

    Luke and Matt Goss were in a band called Bros in the late 1980s and this show documents their preparations for a comeback gig at the O2 in London. The buzz around the show was in part because of some amazing quotes. My favourite one? "I made a conscious decision because of Stevie Wonder not to be superstitious."

    It’s easy to take the piss out of Luke and Matt, and you probably will, but the true appeal of the show is that you come to learn so much about them, their careers, the perils of fame, and the difficulties they’ve faced in their private lives. And you end up rooting for them. That's the sign of a great documentary: It completely changes your perspective.

    Where you can watch it: On BBC iPlayer (You've only got two weeks, hurry.)

    5. The Guardian Cats — Fresh Eyes on Japan

    NHK

    Don't ask me how, but once on my television travels I stumbled across a show on the Japanese channel NHK about Tashiro Island, or "Cat Island". It is an island off the coast of Japan where cats significantly outnumber people.

    There is no depth to the show. None at all. It is only 15 minutes long. Much of it consists of the narrator just saying "Cats! Cats! Cats!" or pointing out houses that look like cats (the front doors are surrounded by fake whiskers).

    And for reasons that are so boring I won't go into them, the show is entirely in Indonesian despite being on a Japanese channel for English viewers. But I love it so. It's also a gateway drug to the other wonderfully niche programmes on NHK.

    And remember: There is no Brexit on Cat Island.

    Where you can watch it: NHK

    6. Only Connect

    BBC

    I love Only Connect. If you haven't watched it before, it's a show presented by Victoria Coren where two teams try to correctly identify patterns in a series of words or images or music, all of which gets revealed one clue at a time. My favourite is the final round, where different words appear on the screen with the vowels removed so it looks like someone fell asleep at the keyboard, and you shout something like "SODOM AND GOMORRAH" at the TV loudly while your housemate is taking their washing out of the washing machine.

    Coren, meanwhile, makes comments so quirky that you wonder whether she has made a bet with someone on the production team on how far she can take it. Seriously, most of the episodes end with me shouting "WHAT THE FUCK" at the screen. It's great.

    Oh and the BBC messed up royally and kept moving the show around the schedules, but it is now back on Mondays where it rightfully belongs forever.

    Where you can watch it: BBC Two and BBC iPlayer.

    7. 30 Rock

    NBC / Broadway Video

    I'm going to come out with a comment that isn't supposed to make you feel the sands of time passing through your fingers (but it will anyway): It has been more than 12 years since the American sitcom 30 Rock debuted. And yet, weirdly, it's one of those shows that doesn't feel like it has aged a day, even though it is supposed to satirise the media world that we were in at the time, pre-Netflix, pre-Trump Twitter and all that.

    Channel 4's All 4 is currently screening the first three seasons (All 4 is that thing used to be called 4OD that we still call 4OD) and I have royally got right back into it. Lines such as "How do you do, fellow kids?" and "It's after six. What am I? A farmer" are all here, along with my personal favourite: "Working on my night cheese," which I said in a slanket I got as a joke present from Santa at Christmas. In completely coincidental news I am horrifically single.

    Where you can watch it: All 4 (first three seasons for now, and the rest is coming in the next month)

    8. RuPaul's Drag Race All Stars 4

    VH1

    I don't really need to explain this one. It's Drag Race.

    Where you can it: Netflix (the original series anyway)

    9. Barefoot Contessa

    Food Network

    If you ever want escapism from the news, watch a food show. All politics, in all forms, is generally allergic to food shows. Those and the weather. Oh and 60 Minute Makeover, where someone shows you how easy it is to transform your house in just 60 minutes if you have an entire army of workers who know what they are specifically doing and if they've cleared out your house for three days previously. Where am I? Oh yes, food shows. But as there are so many food shows, which one do you possibly choose?

    Simple: Barefoot Contessa, where Ina Garten just cooks dinner for some of her friends and/or her husband Jeffrey and says the word "flavour" over and over. It is incredible. The love between Ina and Jeffrey is the strongest of any TV relationship I have ever seen. It is so strong it would destroy Brexit.

    For example, take this video of Jeffrey making Ina coffee to celebrate their 50th wedding anniversary.

    If you have any of your own suggestions, please add your recommendation below or tweet me at @scottygb.

    We will get through this mess together.

    BBC / Fulwell Films

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