Social Distancing Diaries: Weeks 3 & 4
The regular season was supposed to have ended by now. It’s fine.
Sorry for skipping out on this column last week. The world isn’t great right now and I don’t think anyone is immune from some sort of pain right now. I had to step away for a bit and I hope you’ve all been able to find moments of peace, too.
Here are the ways I’ve passed the time at home over the last two weeks:
Friday Night Lights
I have never been a football person. More accurately, I wasn’t even much of a sports person until the last several years. I was in marching band in high school, so I’ve watched football games, but it wasn’t something I grew up with and no one ever really explained the sport to me enough for me to care.
Without sports, I’m getting desperate. I figure it could be fun to attempt to learn about the sport through the series Friday Night Lights. It’s been goofy, but I’m already getting excited to start following the NFL next season. Read my notebook throughout the project over on Bolts From The Blue.
Once upon a time, I absolutely loved this show. Then everyone who loved it enough to know it should have ended left and I stayed a little longer than that. Eventually I realized the show I once loved was never coming back (that was around the beginning of season 10) and I gave up.
Sometime last off-season, I attempted a re-watch and catch-up, knowing the upcoming 15th season was to be Supernatural’s last. I made it to the end of season 12 before quitting once again.
Still, a new story with a familiar setting is always tempting. Instead of a total re-watch, I just picked up where I last left off, even though I couldn’t tell you a thing about seasons 10 through 12. At least I can say I finished it someday.
Spotify recently told me that I’m in the top two percent of Taylor Swift fans based on my listening history, so Taylor, if you’re reading this: please become my best friend. Or my wife. I’m not picky, really, I just think you’re great.
After wearing out Lover for months, I have recently revisited the Reputation-era of Miss Swift’s career, aided by many watches of both the Reputation Stadium Tour and Miss Americana films on Netflix. I think we were all too harsh on that album because the shadow of 1989 was so huge. Then Reputation came along and was marketed as “look how Taylor Swift doesn’t care about her reputation anymore!” when really what the album shows is someone who actually cares very much about her reputation and is finally learning what it’s like to be loved without being afraid of that anymore. I think there’s something really free in this album and it’s become really special to me lately.
If you’re still reading, Taylor, I’m sorry we weren’t kinder at a time when you were being very open with us.
And I’m not saying this would be a productive use of my time, however, I have thought about this tweet every day for the last 17 days:
Would watch a series of tik toks of you really hearing T's lyrics.— John Gennaro (@johnmgennaro) March 21, 2020
Anyone else spent the last year or so just overwhelmed by streaming services? I don’t like binging one season at a time whenever there’s a new release. Besides, it feels like shows aren’t getting more than two or three seasons anymore, so what’s the point in getting invested? At the same time, my work schedule doesn’t necessarily lend itself to catching shows regularly when they air weekly (which has been very disappointing in my attempts to finish Steven Universe: Future).
That means the only show I’ve been watching this cycle has been Brooklyn 99. I watch it on Hulu a day or two after it airs and it’s the best part of my week. I cannot believe that not only was this show cancelled once, but that it came back from that brink and has only gotten better. The show has never compromised its values, staying clever enough to make me cry laughing on a consistent basis.
I know I said earlier that it’s hard to find anything to watch, but the exception for me in the last year has been documentaries. Mostly because the quality of the show is rarely tampered by the number of seasons — they either run as a film, limited series or weekly case show. I’m a sucker for a good documentary.
I didn’t watch all of these lately, but here’s a few I recommend: Tiger King (obviously), How to Fix a Drug Scandal, The Nineties, The 2000s, Broken and Explained.
The world is on fire, so to borrow the word from Rebecca Delgado Smith’s therapist, let’s do some “catastrophizing.”
She hosts a weekly podcast trying to find someone to blame for history’s greatest disasters. I was behind several episodes, so I got the joy of an extended session of laying the blame on very terrible people for the terrible things they’ve done.
Very rarely are tragedies the result of just one thing, but The Alarmist team makes it fun to try to send someone to fake jail for them, anyway.
Every Little Thing
As a former Quiz Bowl captain (and champion, thank you very much), shows like this are my absolute favorite. If you’ve ever had a question that you’ve thought this might be dumb, but someone else has to have wondered too, right?, then this is the show for you. The last episode I listened to was about why we tend to see armadillos as roadkill more often than we actually see them alive in the wild. Everything you’ve never thought to ask and didn’t know you needed to know, the team at Gimlet try to find answers for you.
Oh no, without sports I’ve started learning things.