If you have kids, congrats; they’re back in school! With the kiddos back in that September grind you should have a little more time with the tv, unless you homeschool and in that case, YIKES. If you’ve got a little extra tv time, you might be overwhelmed by all the options, we are living in the Golden Age of television after all. Well no worries because your old pal Heather is here, and I have 5 recommendations with a “back to school” leitmotif!
Derry Girls (Netflix)
Listen, regardless of the theme I went with for recommendations, Derry Girls was gonna be on this Iist. As a matter of fact there’s a real possibility that Derry Girls will make it into everything I write for the foreseeable future, deal with it. Anyhoo Derry Girls gives a front row seat to the lives of 3 girlfriends (and wee James, if you know, you know) going to high school in Northern Ireland during the tail end of The Troubles (mid to late 90s). High school antics like boy band concerts and crushes are set against a backdrop of bomb threats and political discourse, but Derry Girls never feels preachy. If anything it’s a comforting notion that teenagers are teenagers, even when their suitcase full of booze is mistaken for a bomb. Derry Girls just makes me happy, and sometimes that’s all you need in a show.
Big Mouth (Netflix)
From high school girls (and wee James) in 1990s Northern Ireland to current day American cartoon middle schoolers! Big Mouth is the story of friends going through the highs and devastating lows of puberty. Big Mouth manages to be hilarious, raunchy, and touching. The main cast includes Nick Kroll, John Mullaney, Mya Rudolph, and local talents Jennie Slate and Jason Mantziukas (fun fact I am in an imaginary relationship with Zouks), and the amount of star power in the smaller roles and cameos leads to a rousing game of “how do I know this voice”. Make sure you listen for John Hamm as a sexy scallop! Season 3 is coming in October so you have just enough time to catch up. Oh and just in case it isn’t clear, Big Mouth is not a show to watch with the kiddos.
Stranger With Candy (Amazon Prime)
Strangers With Candy is the story of Jerri Blank, a self described boozer, user, and loser who returns home at 46 to finish high school. Every episode is shot like a bizarro after school special, with Jerri sharing her own special brand of wisdom and growth. Perhaps the weirdest thing about Strangers With Candy is it’s somewhat rooted in reality. Creators Stephen Colbert (yes that Stephen Colbert), Paul Dinello, and Mitch Rouse conceived the show after talking about a scared straight movie featuring a prostitute turned motivational speaker. In addition to a very young Colbert as a closeted history teacher we’re treated to guest stars such as Will Ferrell, Paul Rudd, Winona Ryder, Cheri Oteri, Tim Meadows AND MORE.
Breaking Bad (Netflix)
Breaking Bad, a back to school show? Um, duh. Before Walter White became a blue Jolly Rancher meth kingpin, he was downtrodden chemistry teacher. Honestly if we took better financial care of our teachers Breaking Bad could never have happened! If you haven’t watched Breaking Bad let me be the first to say “I’m so happy you were rescued from that sicko’s bunker”, because being held against your will in some weirdos basement for 11 years is the only plausible reason for not watching Breaking Bad. If you have watched Breaking Bad it’s probably time for a refresher since the Jesse Pinkman Netflix movie drops October eleventh.
Elite is what happens when you extract DNA from a telenovela, a very special Dateline murder mystery, Gossip Girl, and Made In Manhattan and combine them like you’re BD Wong in a Jurassic Park movie. Elite follows three working class students at an elite (get it?) high school where the wealthy and powerful send their children. And how do these greasers afford it? Well their old high school collapsed so the scammer contractor who built said collapsed old high school is footing the bill, obviously. Stephon voice, this show has everything, preppy uniform accessories, bare bums, religious discrimination, a (redacted for spoilers) diagnosis, a bloody body, and that’s just the first episode. Just a heads up the show is dubbed from Spanish to English, so lips moving never match what’s being said, don’t get distracted, you got this!
Alright, that’s it, those are my five picks. Now some of you might be saying “Heather, why didn’t you include XXX, it’s the greatest portrayal/performance, blah, blah, blah,” and to that I would say, because it’s my list and I can include and omit whatever the hell I want. And if you’ve got a problem with it make your own damn list. No seriously, make a list, I’m always looking for new stuff to watch.
Heather has been writing for Caught In Southie since pretty much the beginning and for that we apologize. She can often be found on her couch with a log of raw cookie dough. Her biggest fear is being on an episode of Dateline and her wildest dream is being a guest judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race. Feel free to let her know if there’s something you think she should write about, unless it’s stupid.
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