While we are in the midst of the chaos of everyday life, we long for the sweet reprieve we get when the weekend comes. But two days following the work week is hardly enough to fully regain stamina to endure another full week of responsibilities, so we yearn for that long awaited vacation time. We begin planning each day of our time off, making a mental to do list of activities starting the minute we wake up on the first day of vacation – going on walks to the park, perhaps taking a trip to the gym, (finally) reading that book your friend recommended, starting to fill in the pages of that adult coloring book you bought last month, et cetera.
But for some reason, we never make it past the comfort of our bed with our computer within arm’s reach, leaving our bedroom sanctuary only for food and bathroom breaks. Since you are already scrolling through your social media feeds, Hulu queue, and Netflix library, let me regale you with a few of my favorites on Netflix that are definitely worth binge watching on your time off.
1. The Walking Dead
There are two things that my coworkers can never stop talking about – Star Wars and The Walking Dead. On my last day of work before my time off, I made the mistake of telling them that I have never seen any of the Star Wars films (whoops), nor have I sat down to watch an episode of The Walking Dead. Once they wiped their disbelief/offended looks off their faces, they gave me the task of catching up on both sagas. Since Netflix has none of the Star Wars films in their inventory, I defaulted to The Walking Dead. Set during the onset of the (impending) zombie apocalypse, this show revolves around a group of strangers struggling to survive the post-apocalyptic universe, desperately seeking shelter, food, and fighting for their lives on a constant basis. If you need an excuse to lock yourself in your bedroom safely huddled under your covers, watch a few episodes of The Walking Dead. You will never want to go outside ever again.
2. The Office
If you are looking for something a little more lighthearted than a show about a post-apocalyptic world overrun by zombies (or if you need to offset the gore and suspense with some comedy so you don’t have nightmares), The Office has nine seasons worth of shenanigans to keep you watching for days at a time. The best part of this show isn’t the impeccable comedic timing, clever one liners, or tug-at-your-heartstrings moments that come at the exact right time. The best part about watching this show is being able to pinpoint someone in your own life, whether it’s in your own workplace or any of your classes, who is echoed through each of the characters of this show. Being able to find a character that emulates someone in your personal life will keep you rooting for certain characters, or zealously screaming obscenities at your computer screen, due to the stupidity of that one character that reminds you of your former boss. Watch this in between episodes of The Walking Dead, and you will feel more productive than you would after one day at work.
3. Both of John Mulaney’s Comedy Specials
I tend to approach the comedy category of my Netflix library with caution because, much like very many people, I can be very particular with what comedies I watch, especially when it comes to comedians’ one-hour specials. In the past, I have been so eager to watch the specials of those who I’ve seen on various TV shows, only to end up disappointed ten minutes into their stand-up performance – because, surprise, very hardly is a comedian exactly like their character on a television show. Needless to say, it is very rare for me to find a comedian that I really like. I knew of John Mulaney because of his work on Saturday Night Live, and I’ve come across GIF sets online of his live performances. I found one of his performances on Netflix a year ago, and was pleased to find that I was able to sit (and laugh) through his entire one hour special. What I enjoy most about his material is that he is simply recounting his real-life experiences in his own very matter-of-fact style, with limited use of profanity and other unnecessary obscenities. Through his tales of growing up in a conservative Catholic household, bouts with anxiety, and the ramifications of being “too nice” to people, I can relate my own experiences with his and find light in each situation. John Mulaney’s comedy specials are the only ones I can watch multiple times and still be able to laugh just as hard each time as I did the first.
4. The True Cost
If you like to frequent the documentary section of Netflix just as I often do, The True Cost is definitely a must-watch, especially those cotton to the fashion industry (see what I did there). This documentary details what goes into creating the fashion empires that exist today, and exposes the dangerous practices many of them are guilty of partaking in, in order to remain successful. We all covet, purchase, and (hopefully) wear clothing everyday, but hardly ever give a thought to how those garments got into our closets in the first place. This film will definitely open your eyes to what really goes on in the fashion industry, and will make you think twice about the clothes you buy, and where you buy them from.
5. Whores’ Glory
It is known that prostitution is, for the most part, illegal in the vast majority of the United States. What people don’t realize is that it is considered a legitimate business practice in many other foreign countries. Whores’ Glory is a documentary that examines the lives of escorts and prostitutes in Thailand, Bangladesh, and Mexico; details their experiences, hopes, and feelings; humanizes the objectified. While many parts of this documentary can legitimately be upsetting to watch, it serves as a reminder that there are some incredibly corrupt societies out there, and we are instantly ripped from our state of naïveté that the world is going to be perfect everywhere we go. Perhaps after watching this documentary, you can watch one of John Mulaney’s comedy specials to relieve your rising blood pressure and restore your faith in humanity.
There are plenty of other incredible films and television shows on Netflix that are worth watching, but unfortunately, no vacation is long enough to stream everything Netflix has to offer (trust me, I’ve tried). If you’ve watched any of the shows or films I’ve listed above, please let me know what you think! Also, if you have any suggestions for me to watch, I would love to know your input there as well. I hope everyone is enjoying the remainder of the holiday season, as well as the end of 2015.
Happy Holidays, and happy watching!