One great thing about our content-rich modern times is that the flu doesn’t have to bore you anymore. Thanks to on-demand media platforms, no longer do you have to endure long periods of restorative and restful sleep to help your body perform critical repair functions to vanquish the replicating virus inside your body whose sole purpose is to take you out. That’s so 90s.
Instead, you can stay awake watching limitless episodes of shows you didn’t even know existed, and a few that you’ve seen at least 10 times. Except for the part where every breath is an accomplishment, it’s a great way to keep your finger on the pulse of what’s new in pop culture.
Binge watching has changed how we flu, and I’m no exception. I’ve compiled some of my favorites from my own influenza visit last week. I hope you don’t get the flu this year, but if you do, I don’t want you to be unprepared. :-)
Atypical – Netflix
The main character in this comedy-drama, Sam Gardner, is diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). This show is a fair assessment of a high-functioning life on the spectrum, for Sam and for his family. What I love about this portrayal of someone with ASD is that it honestly shows the emotion, humor and empathy of a young adult trying to move into the next phase of life. Emotion, humor and empathy are not usually associated with ASD, and this show goes a long way to dispel the myth that these three important human components are lacking in someone with ASD.
There are many challenges in a life with high-functioning autism. One of them is that in many ways, a person can look very much like any other peer in his or her age group. But so many of the things neurotypical peers take for granted – like dating and leaving for college – can be an enormous struggle for a person with ASD. Atypical shows this struggle in an honest and hopeful way.
Spinning Out – Netflix
Okay, this one is super campy. And I’ll admit that as a former figure skater, I will watch literally anything related to skating because there’s just not much out there for us. But I had to give this a fair shake. While it’s full of soapy drama and some fairly loose morals, it did a fair job of presenting mental health challenges in the skating community.
The main character, Kat Baker, is an elite skater struggling with the challenges of a devastating injury and the drive to continue her career. Kat deals with bipolar disorder and does a good job of managing her illness until she decides that going off her meds will help her and her pairs partner, Justin, get to nationals faster. She perceives that her medication is keeping her from taking risks and becoming that larger-than-life skating persona the sport celebrates.
One of the hardest things to help someone with bipolar disorder understand is that the very mania that makes you creative, energetic and super productive towards your goals is the very thing that will bring you crashing down. Who wouldn’t want to feel all these things? Kat falls prey to this idea, and the results affect more lives than just hers.
Note: There are some disturbing images of self harm and portrayals of sexual abuse (not graphic, but just the implication is stomach turning) so be aware of that.
I Love Lucy
Lest you think all I do is watch stuff about mental health, well, okay maybe I do. But I do watch other stuff, too and I Love Lucy has been a staple for me since I was a kid. One day when I was seven, I roller skated into the side of a parked pickup truck with my face. Super grateful there was no YouTube in those days.
Anyway, my mom plunked my hysterically bawling self in front of this show on afternoon TV, and I forgot everything else. As I sat nursing a busted lip and holding my shattered glasses frames together, I discovered the power of one funny person to simply make me laugh no matter how I feel on the outside.
So in a time of influenza, Lucy Ricardo always gets a prime spot in my binge-watching menu. I own the complete series on DVD but you can find episodes on Amazon Prime.
Okay, so those are my picks to help the flu seem a little less like an unproductive day on the couch.
What are your favorite flu picks?