Every now and then, when I'm scrolling through the JustWatch app thinking about what I want to watch that night, I like to reflect on how far television has come. When I was a kid, there were four channels--2, 4, 7, and 9--and I still remember how exciting it was when Fox started airing on channel 13. Sure, we could have gotten cable, but a) my father was way too cheap and b) there were only, like, four more channels on cable anyway. Watching TV was basically choosing the best of your four options, then flipping to the second-best option during commercial breaks.
Now, the choices are endless. I can spend as much time deciding what to watch as I do watching. In order to combat this indecision, my husband I made a list of all the movies we wanted to watch. It is above, in all it's glory.
This is actually our second list: we powered through one white-board's-worth of movies between March and September of 2021. However, this time the list-making has backfired on us. He's working nights now, so our movie time has been severely curtailed, and according to our marriage rules we are supposed to watch the movies on this list together. So we've managed to put a whole bunch of movies that we want to watch off-limits to each other, and we have a big list of them in our living room to remind us of the time we aren't spending together. *Sigh*
However, there is one genre that my husband couldn't care less about and that I can't get enough of, and, lucky me, there's a ton of content to enjoy. In the past couple of weeks I've blown through two HBO series that are exactly what I want out of my television shows: funny people wearing cool clothes figuring out whether or not they should have sex.
The Sex Lives of College Girls is about four unlikely roommates in their freshman year at Essex College in Vermont. There's Bela (Amrit Kaur), who chose this school because she wants to use their legendary college paper as a launchpad for her comedy career; Whitney (Alyah Chanelle Scott), a soccer star whose Senator mother is watching her every move; Leighton (Renee Rapp), a wealthy legacy student whose bitchy attitude hides a secret she can't bear to share; and Kimberly (Pauline Chalamet (yes, that Chalamet)), the dorky scholarship student who was totally unprepared for the diverse, privileged environment of Essex. What do they have in common? They are all horny as hell, stupidly immature, and way out of their comfort zones. And because it's created by Mindy Kaling and Justin Noble, who have worked on some of the best comedies of the last decade, you know it's super funny. The friendships between the girls are sometimes awkward but never forced, and part of the charm of the show is watching the characters become enamored with each other at the same pace as the audience. The storylines are well balanced and leave you wanting more. Throw in at least one sex scene every episode, and I'm sold. This show isn't for you if you're offended by swearing or underage drinking, because there's a lot of both (as there were in my college years, let's be honest). Season Two is apparently scheduled to come out sometime this year, so put this one on your list to binge soon.
In Starstruck, Jessie (Rose Matafeo) is a directionless young woman living in London who has a New Year's hookup with Tom (Nikesh Patel) before realizing that he's a bonafide movie star. Their lifestyles are incompatible, but their chemistry is undeniable, and over the next year they'll try and fail and try again to make things work between them. This show is frequently compared to Fleabag because both shows have a compelling, hilarious female lead who created the show, and they have a similar down-and-out-in-Londontown feel. However, where Fleabag is a peaty scotch that burns with each sip, Starstruck is champagne so bubbly you hardly realize you've drank it down in one big gulp. That's how I consumed this series: once I'd opened the bottle, I didn't stop until I was drunk on it. Jessie and Tom can banter with the best of them, but neither can bring themselves to be genuine until it's almost too late. The story itself is thin, but they are so charming together that I didn't really need plot. If there was one thing I would pick at, it would be the idea that between the two of them, Tom is the star. Nikesh Patel is fine, but Rose Matafeo is an absolute revelation. Her comic timing is exquisite. Her style is gloriously brash. She's not conventionally beautiful, but she's stunning in every scene. If these two were walking down the street together, I don't imagine that anyone is looking at him. This is apparently also going to have a second season which will follow their continuing relationship. I'm looking forward to that, and also anything Rose Matafeo does in the future. l
I’m in the market for suggestions! Let me know if there’s something I have to watch at firstname.lastname@example.org.