With the holidays looming tantalisingly closer, what better way for life’s real achievers (such as myself) to waste our hard-earned free time than by watching back-to-back series on Netflix?
Personally, I find a lot of the answers to life’s problems from tv.
At the moment, my top 3 series of choice are Mad Men, Friday Night Lights and Homeland; an eclectic mix of genres, I admit, but one that stimulates the different needs of the complexities within my brain.
Many people believe that watching tv inanely, night after night, constitutes a waste of precious ‘living’ time, but not me. What else do you do in middle age on a week night? And there is so much to be learnt. Much of my middle-aged education and the intellectual inspiration for this blog comes from the education to be had from the fine art of couch potato-ing.
So here are my 3 recommendations:
I admit that I came late to the party of Mad Men, and in particular to the attributes of its protagonist, resident love rat, Don Draper *swoon*, whom no matter what he does, I find myself strangely drawn to, and desperate to mend. What can I say? I’m a sucker for ‘damaged goods’. With its quirky, smoke-filled, sixties interiors, (worryingly reminiscent of my own childhood home), the oblivion of its characters to the dangers of drinking and smoking all day long, the stunning fashion, subtle humor and its portrayal of the slow rise of women to the top of the corporate ladder – you have to mix yourself a Martini and give this series a go.
And it’s not all about Don. If there’s a whiff of creativity in your bones, there’s also the excitement of witnessing the evolution of ad campaigns developed by Mad Men’s band of eccentric characters, and the office politics that so often screw them over. But if you’re kind of indifferent to politics and lavish styling after a crap day at the office, the pivotal reason for us sad cougars to watch Mad Men has to be to revel in Don Draper’s male beauty as he smoulders his way through each episode, pulling us slowly into his dark world, leaving little room for any other male character to light our fires – except for Roger and his twisted witticisms.
Don Draper may be a very bad man, but he is the very attractive, tortured-soul type of bad man that every woman falls desperately in love with.
I defy anyone to diss the wise, godli/goodness of Coach Taylor on Friday Nights Live. If you want to learn both how to, and how NOT to raise teenagers, this series is the best visual parenting manual on Netflix. There are so many wise, schmaltzy, one-liners in this series to come out of Coach Taylor’s mouth as he gees up his motley team each week to get them to the football State finals *yawn*, they’d make Margaret Thatcher weep.
Who truly needs the Huffington Post Parenting Blog when we can learn from the Taylors’ parenting mistakes with their sullen daughter, Julie?
Like the rest of us, these two don’t escape the quagmire of parenting a teenager easily, even though they are upstanding, God-fearing Texans with hearts of gold. While Tami (pronounced Teimi, ya’ll) insists in every episode that communication is the best ingredient for a successful relationship with your teenage daughter, every time sulky Julie opens her heart to her, she flips her lid. I try not to judge; we’ve all been there. And far be it for me to even notice the team of hot players – TIM FUCKING RIGGINS!!!! – I wouldn’t want to be accused of ogling eighteen-year old boys or anything.
If you need more encouragement about this series, here are some of Coach Taylor’s best quotes: (To be read in a Texan drawl)
“Every man at some point in his life is gonna lose a battle. He’s gonna fight and he’s gonna lose. But what makes him a man, is that in the midst of that battle he does not lose himself.”
“Money comes and goes, yeah? These kids of ours… that’s a one-time deal.”
And finally, onto the more serious business of Homeland.
This series has proven to me that I’m nowhere near as intelligent as I thought I was. If the old man and I get to the end of an episode of Homeland without asking each other ‘what the fuck just happened?’ or ‘did you understand what the fuck was going on?’, we’re secretly disappointed. Gritty, action-packed and fearless – and that’s just Carrie’s facial expressions – Homeland is one of those series where you have to remember to breathe during an episode. And, well you know what a sucker I am for mental illness? Carrie brings the whole shebang of Bipolar craziness to the party, with the super intelligence, intuition and genius that often goes hand in hand with it.
The woman even rocks a wig when she’s trying to go incognito, FFS!
‘TAKE YOUR FUCKING MEDS, CARRIE!’ I must shout at the screen in just about every episode.
Added to which, the series has proven itself ahead of the game in terms of world politics, and although fictional, there’s a lot to be learnt here about how government intelligence bureaus really work. The series has offered up its share of hot men, too, (the most vital component for staying awake during any series in my book), and even made gingers look attractive in its first series, although even I’m questioning how Quinn can possibly have survived that many bullet wounds without hospitalisation.
Fortunately, each new hole is a guarantee he’ll get his shirt off.