What To Watch When You Are Sick
Being sick sucks. Being sick for a long time super sucks. Having recently gone through a long-term illness, I know what boredom looks like, and it is not pretty. But, there are things that one can do to make the experience better, and, as a public service, I thought I would address some of the things I did to make the time pass a little more pleasantly.
Library: I have an e-reader, and since I live in Seattle, I have access to a library with a fairly decent e-book selection. (I recommend doing a little research on libraries and e-books. It’s a fairly contentious issue between libraries and publishers, and if you care at all about access to information, this is an important issue that isn’t getting as much coverage as it should.) On the days that I was unable to haul my butt over to my local branch, being able to download books saved my bacon. Also, the library has tons of movies, and the neighborhood branches usually have a pretty good selection. You can also put movies on hold and have them delivered to your branch. Did I mention the library is free? And awesome.
Games: I have developed a pretty serious Nintendo DS habit. I find casual games easier to play when I am sick, and honestly Bejewelled 3 got me through some hard times. Also Plants Vs. Zombies and Jewelmaster: Egypt. At least I kind of felt like I was doing something, instead of just languishing away on the couch like a Victorian invalid.
Netflix Instant Watch: Or whatever it’s really called. Streaming movies—all you can eat. I also still get discs so I can watch newer stuff. I stream to my television through my Roku.
Amazon Instant Video: Also streamed through my Roku. This is good for when you want something new now—no waiting for discs. Until recently, the unlimited video service included with Amazon Prime was fairly annoying to watch through the Roku because there was no queuing ability and you had to search for everything. Now they let you make a queue with Watchlist, which makes the process much easier and the service more useful.
Turner Classic Movies: There are a crapload of movies that are not in print and this is the only way to see them. TCM is the only reason we have cable. (And so my husband can watch The Soup.)
What to Watch: My husband will very seldom admit that he is feeling bad, but when he does, he like to watch Werner Herzog movies in bed while drinking booze-laced hot cocoa. Different things work for me. I’m not saying that my prescription will help you out, but it’s a good place to start.
Law and Order: Criminal Intent: This is the only show in the Law and Order franchise that I watch, because I get super bored by the courtroom scenes in the other shows. (Although I can watch Perry Mason all day long.) Inspired by Sherlock Holmes, brilliant and quirky detective Robert Goren (Vincent D’Onofrio) is assisted by his practical (and somewhat long-suffering) partner Alexandra Eames (Kathryn Erbe). They are part of the Major Case Squad, which basically just solves whatever murders the writers Rip From The Headlines. Each episode is a standalone story, but continuity is provided through the glimpses of Goren’s neuroses and dysfunctional family situation. He’s a brilliant man on the edge of insanity, and the writers like to play around with that. It’s super cheesy at times, but usually good fun. Several seasons in, D’Onofrio started suffering from exhaustion, so every other episode focused on a different pair of detectives. (Which changed from season to season.) Those episodes are good too, but I prefer the Goren/Eames stories. My one big complaint with the series is that I think the Eames character could have used some fleshing out and their relationship as partners could have been dealt with much more in depth. (No, I don’t want to see them as a couple.)
The X-Files: Of all the things that have ever been on television, The X-Files is now and always will be my favorite. I am currently working my way through the series again, and except for some of Scully’s suits, it has aged really well. For those who have not seen it (?), it is the story of FBI agents Fox Mulder (David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (Gillian Anderson) and their assignment to solve cases of the weird and unexplainable. Mulder is driven by the possible alien abduction of his own sister, and Scully is the rational scientist who tries to balance out Mulder’s willingness to believe anything. (Although he’s usually right.) I am a big fan of both the monster-of-the-week episodes and those that focus mainly on the alien conspiracy mythology. I am in the 8th season where Mulder is missing and Agent John Dogget (Robert Patrick) is brought in to find/replace him, and I had completely forgotten how much I like the Dogget character. He’s a stand-up guy who shoots straight and always has your back. I actually would have continued to watch the show indefinitely with him as the male lead, but alas, it was not to be.
The Merry Widow: If I had to pick one director to get me through an illness, it would be Ernst Lubitsch. While being sick this year, I watched 116 movies, and the ones that did me the most good by making me feel hopeful and full of joy in the world were the ones directed by Lubitsch. So far this year, I’ve watched The Love Parade, Trouble in Paradise, The Merry Widow, Bluebeard’s Eighth Wife, To Be or Not to Be, and Heaven Can Wait. (I’m trying to ration them a little so I will have still have something to watch in case of an emergency.) To Be or Not to Be is my favorite, but I want to take a moment to write about The Merry Widow (1934). It stars Jeanette MacDonald and Maurice Chevalier as Madame Sonia and Count Danilo, and I do not think either actor was as ever as good or as charming as they were when Lubitsch directed them. Madame Sonia is the richest woman in Marshovia, and in order to prevent her from taking her money out of the country, the king orders Count Danilo to seduce her into marriage. Danilo is a huge player, and while Sonia despises herself for having feelings for him, she cannot resist his seductive ways. This movie is completely delightful, and I loved every minute of it. I feel different after seeing a Lubitsch film, as if the world is a better, more fun place because I have seen it through his eyes. Healing powers, indeed.