Categories
Television

Favorite TV Shows of the 2010s

See also: my favorite books, albums, and films of the 2010s.

I spent a lot more time reading and watching movies over the last 10 years than watching TV, but here are the 10 series I enjoyed the most.

10. Catastrophe. For keeping it (brutally) real.

9. House of Cards. For the pulpy thrills of the first three seasons (the only ones I’ve seen).

8. Archer. For the many deep-cut references and H. Jon Benjamin’s voice.

7. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel. For the breezy wit.

6. Big Mouth. For really going there (and crossing over with honorable mention Big Little Lies.)

5. The People vs. OJ Simpson. For making someone too young at the time to understand to understand.

4. Rick & Morty. For making me laugh more than anything else.

3. The Crown. For finding ordinary truths in extraordinary circumstances.

2. Parks & Recreation. For being the Breaking Bad of network sitcoms. (And very rewatchable.)

1. Breaking Bad. For being a perfect television show.

Categories
Television

Big Mouth of Little Lies

My wife and I recently binged season 2 of Big Mouth and season 1 of Big Little Lies, and I noticed a key bit of thematic overlap between the two.

Big Mouth, Netflix’s obscene, irreverent, gut-bustingly funny cartoon about kids going through puberty, introduced the Shame Wizard character in season 2. Voiced by a slithery David Thewlis, he creeps among the kids whispering shame-inducing accusations and judgments. He even has a (NSFW) song:

Oh, I hate to be a bummer
But, my dear, I’ve got your number
And I’ll whisper it forever in your ear
Bringing the shame, shame
You’ve got no one but yourself to blame
You thought no one was watching
But I’m right here in your brain

It takes a while for each of the kids to realize that they aren’t the Wizard’s only victim. Each had separately internalized the shame and let it negatively influence their self-image and behavior.

The Shame Wizard would have fit well in Big Little Lies, the HBO series based on Liane Moriarty’s excellent book. Wealthy parents with kids in a public school deal with an accusation of bullying as they struggle with the ripple effects of domestic violence, infidelity, divorce, and trauma. What’s kept hidden from others by kids and adults, lovers and friends, because of their own version of the Shame Wizard really propels the story.

When things finally get out in the open in the final episode is when many of the characters finally experience freedom—even if, like a bandage being ripped off, it hurts like hell getting there.