Common readers of this column will know that I are likely to bang on a bit about consolation studying.
Effectively, in my defence, it’s one among my favorite issues to do in occasions of stress (and even in any other case), and it has saved me sane via many insane moments in my life. So, it wasn’t totally stunning that the second we had been compelled into lockdown by the coronavirus, I fell again on my normal crutch.
So, I spent weeks, after which months, rediscovering a few of my favorite books. I learn the Donna Leon mysteries set in scenic Venice to get the journey repair I couldn’t get in any other case. I loved the halcyon English countryside that varieties the backdrop of so many Elizabeth George suspense novels. I transported myself again in time and area as I waded via all my previous Georgette Heyers and Agatha Christies.
And it was solely once I had exhausted all the chances accessible on my bookshelves that it occurred to me that I might do precisely the identical factor with my TV viewing – and by TV, I clearly imply the assorted streaming companies we’re so slavishly dedicated to as of late. As a substitute of regularly looking for one thing new and fascinating to observe, I might search out previous favourites and binge-watch them as an alternative. And perhaps consolation watching would turn into simply as soothing as consolation studying.
The act of dipping again into a well-recognized present evokes not only a sense of nostalgia, but in addition well-being
Effectively, guess what? It was precisely that – and extra. Though I had forgotten a few of the plot twists and characters concerned, simply the act of dipping again into a well-recognized present evoked not only a sense of nostalgia, but in addition well-being.
The primary sequence that I selected to rewatch was The West Wing. It had been one among my favorite exhibits when it was first aired on Indian tv. After which, a couple of years later, I had purchased your entire field set to introduce it to my husband, who cherished it as effectively. So, it made excellent sense to delve proper again into the idealised world of President Bartlet, and his merry women and men once we had been searching for a sequence that may take us via the weeks of lockdown (that was earlier than we realised it might be months, not weeks).
And I need to say, it labored a deal with. Each night we’d enter into the world of American politics, leaving our personal cares behind, and watch as Leo clashed with Toby, the sexual stress between Josh and Donna grew so thick as to obscure different plot factors, and President Bartlet tried to save lots of the world, one international disaster at a time. What got here as a revelation was that so little had modified since we first watched the sequence. There are nonetheless border tensions between India and Pakistan, the Palestinian-Israeli battle continues to be raging, and the difficulty of abortion continues to be a lightning rod in the US.
As soon as we had ploughed our manner via your entire seven seasons of The West Wing, it was time to maneuver on to a different favorite style of ours: the authorized drama. We had been early followers of L.A. Regulation (does anybody else even keep in mind that?) and I had been a devoted viewer of Ally McBeal. However whereas the primary was not accessible on any streaming service, the latter – once I watched a few episodes – appeared curiously dated.
So, we fell again on one other present we had loved prior to now: Boston Authorized. Starring William Shatner, James Spader and Candice Bergen, this isn’t your commonplace authorized drama. The plot strains – to not point out some characters – get more and more weird with each episode, and political correctness simply doesn’t exist on this universe.
The truth is, I’d go up to now to say that this sequence may be very a lot a product of its time, with ladies being objectified at each flip, and sexual harassment being handled as regular office observe. No person would dare make such a present in these post-Me Too occasions, and a few of it actually makes for uncomfortable viewing. But when you will get previous that (although it did get me scorching and bothered at occasions) it’s a barrel of guffaws.
As we embark upon our fifth month of lockdown, we have now began on our subsequent consolation watch. Effectively, consolation look ahead to me, that’s, on condition that my husband has by no means watched a single episode of The Sopranos. Till now, he had been leery to tackle the dedication of watching six seasons of a present however now that lengthy, empty evenings stretch forward of us every single day, he agreed to make the leap, saying that we’d watch an episode or two, dipping out and in of the present over the subsequent few weeks.
It took simply 20 minutes of the primary episode to get him hooked on this story of the depressed mobster, performed to devastating perfection by James Gandolfini, who begins going to the psychiatrist to cope with his panic assaults and despair. And now, like two addicts, we spend all day ready for the TV to come back on (by no means earlier than 8pm, is my iron-clad rule) in order that we will disappear into the world of the New Jersey mob and all of the shenanigans it will get as much as.
We’re down two seasons, with 4 extra to go, and I’m already beginning to consider my subsequent consolation watch. When you have any solutions, do let me know.
Journalist and writer Seema Goswami has been a columnist with HT Brunch since 2004
Spectator seems each fortnight
From HT Brunch, August 9, 2020
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