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5 Shows to Watch When You Want to Turn Your Brain Off

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I love watching TV. What I don’t love, however, is always having to consume media that ultimately pushes me to critically think when my brain is already too loud for me to handle.

Maybe it’s the fact that I have to use my brain every day for work, or because I’m a chronic overthinker with mental health struggles, but nothing, and I mean nothing, makes me more thankful than finding a good show that allows me to just turn my brain the hell off.

Shows like that are hard to find, but luckily due to chronically running from my issues (don’t tell my therapist), I have a nifty list of great mind-numbing media to soak in when it’s all too much.

1. “The Boondocks”

This is for my Black Mighties.

Are there problematic tendencies? Yes, but it’s very self-aware in the same way “The Office” is that makes it laughable and tolerable. 

“The Boondocks” never fails to make me crack up, even when the topic matter is serious (re: The R. Kelly episode). It tells the story of a grandpa and his two grandsons in the suburbs, navigating America for what it is. Even though race is a major part of the show, it isn’t draining nor is it full of trauma porn. It’s lighthearted, funny, and timeless.

For all the ways I consider “The Boondocks” to be a perfect show, I can’t encapsulate in words how amazing this show is for when I simply don’t want to think (or exist). No dense, thick plot that you have to follow along with. It doesn’t matter what season you watch or what episode. You can turn it on and turn your brain off, all while laughing at our inner community problems (which is sometimes hard to do).

This show is very explicit. So please watch with caution.

2. “Big Mouth”

While sometimes grotesque and obnoxious, I do believe “Big Mouth” is one of the most emotionally intelligent shows to exist. It’s loudly honest about the lives of a group of tweens and teens who are going through puberty, questioning their sexuality, first kisses, and more, all at once. Hormone monsters, anxiety mosquitos, and depression kitties make this show pop in ways I sincerely didn’t expect. 

The best part is that you can choose how much you want to really engage with the storyline or not. You can follow up every episode and stick with the plot, or turn on a random episode and just dive in. You’re bound to laugh, but none of the jokes really poke fun at individuals (even in the super aware way “The Office” does).

3. “The Office”

I mentioned it twice, so I might as well put it next.

I don’t feel I need to explain this one. If you’re a millennial, you probably know someone who has made this show their entire personality (if it’s not you). 

I know a lot of people don’t prefer the dry humor associated with “The Office,” but if that’s your jam then this show could be perfect for you. With an amazing ensemble cast with personal lives you do get invested in, but you also don’t have to get invested in, “The Office” will forever be a show where it’s so easy to lean back and just enjoy the cringe until it inevitably puts you to sleep. 

4. “Abbott Elementary”

I fell down a rabbit hole watching clips from this show in preparation to write this section.

“Abbott Elementary” isn’t as dry as “The Office” but is still a mockumentary. One of the highest rated sitcoms on television at the moment, “Abbott Elementary” tells the tale of a slew of teachers in an underfunded public school who are all just trying to do their jobs to the best of their abilities, unless it’s Ava, the principal. It’s quick, clever, and it’s hard not to crack up incessantly at this show. 

5. “What We Do in The Shadows”

Can you tell I love mockumentaries? 

“What We Do in The Shadows” is a television show based on the universe created in the movie released in the 2014 film directed by Taika Waititi. It’s about a found family of vampires who are navigating the modern world and the monstrous world all at once. It’s hysterical and a bit more occult than the other options on this list.

My favorite character is Colin Robinson. He’s a vampire, but not a blood-sucking one. No, he’s an energy vampire. Don’t believe me? See for yourself. 

I definitely believe there are more, but right now these are the top shows I navigate to where I won’t have to ignore overly problematic tendencies or themes, and I can just vibe the hell out.

Sometimes it’s a good thing that the media makes us get introspective. Media can shift and change a lot about the world, but there’s no harm in the media existing just to exist and to make us smile. I think we need more of that.

Lead image courtesy of ABC’s YouTube channel

Originally published: June 18, 2022
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