Autumn can be a lovely season; colourful leaves, fall fashion and as many pumpkin recipes as you can stomach. On the other hand, the long, dark nights are looming ahead, (what there was of) summer is a distant memory and it has to be a landmark occasion (we’re talking milestone birthdays only) for anyone to brave the cold for a night out. The evenings are drawing in; by the time you roll in from work it’s already dark outside, and all you want to do is snuggle up in pyjamas and watch something comforting on TV. If you’ve got the winter blues, even though it’s only October, don’t worry. Throw on your comfiest PJs and marathon some of these comedies alone or with friends.
Community is the ultimate feel good comedy; this classic band of misfits set-up about a community college study group becoming unlikely friends blends razor-sharp observations with fantastical situations, lovably flawed characters and a genuine championing of the redemptive power of friendship. It is in many ways the most British-minded US sitcom; it has that American upbeat positivity that guarantees friendship will always save the day, with the dark streak of cynical black humour that you’d expect from the writer of Rick and Morty.
It plays with style and form a lot; episodes have included pastiches of Westerns, 80s high school movies, horror films, Dungeons and Dragons and Glee. One episode is based on the premise of a simple decision creating multiple timelines, another is entirely stop-motion animated, with musical numbers. It’s a thrillingly mixed bag, much like the ensemble cast; are you the sceptical yet charismatic Jeff (Joel McHale), the passionate yet inept social activist Britta (Gillian Jacobs), textbook overachiever Annie (Alison Brie), high functioning pop culture geek Abed (Danny Pudi), the adorkable Troy (Donald Glover) maternal bad-ass Shirley (Yvette Nicole Brown) or Chevy Chase’s Pierce (just hope you’re not). Community picks up where The Breakfast Club left off.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend taps into that part inside all of us that has ever wanted to do something spontaneous and illogical, whilst performing a musical number. You can’t deny it…but unless you’re feeling brave you’ll just have to settle for watching Rebecca (Rachel Bloom) stumbling through her new life in West Covina, California with her brand new pals and career in pursuit of her first love Josh (the adorable Vincent Rodriguez III). This show is hysterically well observed and manages to capture feelings and experiences so accurately that you’ll be laughing along in recognition. Every episode has at least one song, and uses them to critique societal standards and tropes, as well as including radical portrayals of mental illness and bisexuality. This is a satisfyingly subversive comedy with tunes you’ll be humming along to in public for weeks. Any show that has a song about UTIs sung by Hans from Frozen (Santino Fontana) is an instant winner in my book.
Jane the Virgin
Jane the Virgin is a fresh spin on the classic “I’m caught in a love triangle and got accidentally inseminated by my baby daddy’s broken-hearted lesbian sister” story. Adapted from a Venezuelan telenovela, Jane the Virgin is outrageous, convoluted, sentimental and utterly hilarious. Our heroine Jane is a wannabe romantic novelist with a very complicated life where she must overcome problems presented by her fabulously self-involved dad, her impulsive mother, her staunchly Catholic grandmother, her fiancé, the father of her baby, his wife and at least one crime lord all whilst trying to stay true to herself, her heart and her desire to remain a virgin until her wedding night.
Jane the Virgin is a breathless rollercoaster of a show with an utterly charming lead in Gina Rodriguez, who really makes you root for Jane throughout, with the other stand out being the sassy narrator who deconstructs rom-com staples with tongue firmly in cheek. Not only is this show funny and self-aware, but at its centre is a loving depiction of an unshakeable family of strong Latina women. Definitely one for romantics.
All of these shows are available on UK Netflix, so what are you waiting for – get cuddled up and prepare to laugh your way through Autumn!
Words by Heidi Teague