It’s no secret that living in New York can take a toll on your mental health, but fickle weather can also lend a hand. Seasonal Affective Disorder, or SAD for tragic acronym short, affects a large percentage of the population in cities and countries prone to fluctuating weather patterns (or just generally shitty ones, like Ireland). New York is certainly one of those cities. And if this spring’s rain, grey gloom and yo-yoing temperatures has been getting you down, then you might suffer from it. It’s not just a cold weather condition, either—SAD can take a toll even in the summer months. Just look at Lana Del Rey.
But whether you’ve been diagnosed with a clinical condition or you’re just feeling generally terrible under cloudy skies, we’re here to help. How do you adjust to the changing seasons? The same way you deal with, lack of money, lack of romantic prospects and any long day at work, of course: by binge-watching your blues away.
Studies show that we’re wired to binge watch, and that it may even help makes us more empathetic as humans. Watching a series can educate and entertain you while you get you out of your own head, and there’s immense diversity in online entertainment these days, on a multitude of platforms and at varying price points. We’ve pegged a few different types of melancholia to some lesser-known series that might help you overcome each. Some shows require a paid subscription (or a free trial!), and some are free on YouTube. Either way, read on to find out which series best complements your seasonally-affected psyche.
Did you grow up on sunny farmlands? Are you missing the simple life outside the city? If so, then your binge-watching prescription is The Ranch, a lesser Nashville in which Danny Masterson and Ashton Kutcher play feuding brothers helping their father (Sam Elliott) run his ranch. So if you’ve been missing that rural culture replete with trucks, heavy drinking and a withholding father, or even if you just appreciate a sitcom that sneaks in a lot of “F bombs” in, then Yeehaw! You’ll love this show, and it’s just the right amount of dumb to accidentally watch all 10 episodes of a season in one sitting.
For the overly-intellectual gamer’s ennui: 8-Bit Philosophy
Streaming service: YouTube
Are you a gamer that already lacks vitamin D from the sun? Are you in your mid-twenties but already experiencing a middle-aged lethargy from lack of physical activity? Can you solve a Rubik’s Cube? If you checked “yes” to any of the above, have a mini-binge on 8-Bit Philosophy. The series consists of four-minute animated shorts that wax philosophical using classic video games as their demonstrative imagery. Enjoy discussions of Plato using Zelda characters and Friedrich Nietzsche’s writings with Mega Man. After consuming this series of dense musings in byte-sized form, you might be ready to go out and have conversations with a real human, rainy skies be damned.
If you hail across the pond or and this rain has you weighing the benefits of America citizenry against the temperate climates of the motherland, simply binge-watch the entirety of Peep Show on Hulu. This nine-series (or season, in American-speak) long show is filmed in first person and has running internal monologues from both main characters, Mark Corrigan (David Mitchell) and Jeremy Usborne (Robert Webb), who are two of the most entertainingly terrible people ever. Think a slightly mopier Always Sunny. If you need convincing that your depressive thoughts aren’t as bad as others, simply ride-along with the mad minds of self-righteous Mark and frivolous Jeremy. Peep Show will make you feel better about your own mental health, and have a laugh while you’re doing it.
For the sadsack political junkie: Trump vs Bernie: Debate for America
Streaming service: YouTube
If you were already depressed about politics and the state of the world, and the forever rain is just the icing on the cake, then this fake debate series between “Donald Trump” and “Bernie Sanders” may be just what you need. Comedians James Adomian & Anthony Atamanuik are touring the country doing a mock debate with their spot-on impressions of Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump. Stream the full special here. If you missed them live at the Bell House last year, the time is ripe to enjoy this equal parts absurd and biting satire. Bonus: watch House of Cards on Netflix for political hijinks that seem downright functional in comparison.
In our humble opinion, it’s best to simply take a day or maybe two to yourself and then get back out to the harsh real world. After all, you’re going to have to brave it sometime. Binge-watching can be a great reset button for your mood, but don’t let fictional people control your life! Otherwise you might end up going insane and building shrines to characters that get off-ed, or remixing the sponsored ads that play between series.
You can binge on Ryan’s infrequent tweets @thereisnopoint.