By Rhett McLaughlin and Link Neal III
You probably think the holidays are a time for connecting with family, eating food that you wouldn’t dare touch during bikini season, and giving and receiving gifts to and from loved ones. You’re wrong. The holidays are a time to disconnect from your daily responsibilities and binge watch television. This is your chance to spend 72 hour chunks of time in the same pair of sweatpants without being judged by anyone.
The problem is, you’ve already watched all the shows everybody’s been talking about. You’ve fully consumed Westworld, Atlanta, Stranger Things, American Horror Story, and both of those shows about O.J. Simpson. You’ve even watched the reboots for Gilmore Girls and X-Files — not because they were good, but because they were there to be watched.
What now? Should you go outside and get some fresh air, or perhaps call an old friend on an actual telephone? Of course not! You should find more shows to binge, and we’ve handpicked five gems that you might have missed that are sure to occupy you until you have to face the real world again in 2017.
Peep Show was the longest running comedy show in history of the UK’s Channel 4 (2003-2015). It was a huge hit across the pond, but its nine seasons of dry, dark and reliably ridiculous comedy will be new to most Americans. If you take yourself too seriously, you might want to move along. Roommates Mark and Jez do stupid in an especially stupid way. But when you let your guard down and just go with it, there’s a lot to like. Plus, this show employs a first person POV shooting method throughout, which has a weird way of keeping you engaged (and just might prevent you from falling into an eggnog coma). Available on Hulu.
In Matlock (1986-1995), Andy Griffith plays a no nonsense lawyer who never fails to skillfully coax a dramatic courtroom confession from the real killer. You know exactly what you’re getting in every episode, and that’s precisely what makes Matlock the perfect ingredient to a holiday screen binge. So many of today’s shows have complex storylines and richly developed, multi-faceted characters. Ben Matlock loves hotdogs, wears a light gray suit, and drives a Crown Victoria — and that never changes across 181 episodes. Available on Amazon.
The Ren and Stimpy Show
The Ren and Stimpy Show (1991-1996) is an old school Nickelodeon cartoon that will make you wonder how most of us turned out okay considering we were allowed to watch this as kids. Ren is an unstable chihuahua; Stimpy a dimwitted, happy cat. In each episode, they push the limits of what is acceptable in children’s entertainment with hilariously violent, innuendo-laiden gags. The Ren and Stimpy Show was not only notably ambitious in its approach to animation at the time, but it opened the door to the slew of adult-oriented cartoons that exist today. Plus, we doubt there’s anywhere else you can hear Frank Zappa voice The Pope. You may need a Hallmark Channel cleanse after this binge, but it’s worth it. Available on Hulu.
There’s absolutely no good reason to limit your holiday binging to traditional TV. We’ve recently discovered a YouTube show that has captivated us. It may sound more like a community college class you’d never sign up for, but Primitive Technology has caught the attention of millions of fans. It turns out that watching a dude build incredibly intricate shelters, weapons, and tools — using nothing but his own two hands and the materials he naturally finds in the jungle of northern Australia — is more enthralling than you’d expect. The raw nature of this show is a refreshing reprieve from the overcooked nature-based reality shows that feature staged scenarios and awkward, scripted interviews. And it might save your life if you get lost in the jungle. It could happen. Available on YouTube.
The Wonder Years
The Wonder Years (1988-1993) has everything: family, friendship, love, history, triumph, failure, and the real everyday struggles of an average, suburban, American family in the late 60s. It’s hilarious, nostalgic, sincere… heck, it’s jam packed with ALL the feels (can you tell we like this show?). This is unequivocally television at its best. The title sequence alone is one of the most iconic in all of TV, but be warned: if you try to sing along with that Joe Cocker song, you might get a hernia. Also, The Wonder Years features Fred Savage acting and Daniel Stern narrating. If you don’t like that combo, you should lose your TV-binging card. Available on Netflix.
Rhett and Link are the hosts and creators of the daily morning Internet show Good Mythical Morning and IFC’s Rhett & Link: Commercial Kings. Follow them @rhettandlink.