#TBT ~ Light and Dark TV

Yet another week of Shefali and Rebecca forgetting to write this until the day of. And with that I give you “Light & Dark” TV Shows.

Shefali's Picks

Bojack Horseman

Okay anyone who knows me probably has heard me talk about these shows WAY too much. But here we go. Clearly, this show has taken some of the darkest turns in T.V. history, but before I get to that do ya’ll remember when this was just a hilarious topical show about a horse in season one?? No you can’t?? Because I was delusional and too okay with the dark stuff that happened season one.

I actually just re-watched the entire first two seasons and there are definitely dark undertones from the get-go--but I remember the first time watching it and one of the things I really admired was the fact that the writers were able to build intricate pop culture embedded commentary about life and death and then moments later a ridiculous physical comedy bit where a character trips and falls and spurts out silly puns like “un-Jessica-bielievable.”

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The best part of this show is that no one is good or evil. Everyone makes mistakes and it's about learning to deal with your consequences (or shove them under the rug until they blow up in your face and **eventually** you have to do something about it). But THAT is what makes the show, at its core, so empowering. Because it has started and gone to such dark places and yet we still feel for the characters because they are us.

You're the Worst

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SAME. While this is based in a little more realism (although this current season has already taken some wild turns), this show revolves around two people who are “the worst” at relationships. The cast of characters is a bit smaller than Bojack and it is live action instead of animation, but this show touches on a few similar themes including living with yourself and your poor decisions.

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You’re the Worst spends time focusing on each character individually and this season has started doing more “one off” episodes where it explores one character for the entire episode. Similarly to Bojack you get extremely light and fun moments--and then mid-episode something dark might be revealed about how the characters true fears keep them from being together.

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Something I love about this show is the way that it portrays mental illness. Not in a dramatic light, but in an average everyday fashion that doesn’t glorify it. The main character, Gretchen, (slight spoilers) it turns out, has been battling clinical depression for as long as she can remember. And while the show takes us to dark turns in her life--we also see her strengths, the good and the bad which is more than you can say about all those stupid horror movies that come out each year depicting all people with schizophrenia and multiple personality disorder as monsters.

The Good Place

Okay last one. This show is so freaking good. All of them are. How do I get you all to watch these?!?!!?! HOW?!

Okay sorry. I’m intense about T.V, but this show is bonkers. Like I can’t predict ANYTHING that’s going to happen. But (without any spoilers) I can tell you that the story starts with a few characters finding out that they have died and entered “The Good Place.” So there is constant debate about how they got there? And do they deserve it? But also this show is funny as fuck. Mike Schur kills it again. I don’t want to spoil it, but check out this show if you want to laugh your ass off, but also once and awhile linger on some philosophical thoughts.

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Rebecca's Pick

Well seeing as Shefali  beat me to The Good Place, I’ll just second everything she said, and move on. This is the cross I bear for turning in my homework later than she. Here's my other pick:

Garth Marenghi's Darkplace

Quelle surprise. Rebecca picks another British show. But hear me out, because Garth Marenghi is a gem of television, and it even has “dark” in the title, so you know it especially belongs with this month’s theme. 

Darkplace is a show-within-a-show parody of 80s horror mixed with 80s medical drama. Each episode is presented by creator Garth Marenghi (Matthew Holness) as an unaired classic finally getting screen time after 20 years due to "worst artistic drought in broadcast history." The six episodes follow a team of doctors at Darkplace Hospital, which happens to be located directly over the gates of hell, as they encounter mysterious supernatural events.

It takes the “so bad it’s good” mentality, and makes something so good at being intentionally bad that it’s excellent. Purposely bad dialogue, purposely poorly acted, but played from a very genuine place which makes keeps it from being the sort of parody that’s just annoying (if that makes sense). It's not a show that offers any particularly hot takes, or scathing indictments on society, which makes it even funnier that the character of Garth Marenghi truly thinks each episode of his work is some sort of nuanced allegory. In that sense it also lampoons the hubris of authors, artists, and "dreamweavers" who think their creations are world-changing.

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It features a brand of weirdness similar to the The Mighty Boosh-- half-insect children, conscious decapitated heads, musical interludes, and Richard Ayoade. If you like weird, and if you’re looking for something funny with elements of horror to watch this Halloween season, give Darkplace a spin! It’s all on YouTube, and I need more people to talk about it with.