Ava’s fav TV shows of 2019

Ava Shapiro, Senior Contributor

As an avid television fan, I am always trying to find the best new shows to watch and obsess over. I tend to spend a lot of free time watching my favorite shows, analyzing them, and reading others’ reviews. I even occasionally post short reviews of shows or specific episodes on my twitter, to my followers’ annoyance. All that aside, I am a lover of TV, and it only felt right to write a piece recommending my current favorites on the small screen.

It’s clear to anyone with a Netflix subscription that new content arrives quite frequently. Along with the abundance of teen movies starring the same three 23 year old heartthrob (I’m looking at you, Noah Centineo), beloved Netflix original shows typically keep the new seasons coming with the increasing demand for more. An example of this is phenomenon is Big Mouth. This show has become a cult hit with teens and adults alike. To any readers that are unfamiliar, Big Mouth is a raunchy animated comedy about kids experiencing puberty and growing up. Featuring a hilariously talented cast of comedians playing middle schoolers and monsters representing teenage hormones and mental health issues. It’s no secret how this show has gotten it’s acclaim. Season 3 premiered this past month, and it mainly deals with technology’s role in the lives of children. To make these large topics seem simpler, the main character Nick’s phone is not a regular smartphone, but it has a personality and feelings. Those who are familiar with the show know that this humorous take on a serious topic is not a new concept for Big Mouth. In past seasons, characters deal with hormone monsters, shame wizards, and depression kitties as a way to normalize the worst aspects of growing up. Watching this show as an 18 year old, I wish that I had something like this in middle school. Even though it contains explicit content, it grounds the issues middle schoolers face in reality. I felt so alone when I was at this age, and I know that a show like this would have made me feel like other people in the world understood my struggles and insecurities. As a young adult now, I learned that other people have experienced feeling guilty for trivial things as kids too. Overall, this show and it’s hilarious manifestations of puberty are worth watching.

The HBO dramatic comedy Barry has received widespread critical acclaim, so it’s no wonder why this show has become a hit. Barry’s premise is quite an odd one. It follows a former marine turned hitman who decides to pursue an acting career in Los Angeles. This plot may sound like a hat on a hat, but it is executed so well that it becomes a hilarious and emotional story grounded in reality. The show goes back and forth between Barry’s opposing lives, from his acting class to the murders he is roped into committing, it’s really a Hannah Montana situation. The balance between Barry’s two identities makes for some incredibly hilarious moments between the stern Barry and his eccentric aquantences from his acting class and the Chechen mob he is indebted to working for. The side characters in the show are the real standouts, most notably Noho Hank, a Chetchen mobster who loves to have fun and values politeness. Barry’s conceited love interest Sally is also incredibly fun to watch, and is also a very fun character to have a love/hate relationship with. However, the main aspect of the show that interests me is the truth within the story. Barry was created by Bill Hader and Alec Berg as just a funny idea with an underlying meaning tying into Hader’s life. While one is an entertainer and the other is a murderer, the similarities between Hader and his character become clear cut once dug deeper. Hader relates his passion for writing and directing to Barry’s avidity for acting, and his natural talent for impressions represents Barry’s skills for killing. Hader was desperate to create films, but his work was not getting recognized, like Barry’s humorously terrible acting in the first season. However, he was naturally affluent as an impressionist on Saturday Night Live even though he never pursued it seriously and his severe anxiety caused him to dread performing, like Barry’s attitude towards killing people. Along with the parallels to reality the show brings, it also delivers extraordinary writing and directing. The show feels more like one long movie that has the platform to dive deep into story and character. While it only has 2 seasons, the 3rd is set to premiere in the springtime on HBO. If you are a fan of dark comedy, mystery, and cinematic imagery, you need to see this show.

For my last pick, let’s 360 back to Netflix and discuss the breakout show of October: Living With Yourself, starring Paul Rudd. I was first skeptical of this, thinking that it was going to be one of those typical rom-coms Paul Rudd is known for, but I was wrong in the best way. Themes of morality, existence, and love are key players in this show’s plot, which is as follows: Miles Elliot, a steroetypical office worker with an unfulfilling life, is convinced by a coworker to go to a spa that will change his life. After his visit, he wakes up buried in a grave in the middle of the woods. When he finds his way home, he finds an identical version of him in his home, but his counterpart is a happy and cleaned up version of himself. They quickly come to realize that they are the same person, and the spa Miles went to actually cloned him and attempted to kill the original version of himself but failed. The cast, consisting mainly of two Paul Rudds and his wife played by Aisling Bea, carry the show with hilarious and dramatic performances. Rudd’s two characters, while playing the same person, are their own entities, and his subtlties and nuance brought to the table are gripping and exciting. Every episode ends with a cliffhanger, and leaves its audience with more questions than answers. However, since there is only a single season available, the wait is on to see how the rest of the story unfolds.

Overall, these three shows are must watches for any fan of good television. Whether you’re looking for hormone monsters, Chechen mobsters, or Paul Rudd beating himself up, all of these shows are ones to watch out for.