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What’s Your TV Comfort Food?

I mentioned, last weekend, that I’ve been watching Star Trek: Deep Space Nine on Netflix Instant, and it struck me that it’s become my latest TV version comfort food: A show that can calm you down, cheer you up after a rough day, and basically just make everything seem that little bit better.

There’s a pretty narrow definition of what constitutes TV comfort food, for me; as odd as it may sound, it has to be kind of… well, not bad, exactly, but not exactly the sort of television that forces you to the edge of your seat or makes you think too hard. Ideally, it’s also something that you’re either watching on Netflix or DVD or as part of a marathon or daily screening – An earlier incarnation for me was Gilmore Girls, not when it was originally being aired (Well, not at first; I started watching “live” in the last season, I think), but when it was being stripped on ABC Family daily) – because there’s something about the frequency or availability that’s comforting, too. So, sure, ABC’s Castle fits the quality criteria, but it’s just not on often enough for me.

But it made me wonder: I can’t be the only person who gets into shows this way, right? Who finds shows to watch and unwind to, enjoyable in their predictability, and perfectly happy with that? I’m turning to you, dear readers: Please rush to my aid here, and tell me of your own Comfort Shows. I promise you, I won’t judge you – although, let’s face it; it’s the internet, so someone probably will.


  • Lrcherryjr

    In regard to live-action scripted material, I tend to go with Law and Order: SVU or Law and Order. Genre shows I tend to relax to are basic: Angel, Fringe. Animated: either Venture Brothers or Frisky Dingo.

  • Man Vs Twinkie

    Is it wrong that I prefer to eat blood rare meats when I watch The Walking Dead?!? ;D

  • Bass Guitar Hero

    For me:
    Mythbusters (Discovery Channel/Science)
    The World’s Dumbest… (truTV)
    Top Gear (BBC America)
    How’s It Made (Science)

    I always look for marathons of these shows. They’re really the only reality shows I watch and I don’t necessarily have to be glued to the TV the entire time they’re on.

  • Anonymous

    I gotta go with Community and some Firefly…

  • Michael Clifford

    Family Guy
    Mad Men

  • Jacob

    Arrested Development.

  • Jacob

    Wrong? Sounds like a damn good time.

  • Jan Robert Andersen

    These would be my TV comfort food:
    Simpsons (now on its 23rd season and some 20 years) and Futurama (only 8 seasons and 12 years)Mythbusters (some 7 years now)Star Wars: The Clone Wars (now 3 years and 4 seasons)Dirty Jobs (some 6 years and should return this fall)AFV (20 seasons and 22 years worth of people making fools of themselves and recording it)

    There are other great TV shows, often coming and going but these have been mainstays for many years now. My son and I now watch most of the together and most likely will in years to come.

  • Mou

    I was on a Gilmore Girls jag over the summer, and I would also put The X-Files, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and Angel in that ‘comfort food’ category.

  • Mou

    Allow me to add The West Wing, Sports Night, and Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip to that ‘comfort food’ list.

  • Rich

    Buffy, Angel, and Castle fit these criteria for me.  All are available on Hulu Plus so we watch them a lot in the evening between dinner and bedtime.

  • Alfred

    South Park

  • Sageshinigami

    I don’t think either of those qualify to be “bad without being bad”, which is basically what the writer was saying.   (Even if he didn’t want to.)

    But I do agree that they’re great shows to watch to help one wind down.

  • Anonymous

    Strange that DS9 fits that criteria for you.  I still think it’s the most unpredictable ST has ever been and that’s one of the things that made it so compelling.  If anything, TNG was comfort food.

    I don’t do much comfort food anymore.  The more serialized and thematically interesting, the more I want to watch.  Some comedies are comfort food I guess, but I’m pretty casual in my watching of them.  Of course typing this made me realize how much I miss The Boondocks …

  • Josephmagus

    Honestly… Any Stargate series and Farscape cover this for me… and I can still sit down and watch MASH episodes that I’ve seen hundred time and laugh like it is the first time.

  • mike thompson

    mystery science theater 3000. Hands down!

  • Dekko

    I know that I could watch an “I love the 80’s” marathon any day of the week – every day of the week.

  • Chuck

    30 Rock binges all the time. I can sit for hours on the couch and watch. It always makes me feel good

  • pDUB

    Who’s Line is it Anyway? perfect comfort tv

  • Goggler

    Bold and the Beautiful. Brooke is the bitch I love.

  • J.R.

    Man, there are quite a few different shows I can watch at any given time. Let’s see…

    The Simpsons
    Beavis and Butt-Head
    Batman: The animated series
    Batman: Brave and the Bold
    Justice League
    Married with Children
    Modern Family
    any crime show on A&E

  • Guest

    Why has no one mentioned Lost yet? The absolute definition. Attractive people running round a beach, occassionally hitting each other or blowing things up. Win.

  • mike

    Battlestar Galactica (2004), Buffy, Angel, Firefly, Weeds, Dexter, Six Feet Under (really is comforting), Parks and Rec, Always Sunny, Arrested Development.  Newest edition is CC’s Workaholics–good ol’ turn-of-your-brain television.

  • ATK

    Family Guy
    Stargate SG-1
    The State
    all of these qualify for me.

  • Rstallcup

    Babylon 5

  • Drhiphop85

    AFV is a great show…I don’t get many people talking about it but it’s just a good TV show that you can always get a good laugh out of. Of course it’s predictable but people being idiots is a comfort fodo in itself.

  • Brian Middleton Jr

    The Good Guys.  That show was brilliant, and nothing comforts like seeing a man drive a car through a building on a regular basis!

  • Jacob

    ” not exactly the sort of television that forces you to the edge of your seat or makes you think too hard”

    Lost doesn’t qualify.

  • Jazmine Heard

    I tend to go with NCIS, Law And Order SVU, Bones, Fringe, Supernatural, Person of Interest, CSI, and 1000 Ways To Die. Most of these usually broadcast 2 or 3 in a row.

  • Shaun

    Graeme, are you honestly saying DS9 doesn’t make you think at all? Look, I’m glad you’re enjoying DS9. It’s my favorite of the Treks, and I honestly think it’s the very best of the various Treks. But your definition of “comfort food” is a bit insulting.

    Have you gotten to “Duet” (it’s near the end of season one, so I’m going to guess you’ve seen it) yet? I thought DS9 was pretty damned good from the start, but “Duet” was the episode where I felt like the show had passed TNG in terms of storytelling and quality. This was not a simple, fluffy feel-good piece of television. DS9 had its share of crappy episodes, sure, but this was not a show that you could just turn off your brain for an hour most weeks. That would’ve been Voyager, maybe, though Voyager was generally even too stupid for that. 

    Give DS9 more credit, please. Most of the time, it was smart sci-fi that dealt with bigger issues than TNG, Voyager, or just about anything on else on TV at that time did, and generally dealt with those issues head-on.

    When I think of “comfort food” TV, I’d think of something more like Spongebob, the current Simpsons, or even a smarter cartoon like Phineas and Ferb. Or maybe a live-action sitcom like Raising Hope. Maybe Chuck, though I’ve only seen that show a handful of times.



  • Shaun

    I would’ve agreed with you until the final season. The only way to get through it was to shut your brain off an hour. Terrible finish to a show that had five (mostly) great seasons before it.

    Then again, your name is “Jacob,” so that might be why you feel that way. Sorry, but all that stuff with your namesake helped to ruin the show.

  • Bruce

    Mystery Science Theater 3000
    Rockford Files

  • CraigMax

    Stargate: Atlantis would be the big one for me. I’ve seen all the episodes (and have the DVDs) but whenever it comes on I stop to watch it. Same with the original Star Trek series.

  • Jason S

    Chuck, The Mentalist, Dr Who, Batman Brave and the Bold and Frasier when it was on. There are other shows I’ve liked a lot more..Angel, Babylon 5 and Farscape spring to mind. (And Supernatural Seasons 2-5) But they were more like event television. which doesn’t fit the criteria exactly.

  • Jacob

    That’s still 103 episodes that don’t qualify (and not everyone hated the final season).

    Not really getting why you had to take an unjustified dig at me. Sorry that you couldn’t even have it make sense.

  • Deanjsimons

    Chuck, Frasier and Friends tend to cheer me up after a shite day

  • Thomas Greer

    he wasnt saying that. he was saying shows that don’t make you feel too much, like fluff entertainment or whatever. something you can enjoy watching and not get too deeply involved in. 

  • Jmcreer

    I don’t think DS9 qualifies as it has the potential to massage your brain and make you think. 

    “Comfort Food” programs makes me think of shows that are predictable, fairly entertaining, but don’t require much thought.  A show that doesn’t overly excite you, but doesn’t overly disinterest you – something in the middle.  Mine are as follows:

    King of Queens
    I Dream of Jeannie (any comedy from the 60’s actually)
    Six Million Dollar Man
    Family Guy/ American Dad
    The Simpsons/ Futurama

  • Jmcreer

    I love Arrested Development – but I don’t think of it as comfort food.  It’s way too “piss yourself laughing” for that.  As is Community, 30 Rock, and the Office.

    But Arrested Development is a cut above.

  • Ceecarroll

    Buffy the Vampire Slayer does it for me every time..

  • Ceecarroll

    and yes DS9 is one of favs also..along with the entire Star Trek line up….which i just happen to have, lol..

  • Anonymous

    Yeah, love it! Jenna and Tracey are my faves! When she bursts into song and he spouts random crap! haha…

  • Anonymous

    Apart from some great comedies like 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation and Community which are all pleasing to watch.

    Its reality shows that do it for me. Great mindless fun! Survivor, Amazing Race, Project Runway, SYTYCD, Kitchen Nightmares…. I could go on! Lifts my moods and thoroughly entertaining!

  • AmITheFirst?

    I think I’ve gone through a 4 season Venture Bros marathon at least five times this year and still can’t find a dull episode, other than that – British series Misfits, Futurama gets a lot of play time when I’ve got stuff to do and want background TV, the usual Buffy/Angel/Firefly/Dollhouse combo… and Monkey. The nature of Monkey was irrepressible!!!

    My partner’s got a bit of a Friday night ritual where we both sit down to take away food and America’s Next Top Model, so I guess that counts ‘cos it means relaxing with my other half at the end of a hard work week and knowing it’s all worth it… Naaawwww…

  • mixedmike

    I watch How I Met Your Mother.  I have the first six seasons on DVD and I watch them constantly. I just watch the season in reverse over the summer.  That was an interesting way to watch it.

  • jolewist

    If you ask me, I’d have to say Scrubs, without a doubt. That show always manages to be relevant to my day, no matter when I watch it. 

  • jolewist

    BUT, this is in no means a bad show btw!

  • Jacob

    Yea but like, pissing your self laughing is the first step on the road to feeling good.

  • Jlittzilla

    Anything Science Fiction but lately Red Dwarf and MacGyver.

  • Anonymous

    Brisco County, Jr. !!!

  • Scarletspeed7

    Scrubs.  Really surprised there’s not more Scrubs listed here.  Everyone of my friends and I love to just crash and relax by watching some Dr. Perry Cox and John Dorian.

    I’d probably second Arrested Development.  I can quote most of the series by heart now and it still gives me a hearty chuckle or two.

    Batman: TAS is easily one of the fastest ways to lose a couple hours just enjoying yourself (as is the entire Timmverse).

    Parks and Rec is quickly becoming a fast rewatchable show for just sheer fun.  All of the characters are likable and the plots just keep getting better episode by episode.

  • J_mo666

    I have tons of these!

    Buffy tvs
    Big bang theory
    That 70’s show

    I love to sit down with dinner & watch an ep a nite

  • Faesforce

    This might date me but for me its The Rockford Files.  Love Jim Garner, man,

  • Chris

    Reno  911!
    The League
    Parks and Rec