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The Joys of Comfort Watching

A comfort show can mean something different to everyone. They could recall a particular event that you went through in your life; they could bring you joy in moments of misery; they could remind you of your childhood; they could bring you peace. Whatever your comfort show means to you (and we all have at least one of them), there is one thing they all have in common: they help us escape reality.

Comfort watching provides us with a sense of familiarity. The atmosphere that a good comfort show creates is just like the one that’s created when you reunite with old friends and reminisce about nostalgic days. Getting lost in a world that isn’t our own allows us to temporarily escape from the problems and challenges of reality. These shows provide us with a source of comfort, emotionally distancing us from our real-life stresses and worries. Often, we find ourselves departing from our mundane everyday lives and arriving in distant galaxies, supernatural worlds, and mysterious stories – exciting, yet comforting.

The act of revisiting such shows gives us a sense of control that we may lack in our own lives. Knowing the ending waiting for each character and understanding how the story will resolve is a privilege that doesn’t exist in real life. This sense of security and comfort is what brings us back to these shows again and again. Below is a list of my favourite comfort shows to come back to when I’m feeling down.

 

Friends

Friends has always had a special place in my heart. As soon as my parents left me alone in my first-year accommodation, I immediately switched on Friends and started decorating my pinboard. In that moment of pure loneliness, I think I just wanted to feel like I was still at home – the sound of Ross, Rachel, Phoebe, Joey, Monica, and Chandler’s voices in my room convinced me for a moment that I still was.

I think what’s so comforting about Friends is the characters. Each of them has their own quirks and personalities that viewers may see in themselves – this relatability is exactly what gets people so attached and coming back again and again for more.

 

Gilmore Girls

This show is always on the TV when I come home from uni. With its quirky characters and pop culture references, the show truly evokes feelings of warmth and comfort. The community, the relationships, and the familiarity and charm of the small-town environment gives that cosy, inviting feeling that we all long for at the end of the day.

Exploring themes of family dynamics, friendship, and love, many viewers come back to this show to see the characters triumph. Watching these people navigate through such relatable and universal experiences is truly reassuring and the epitome of comfort.

 

Merlin

Though the ending of this show isn’t exactly what you’d call comforting, viewers are completely transported to the magical kingdom of Camelot and immersed in a world of fantasy, dragons, magic, and knights. Fantasy worlds are some of the best forms of escapism, often following the classic hero’s journey narrative involving adventure, challenges, and growth.

The loyalty and camaraderie among characters in this show, especially between Arthur and Merlin, strongly evoke those feelings of warmth and comfort. Seeing them overcome their flaws and evolve over the course of the show is satisfying to watch – revisiting the show and seeing them start from scratch is a very comforting feeling indeed.

 

Modern Family

After watching a TV show for so long, the characters can start to feel like an extension of your own family. The clever writing and comedic timing of Modern Family allows for those relatable everyday moments to come across to the audience. The funny yet heart-warming moments between characters could remind viewers of their own families and uplift them in moments of stress.

Modern Family is a beloved choice for those seeking solace in their TV-watching experience, and many viewers re-visit this iconic show to escape from their own worries and immerse themselves in the lives of such diverse and relatable characters.

 

Bridgerton

Sometimes we are forced to watch a show again and again whilst waiting for new seasons to be released – though this is the case for Bridgerton, I do think that many revisit it for its glamorous and romanticised setting of Regency-era England.

The ballrooms, the costumes, and the grand estates all provide a welcome break from our busy, bleak lives. Bridgerton is filled with love, passion, and drama, all of which keep its viewers hooked and longing for more. The forbidden affairs, sweeping gestures, and enemies-to-lovers narratives, all bring forth those feelings of excitement and warmth that we long to feel. The charming characters and colourful aesthetic make it such an enjoyable and uplifting watch.

 

Though some may argue that comfort watching sometimes serves as a means of avoiding reality and encourages emotional dependency, I believe that, in times like these, we all need to escape from reality sometimes. Comfort shows provide us with that temporary feeling of escape, promoting calmness, relaxation, and comfort. For those who may not have it in their everyday lives, TV shows can serve as a source of emotional support during difficult times. Characters can turn into friends for those who feel isolated or lonely. The humour and heart-warming moments in these shows can evoke feelings of happiness and optimism in times of stress and anger. And, finally, escaping into the world of TV momentarily disconnects us from the lives we get so used to.

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