Credit: ELLE
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The trash TV that got me through 2020

8 mins read

In a year where not much drama was happening with my own social or love life I took solace in getting invested with fictional ones. Whenever I needed to take a break from the constant influx of bad news and chaos, TV dramas from the 00’s is where I escaped to.

I binged the Tiger King many lockdown moons ago, rewatched Mad Men for the sixth time and The Chilling Tales of Sabrina for the fourth. I revisited others such as Gossip Girl, the Office US and Friends – but my heart lies with what some may call, ‘trash tv’. These are the shows that really got me through.

Glee

 I watched Glee when I was in school when it first aired on channel 4. It was the first of Ryan Murphy’s work I’d experienced, and I wasn’t familiar with him as a writer back then.

My boyfriend at the time was bewildered at my ability to spend more than 30 hours watching Glee at one time. But a couple of episodes in I was fully immersed in the singing and stardom of the McKinley High glee club.

For me it was the teen drama, the ever changing couples and outbursts of classics I enjoyed the most. The energy of each episode. There wasn’t a problem that the solution of bursting into song couldn’t sort out. For example, the girls v guys episode. I think I listened to Beyoncé and Madonna for a week straight after that.

Likewise the episode with Suzy Pepper, brought me back to a crush on my high school German teacher. More importantly reintroducing me to The Police, and the very relevant Don’t Stand So close to me. The perfect ballad for strangers in the supermarket who aren’t social distancing.

Kurt and Blain remain my favourite couple and it was satisfying to see such a brilliant couple get an ending they deserved. Rewatching it was nostalgic and reminded me of being in my last year of primary school. Although watching back there were some upsetting moments as a couple of the cast who were all far too young have passed away since the show ended.

Including the tragedy of Naya Rivera who played Santana. The actress tragically drowned on a lake with her four-year old son this July. The episodes were they have to write out Cory Monteith also hit hard. Seeing his real life girlfriend and co-star deal with the grief on the show was heart-wrenching.

With all the ups and downs, and disasters survived. The continuation of story lines throughout, whilst watching the characters grow is a really wholesome experience. Not to mention the excitement of all the competitions.

Glee will always be a programme I will happily return to for a bit of rosy teen nostalgia.

Grey’s Anatomy

The emotional rollercoaster of watching every season of Grey’s in about 2 months was an experience. I lost count of how many times I cried and how invested I got. Mostly because I feel like I have a lot in common with Meredith. Her strength and resilience blows my mind every time. There are so many incredible aspects to this character. The progress of dealing with childhood trauma, getting over her trusts issues and her inability to let herself be happy.

Another shining aspect is her progression as a Doctor. Achieving absolute medical excellence with integrity in the face of the broken American welfare system.

Her relationship with Christina reminds me of my two best friends and is possibly my favourite on-screen friendship ever. Dance it out will always cheer me up. Not to mention, “He’s not the sun, you are.”

Some moments really resonate with anyone who has been through similar traumatic events. I think there are a lot of very relatable storylines in Grey’s that hit hard. This is one of the reasons it is so popular. Disaster and tragedy after tragedy. After season three you think you’ve been through a lot, but its nothing on what is in store.

I’m not exaggerating when I say Grey’s Anatomy is one of the best things I have ever watched. Shonda Rhimes is an insanely talented writer. The casting and the story lines are flawless.

From the episode where all the female staff line the halls as the sexual assault surviver is wheeled to surgery, the talk Miranda has to have with her son on police brutality and racism. There are moments that give you goosebumps and will stick in your mind forever.

Credit: GMBC Healthcare

Dawson’s Creek

Something along the lines of a guilty pleasure. You guessed it the premise of the show is following the lives of teen Dawson Leery and his friends who live in the Creek. It took me a while to get into it – half of season one. But I was determined after seeing a clip about Pacey and Joey Potter, which had already got me invested.

Credit: E Online

Starting the 90’s it is much more dated and adolescent than Glee but it has the same premise. Sex is still quite the taboo and some of the jokes haven’t aged well. Regardless, some of its themes of mental health are way ahead of its time. Andy’s storyline for example, and her struggle with anxiety.

Seeing the character development of Joey Potter played by Katie Holmes and Jess Lindley played by Michelle Williams is a really wholesome aspect of this 00’s teen drama. Its an easy watch with not too much drama just plenty of teenage angst. The sort of stuff that makes you cringe a little thinking of the pathetic stuff you did yourself. But it is a rite of passage and Dawson’s Creek is a delightful, occasionally cheesy but well rounded teen drama worth watching.

Grey’s Anatomy is available to watch on Amazon Prime. Glee and Dawson’s Creek are available on Netflix.

Feature image credit: ELLE

Film Media and Journalism student at the University of Stirling. Film and comment editor at Brig Newspaper. Edinburgh / Stirling

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