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Culture Shock

5 TV Shows to Bingewatch Over Thanksgiving Break

10 days. 240 Hours. 14,400 Minutes. 864,000 Seconds. This is how much time Hoosiers have off for that blissful lead-up to the holiday season that is Thanksgiving break. The question is what are you going to do with all of that free-time? No papers to write. No WeBworK to be completed. No tedious textbook readings. No exams to prepare for (we all know you are not are not actually going to study for finals). So the question remains: what on earth are you going to do with all of this time? Albeit some of it will be spent sleeping and gorging on delicious roast turkey, cylindrical cranberry sauce (call me old-fashioned, but I like my cranberry sauce straight out of the can) and creamy mashed potatoes with melted butter rivers pooling at the top. Okay fine, some of it will be spent watching the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and watching the Packers take on the Lions and the Steelers and Ravens Game with your Dad. Perhaps you may even engage in a family touch football game to burn off some of the aforementioned food. But come on, all of those fun, clichéd Thanksgiving traditions aren’t going to take up all 864,000 seconds of your break. So sit down, grab some popcorn, and engage in every millennials favorite activity: binge-watching Netflix.

1. Orange is the New Black:
The first must-binge-watch is found exclusively on Netflix. You won’t see Orange is the New Black flick on the screen as you switch channels this holiday season (possibly not for long, rumors speculate that Netflix is in talks to acquire a cable channel perhaps as early as next year). Orange is the New Black is one of the many Netflix Original Series, that are arguably changing the face of television. Orange is the New Black redefined Netflix, and it was easily the smash-hit of the summer. The show is based on the memoir of the same name by Piper Kerman, detailing her experiences in a women’s prison. Taylor Schilling plays the protagonist Piper who is imprisoned for carrying drug money for her then-girlfriend (brilliantly played by That 70’s Show’s Laura Prepon) ten years earlier. Orange is the New Black exemplifies the new genre of “Drama-Comedy” or “Dram-Com” (I hated writing that as much as you probably hated reading it). Regardless, it should be the first thing you watch as you begin to embark on your binge-watching adventure.

2. Parks and Recreation:
If you’ve managed to go four years without becoming enamored by lovable bureaucrat Leslie Knope, my hat goes off to you because you must have considerable self-control when it comes to TV, or you live under a rock. Leslie Knope and her hilariously charming group of misfit employees offer up lessons in each episode that will make you laugh so hard you get an ab workout. Leslie’s fresh brand of wit, character and boundless optimism will make you feel as if politics matter and that you can change the world, especially if you strive to work in Washington one day. Not to mention, she is the face of feminism in the 21st century. The show is supported by a group of phenomenal actors, most notably Nick Offerman as Ron Swanson. Nobody will make you laugh harder than mustascheod Ron and his bare-bones approach to not only politics, but life. After the first episode, I can assure you Ron will have you convinced that the only key to life is a glass of fine whiskey and a Grade A steak. Six seasons in and the show isn’t running on fumes or stale jokes; Leslie Knope is the reason I’m taking a Political Science class and I’m not afraid to admit it.

3. Twin Peaks
If Orange is the New Black is revolutionary and Parks and Recreation hilarious, Twin Peaks is a blend of the two with a big dose of weirdness. And it works because it’s weird. Like it’s Netflix counterpart, Twin Peaks was completely revolutionary. It is utterly indefinable, the 90’s noir drama is delightfully quirky and reminiscent of a soap, a perfect blend of horror and awe that makes it entirely addictive. The show centers around the town of Twin Peaks after their beloved prom queen Laura Palmer is mysteriously murdered. Special agent Dale Cooper (played by an excellent Kyle Maclachlan in his prime) is brought into the town to investigate Laura’s murder. Although only on for two seasons in 1990 and 1991, Twin Peaks is the epitome of a cult classic. The show is enthralling because the characters are so memorable, they are possibly the most endearingly weird characters to ever grace the small screen. It’s easy to engage with the characters: whether you’re rooting for blundering Deputy Andy Brennan who is desperately in love with his secretary Lucy, hypothesizing as to who killed Laura, or baffled beyond belief as to what the log lady knows (watch the show and you’ll understand) you can’t but fall in love with every incredibly flawed character. Not to mention the musical score is amazing, the haunting opening violins set against the sprawling landscape of Washington should be the anthem of the binge-watcher. Because once you hit play on the pilot, you’re just going to be hitting next until the violins fade out at the end of season two. But perhaps those unforgettable strings will be creating musical notes once again, rumor has it that Netflix has been in talks with Twin Peaks creators David Lynch and Mark Frost to generate new content and create a reboot of the show with all the original characters 25 years later.

4. The O.C.
You didn’t think I was going to create a list of TV shows to binge-watch and leave off the ultimate teen event of the mid 2000’s did you? If you’re a girl and think you’re too “cultured” for the vapid mindlessness of Newport Beach circa 2003 I have two words for you: Seth Cohen. Seth was the first in a long list of crushes I’ve had on TV characters, and he is by far my favorite. Seth Cohen, played by a hilarious (and perfect) Adam Brody, was the first boy to introduce me to good music, teach me that being a geek was cool, and introduce me to the concept of “Chrismukkah,” a super holiday that combines both Christmas and Hanukkah. Seth’s superior taste in music gives The O.C. a killer soundtrack that features The Shins, Bright Eyes, and of course Seth Cohen’s favorite band Death Cab for Cutie. There’s even an awesome live performance by the band Rooney in Season 1 that will make you wish you were a Newport kid in the early millennium. Now don’t get me wrong, The O.C. isn’t just “The Seth Cohen Show.” The show actually centers around Ryan Atwood, a struggling youth from Chino who is taken in by Sandy and Kirsten Cohen, an affluent couple from Newport Beach. While the main story-lines center around couples Seth & Summer and Ryan & Marisa (like most teen television shows there are inevitably countless make-ups and break-ups) the supporting cast of characters can’t be beat. The wonderful Peter Gallagher gives Adam Brody a run for his money as Sandy Cohen, the father figure of the show who philosophizes his way through the show as the lover of clear-headed logic, stinging one-liners, and bagels. If you’re burned out by this point on your epic Netflix marathon and only have time for one more episode, I highly recommend Episode 14 in Season 2. If Seth & Summer’s spectacular Spiderman kiss doesn’t make you want to grab the nearest nerd whose nose is perpetually in a comic book and make out in the rain, then I don’t know what will.

5. Freaks and Geeks:

The classic of cult classics, Freaks and Geeks is the brain-child of Paul Feig and Judd Apatow and centers around Lindsay Weir and her brother Sam, played by a delightful Linda Cardellini and John Francis Daley respectively. Lindsay’s circle of friends constitutes the “Freaks” so delicately described in the title. The classic opening scene is enough to make you want to speed through all eighteen episodes faster than I can say “Young-Jason-Segal-is-the-cutest-thing-I’ve-ever-seen,” set to Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation” the opening credits flick through the rebellious characters and the credits read like the guest list at the Academy Awards. Ironically, the “Freaks” are now some of the most successful members of the Hollywood elite, and this show can be credited with discovering the majority of them. Freaks and Geeks is a delight to watch because it is fun to see James Franco, Jason Segal, Busy Phillips, Martin Starr, and Seth Rogen in their breakout roles. The all-star cast plays off each other perfectly and hilarity ensues. Although only on for eighteen episodes, the show was ranked in Time Magazine’s Greatest 100 shows of all time in 2007, and is consistently ranked #1 on lists detailing shows that were cancelled too soon. Trust me, there’s nothing better than watching a fresh-faced James Franco struggle through his teenage years just like the rest of us.
Freaks and Geeks Opening Scene:

If you take nothing else away from this article, it should be that Netflix is awesome. Whether it be facilitating your binge-watching during Thanksgiving Break, revolutionizing the television industry with original series such as Orange is the New Black, bringing back awesome cult-classics like Twin Peaks, or allowing you to watch Leslie Knope make government cool again for hours on end Netflix is freaking awesome. So remember to Treat Yo Self this Thanksgiving break and let yourself go crazy on Netflix! You deserve it. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Petition Netflix to bring back Freaks and Geeks please?

Note: The author is in no way advocating you spending all 864,000 seconds watching Netflix over break. That is unhealthy. Also, your parents might get mad.


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