We stand on the cusp of the holiday season, when you might be looking to lock yourself in a linen closet for JUST A MOMENT’S PEACE, JANET, CHRIST. Which means you could probably use some soft TV to take the edge off in between holiday parties and family dinners. Here are the latest gems in super-soft watching, from internet shorts to cat show documentaries to get you through the holiday season without being arrested for homicide.
Catwalk: Tales from the Cat Show Circuit
What if Christopher Guest’s mockumentary Best In Show was real, and about cats? That is the premise of Catwalk, a documentary about the cat show circuit in Canada. This doc is full of REAL CHARACTERS, including the cat breeder who intones “We all have archenemies” with perfect sincerity (do we, though?). Far from laughing at its subjects, Catwalk is a sincere and loving portrait of cat people, from high-end breeders racking up trophies to boost their catteries, to enthusiastic cat parents showing off their beloved rescue kitties. If you like cats at all, Catwalk is a soft, sometimes surreal, diversion into the world of cat shows, and it stars a cast of the most apathetic, disinterested cats you have ever seen in your life. The unintentional comedy between the passionate owners and their utterly indifferent cats is pure gold.
Catwalk is streaming on Netflix.
I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson
Former SNL writers Tim Robinson and Zach Kanin give us one of the most bizarre sketch shows of all time with I Think You Should Leave. The sketches range from slightly uncomfortable to deeply weird, and every bit of it is incredibly quotable (“The bones are their money” and “you have no good car ideas” are my go-to non-sequiturs now). It’s also one of those things that is funny in different ways every time you watch it, so it never gets old. Almost every sketch is built on the premise of a person—usually played by Tim Robinson—pushing the social contract to its absolute end in petty and bizarre ways. ITYSL is strange and delightful, it’s super-soft TV for those who laugh inappropriately at funerals.
ITYSL is streaming on Netflix.
Sarah’s Channel debuted over the summer, coming to us from Australia. Written and directed by Nick Coyle—who also stars as Justin—and starring Claudia O’Doherty as social media influencer and brand ambassador Sarah, Sarah’s Channel is a pitch perfect parody of beauty vloggers and influencers, with a little bit more going on behind the scenes. The joy of Sarah’s Channel is discovering the twist—I can tell who is not finishing the series based on who asks why I sent them a beauty review vlog—which makes selling it a little difficult, but it did provide me one of my biggest and longest laughs of the year, and I am just waiting for “like and subscribe” to enter the lexicon as an inappropriate response to fraught situations. And, at just twenty-nine total minutes, it’s super quick and easy to get through, a perfect lunch break pick-me-up. Discover the pure joy of scathing influencer satire and like, Justin’s whole deal. Like and subscribe!
Sarah’s Channel is on Youtube.
If Sarah’s Channel is too long, if you need an even more instantaneous feel-good watch, check out the Tiny Chef. Suggested by Emily T, the Tiny Chef is the softest, shortest respite for your eyeballs yet. Most of the clips are sixty to ninety seconds, and feature the joyful Tiny Chef going about his kitchen business, mumbling recipe instructions to himself. These are bite-sized videos that are the very definition of “heart-warming”. It is impossible to watch the Tiny Chef traipse across his kitchen and not smile.
The Tiny Chef is on Youtube and Instagram.
The Wine Show (Series 1)
There are two series of The Wine Show, but I am specifically recommending Series 1, in which actors Matthew Goode and Matthew Rhys loaf around Italy, tasting wines and being slightly bitchy to one another. The Matthews are obviously wine enthusiasts, but they don’t actually know much about wine, so they are joined by experts Joe Fattorini and Amelia Singer, who travel the world exploring various wines, seeking to add a perfect bottle to the “wine case”. The show also has a gadgets section for the Connor Roys of the world, and the Matthews, especially Rhys, are as enthusiastic about the gadgets as they are the bottles of wine Joe and Amelia bring back for the Matthews to taste. Between the setting, the profusion of wine, and the Matthews, The Wine Show is basically a romance novel for your eyes.
The Wine Show is streaming on Hulu.