Comfort TV on the Road to Sanity


TV Logos, Comfort TV

Is there such a thing as “Comfort TV?


You’ve got your Mac ‘n Cheese, oatmeal, a hot cup of tea, pot roast, all great kinds of comfort food. But what about comfort TV?  Oh you definitely need this sometimes.

Television can be many things, some say an evil, some say a blessing. I think it is like anything else. Moderation baby! Mostly I feel it can be a great way to take shelter.

What sort of TV would you like to indulge in? What sort SHOULD you indulge in? Let’s see.

It depends of course, on your taste

Medical Shows: – Grey’s Anatomy, ER, House, etc. I’m giving this a special section, because so many tough issues we face involve health.

Personally I cannot stay away from medical dramas. I’ve always had an affinity for all things anatomical. Even when Tom was feeling his worst, I still indulged. Admittedly, it was sometimes hard to watch, especially when a patient (or worse, a pediatric patient) wasn’t doing well, or basically dying on the screen in front of me. Tom would sometimes watch with me, but now and then the story lines would have something 2014-10-14 12.20.43to do with liver disease, and I remember at least once or twice that he asked me to turn it off.

However, as much as I love the treatments, symptoms, surgeries, and outcomes, what really drew me into any of these shows is the character growth and interpersonal relationships. Mostly these character dramas were between the nurses, doctors and other staff, and/or their spouses. But often enough, there was conflict and drama between the staff and the patients, or internal conflict with anyone and their personal issues. Each show has featured at least one lunatic who threatened the safety of everyone in question, naturally lots of drama there.

And every show has suffered the death of a major character or two.

Bottom line – or caveat – use your own judgement. If you have been dealing with severe health issues, you might not enjoy being immersed in more medical stuff, as contrived (and often unrealistic) as it may be.

The thing is though, drama is drama, and a great mechanism for escape. And sometimes, escape is what it’s all about baby.

And the rest? Well, it depends on your taste and your patience.

Maybe the polar bear on Lost was too polarizing, or you can’t wrap your head around R+L=J. Perhaps Jack Bauer said “damn it” too many times, or you don’t remember who shot J.R. Did the Sopranos fade-to-black infuriate or satisfy you?

If you like to dissect every episode of Fringe, lay bets on what’s in store for Grissom and Sara, or duplicate the crazy equations on The Big Bang Theory (Bazinga!), that’s great. If you want to let The Golden Girls, Mad Men, or Desperate Housewives just wash over you without a great deal of speculation on any current plotline, that’s fine too.

Reality or Unscripted TV:

Here I will interject with my own opinion, I don’t care for much reality TV. That doesn’t mean that I avoid all forms of this. Either personally or with my family I’ve watched AND enjoyed the cooking competitions, the home makeovers and the singing and dancing shows.

Shows I think are dreadful are things like The Bachelor or worse, Big Brother.  Regarding the former, love and romance (again, my opinion) are things that should be experienced without the interference of observation, or any more observation than how new lovers exist in the word. What I mean is, it’s hard enough to meet people and discern whether you might have enough in common to begin a relationship without all the extra BS of a production crew.

And I don’t even understand what the attraction is to Big Brother. Sure, given the name, these housemates understand that they DEFINITELY will be observed during their day-to-day stuff. But drama is demanded, and it all seems pointless.

These shows take contrivance to a new level. They can be the most glitzy and pathetic examples of schadenfreude* I can think of. All reality TV often contains these unkind elements, and it’s just sad.

In it’s own last category, there’s The News:

OK, so this is pretty broad. You’ve got local news, national news, sports, politics, economy – and true enough, most of the time it feels like Just Bad News. Is bad news fun? No, it’s depressing as all hell, yet it would be foolish to ignore the news entirely, and here’s why:

However depressing, it’s (IMO) a bit irresponsible to not keep up with things. What if there was an outbreak of some kind of nasty virus that displayed certain symptoms, and was highly contagious. And you’ve got those symptoms! And you go out in public, putting everyone, including yourself at risk. Not cool. Or consider a missing child, state police have activated an Amber Alert, or a BOLO (Be On the Look Out) for this child. How about escaped convicts in your neighborhood? Sure these are all dramatic events, and do not happen every day. But look, there’s denial of your Crisis (sometimes temporary denial is healthy), and there’s denial of pain in general.

Life will not wait for you to feel sane or healthy enough to manage it. This sucks, but it’s true. So the thing is, letting yourself feel depressed at times, being exposed to others’ pain isn’t easy, but in a way, it’s good practice to learn how to handle the multitude of human experience in stages. Watch the news, feel the pain, and yes, feel the joy. You can absolutely find a feel-good story in most broadcasts. Then make an action plan.

I get it, there are times we feel so low that we can’t take another minute of anything else sad or depressing. So maybe skip the nightly news on occasion. But when you can, tune in. Feel it. Then do something.

What pissed you off? The war? Write to your government reps. Are you livid at the report about an abused dog? Send $5.00 to the shelter that is handling the dog. Send more if you can. Join a cancer walk, sponsor a marathon runner’s cause, write a letter to the editor. Report your own good news. Did you see a neighbor chase another neighbor’s loose dog to save them from a busy street? Give them a shout out. Use Social Media…take some friggin control man!

Control. It might be an illusion, but the feeling of being in control is powerful, no matter what is weighing on your soul. Find something positive, little or big, and TAKE CONTROL.

Pray. Journal. Rinse and Repeat.

Little by little, in stages, three steps forward, two steps back – you can find the sanity.


*Finding enjoyment in others’ misfortunes.