break up survival: using television for good

Recently I wrote about some basic break up survival tips with the goal of both feeling and dealing with your emotions and avoiding the downward spiral of awfulness.  Well, here is a bit more on the distraction train - but before I get into it I want to re-emphasize the importance of dealing with the emotions in a real way.

After I wrote that last post, I had an honest conversation with someone where I realized how good I am at pretending my negative emotions don't exist, which is okay except that if you never feel them you'll never work through them.  That said, sometimes distractions are a true blessing, and necessary to really gain enough distance to be able to experience the emotions in a healthy way instead of a terrible, wallowing, self-pitying, death-spiral-type way.

So!  On to the point!  Television can be a glorious tool to pass the time with less pain.  It also fills the background silence with familiar voices and thus makes a great backdrop to household puttering, crafting, cooking, or some light exercising.

The key here is to pick shows that are light-hearted but don't include real, deep love or heartbreak.  Most comedies revolve around romance and end with people kissing, so this isn't easy, but there are some great options:

Arrested Development

First of all, hilarious.  Second of all, you've probably already watched it all through, but it's still fun to re-watch, so it's perfect as background fodder or something to take your full attention.  Third, it's about a bunch of selfish, emotionally crippled people, so you don't have to worry about seeing someone actually fall in or out of love.  It's all very surface.  Fantastic.

(Oh, and I'm obviously just talking about the original three seasons.)

Better Off Ted

Another one with Portia De Rossi (that gal did some solid work as an entitled, selfish woman with few deep emotions).  This one was hardly watched and didn't get the same cult acclaim as Arrested Development, so you may not have seen it before.  It's funny, and there's sort of some romance that almost feels real, so it will start to re-humanize you without going too far.

Doctor Who

You want to watch a show that is funny, adventurous, entertaining, and shines a light on all the best parts of humanity (doing the right thing when it's hard, seeing the good in others, helping the downtrodden, etc.)?  Watch Doctor Who.  It will make you cry, and it does go to some pretty dark places, but the beautiful heroism of the Doctor and his companions, and their quest to make the universe a better place is inspiring.  Plus, there is VERY LITTLE romance, just a lot of good, down-home, love-your-neighbour-type love.


An animated comedy about a dysfunctional spy agency, with voice acting from the mom in Arrested Development (seeing a trend?)  Lots of funny, lots of satire, and again, no real emotions.

Sex and the City

The only traditional "chick" show on the list: this got me through my first break up big time.  Yes, it totally violates my "no real emotions/romance" rule, but here's why it's on the list: Sex and the City is all about the ongoing life-cycle of relationships: one ends, another begins, then someone else pops up, and so on.  This show will help you remember that there are, indeed, plenty of fish in the sea, and that you'll be able to move on and be okay with a little help from your friends.  Plus, at least you didn't get broken up with via post-it note.  (I hope!)

(Feel free to avoid the last few seasons when the marriage and babies thing starts happening.)

Any other awesome post-break up TV shows to watch that I've missed?

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