Words by: Daisy Henry Art by: Gabrielle Poh
Sometimes when you’re in need of a little hope, you might be inclined to venture outside for a walk or to enjoy a fun night out. Other times, you may simply want to retreat to your room, withdraw from the outside world, and enjoy some alone time.
In those instances, getting stuck into a funny TV show, a light-hearted movie, a binge-worthy podcast, or a whimsical novel might be the cure you need. So, in order to put together some joyful and uplifting recommendations, I enlisted some of my nearest and dearest to see what they like to read, watch or listen to when they need hope in their lives.
TV Show: Schitt’s Creek
Podcast: My Dad Wrote a Porno
I might be preaching to the converted (because no one I know doesn’t already LOVE this show), but for those who are unacquainted, stop what you are doing and turn on Schitt’s Creek right now. After a year of brushing off a friend’s recommendation (a classic case of stubbornly opposing something just because it’s popular), I finally gave in; with the most insanely funny characters and storylines, it quickly became my favourite show. I turn it on if I need something familiar and light-hearted, if I’m bored, need some cheering up or just want to laugh.
Or, if you’re the podcast type, may I suggest My Dad Wrote a Porno. Listen in as the host, Jamie Morton, and his two friends read aloud and make fun of his dad’s insane erotic book series, Belinda Blinked (2015). Set in the business world of pots and pans and packed full of hilariously graphic sex scenes, it is laugh-out-loud funny.
Movie: Punch-Drunk Love (2002)
Adam Sandler does not immediately ooze ‘hope’, although his portrayal of the anxious and confused Barry Egan in Punch-Drunk Love makes you believe otherwise. An awkward romance with the intriguing Lena Leonard (Emily Watson), a mysterious harmonium, a phone-sex line, frequent-flyer miles, and Philip Seymour Hoffman making every moment of his limited screen time count, culminates into an unforgettable 80-minute film that I revisit time and time again.
Book: Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory by Raphael Bob-Waksberg
I read Raphael Bob-Waksberg’s Someone Who Will Love You in All Your Damaged Glory after being influenced by aesthetic photos on Instagram. But I must say, I have never read anything so clever, fantastical or hilarious — it’s become my favourite book to date. With each short story centred around the experience of love, you can read into the deeper meaning of each symbolic narrative or simply enjoy it for what it is at surface level: an absurd piece of fiction. If I ever need an instant pick-me-up or laugh, it’s as simple as reading one of these short stories.
TV Show: Curb Your Enthusiasm
The next time you’re craving some snackable comedic relief, I encourage you to ditch TikTok for the night and treat yourself to an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm. Packed with absurd plots, masterful (mostly improvised) jokes, and a protagonist I’m struggling to put into words, this show is my go-to pick-me-up. There’s something satisfying about watching Larry David casually stroll through the world with no filter, shamelessly refusing society’s rules, and usually winding up in excruciatingly awkward situations. Give this cult classic a go; I assure you it’ll make you laugh like nothing else.
Love pop culture and celebrity gossip but still view yourself as an intelligent, quasi-intellectual modern person? Well this is the podcast for you! With a tagline of “the podcast for smart people who love dumb stuff”, Shameless genuinely speaks to my soul. It’s my not-so-secret pleasure that transforms my work commute from an endurance trial to a bubble of joy and laughter. I’ve even been known to save up a couple of weeks of their Scandal episodes to run them back-to-back when I need to escape from the stressful and sometimes mundane reality of my working week.