Welcome to Culture Crash, where we examine American culture. What’s new and old in books, film, and entertainment.
So often, we can find ourselves only watching and discussing the latest and greatest. New shows are constantly gaining buzz, new movies capture magazine covers and decorate our cereal boxes, and so naturally, our attention can drift in that direction. But amid all the uncertainty that has come with 2020, I have found myself taking refuge in some old sitcom favorites.
I’ve found myself re-watching old episodes of Scrubs and How I Met Your Mother on Hulu, of The Office and New Girl on Netflix, and of Friends on HBO Max. I also recently started watching Community, which is streaming on Netflix. Heck, toward the beginning of quarantine, I ended up binge-watching a couple of seasons of an old, childhood favorite of mine, Boy Meets World, which is streaming on Disney Plus. Netflix also recently added Sister Sister, which I’m sure will get some plays on my account before this year is out.
Of course, all of those shows are primarily comedies, yes, but another thing that is so comforting about them is that their entire runs are available to watch. There’s no binging a season and then waiting for what comes next, there’s just the constant pleasure of beginning the next episode. If something about an episode bothers me or it’s an episode I remember not liking very much, I may skip it and just move on. There’s a freedom to watching an older show that I never feel when I’m trying to catch up on new movies and TV.
Another great thing about sitcoms is their runtime. During the madness of 2020, I haven’t always been in the mood to sit down and watch a 45 minute episode or, even worse, a full-hourlong installment. Quick, 22-ish minute sitcomes allow me to fill time before work, to throw something on while I make dinner or to coax me to sleep when my mind is racing.
It’s so simple and so easy, but I’ve been really grateful for the streaming era lately, especially since they put so many old favorites right at my fingertips.
I’m Evan Rook.