Curious Mind Grapes

What Are You Watching These Days? The Heartwarming Art of Storytelling in Modern Shows

June 06, 2023 Mary Hoyt Kearns, PhD and Christine Szegda, M.Ed. Episode 7
What Are You Watching These Days? The Heartwarming Art of Storytelling in Modern Shows
Curious Mind Grapes
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Curious Mind Grapes
What Are You Watching These Days? The Heartwarming Art of Storytelling in Modern Shows
Jun 06, 2023 Episode 7
Mary Hoyt Kearns, PhD and Christine Szegda, M.Ed.

Join us as we escape into the world of our favorite feel-good streaming shows.  In this episode, we explore shows that make us laugh, think, cry, smile… and just plain FEEL GOOD about the world and humankind. We discuss how television has evolved to represent diverse perspectives and create better examples of how we should treat each other by showing collaborative story lines and characters who support each other. Modern programming offers positive, satisfying, joyful, and heartwarming viewing experiences. 

PS- Other shows we failed to mention:

  • Never Have I Ever
  • Dash and Lily
  • Mrs. Fischer's Modern Murder Mysteries
  • Parks and Recreation

Outlander Trigger Warning Doc on Reddit

Visit us on Instagram @curiousmindgrapes!
Feel free to share your questions or episode requests. Thank you for listening!

Show Notes Transcript

Join us as we escape into the world of our favorite feel-good streaming shows.  In this episode, we explore shows that make us laugh, think, cry, smile… and just plain FEEL GOOD about the world and humankind. We discuss how television has evolved to represent diverse perspectives and create better examples of how we should treat each other by showing collaborative story lines and characters who support each other. Modern programming offers positive, satisfying, joyful, and heartwarming viewing experiences. 

PS- Other shows we failed to mention:

  • Never Have I Ever
  • Dash and Lily
  • Mrs. Fischer's Modern Murder Mysteries
  • Parks and Recreation

Outlander Trigger Warning Doc on Reddit

Visit us on Instagram @curiousmindgrapes!
Feel free to share your questions or episode requests. Thank you for listening!

Christine:

Welcome to Two Harmless Randos with your hosts, Mary and Christine.

Mary:

So I recently discovered this show in Apple TV that has been around for like three years and I'm just catching on now And I feel like I must have heard about on smart lists because it's created by Rob McClaney and co-produced by him and Charlie Day from It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, which I can't say is one of my favorite shows, but I'm just so fast. I'm fascinated by their brains. They are, they're so smart, and this show is called Mythic Quest. It's about a bunch of people who work at a game company, a tech company, that's centered around this one interactive game, multiplayer game, and the characters are really varied and fascinating and hilarious and weird And I'm just obsessed with it. Have you? have you seen it?

Christine:

I have seen one episode of it and I thought it was brilliant and hilarious.

Mary:

Yeah, I went through all the seasons and I've gone back and started watching it over again just because I love the whole backstory theme that runs through it as they go through and give you the kind of origin story of all the characters. They haven't been through all the main characters yet, but it's just such a fun approach And like It's Always Sunny or other creative endeavors like that, where they kind of come at the storyline from really unexpected angles, it's just like an endless source of entertainment to me.

Christine:

Oh yeah, and I do not play video games. I know nothing about video games, so it was also sort of like a little peek into that world watching that show. My favorite part about the first episode is the kid, the critic who reviews it, and how all these fully formed adults in their business are waiting with bated breath just to hear what this, what the 13 year old kid, says about their game.

Mary:

Yeah, Well, I mean, and that's too late. That's the thing that so many aspects of it that seem absurd. The storyline are true And that's their key demographic right that for a game like that, those are the people that determine how successful a game is And with with a lot of the streaming apps that there are platforms, kids like that have a lot of power influence. I remember, maybe four years ago, a woman I know saying that her son who was in high school had decided he wasn't going to go to college or even apply because he had already built up a pretty big audience streaming who watched him stream his games. So that's what the career he was going to pursue.

Christine:

So that that character, that boy, is actually a real, relatively realistic portrayal of something that is happening.

Mary:

Yeah, i mean I don't know if he is a cartoon of it. Yeah, it's been a thing for a while.

Christine:

Wow. Well, that guy, rob, also was an. I thought you. When you said his name. I thought you were going to talk about another show that's been out for a while to that I just saw, which is Welcome to Rexham. I haven't heard of that. So it's him and Ryan Reynolds, and they attempt to take over a football club in England, in the UK.

Mary:

And yeah, I did hear about. It's a reality show, though, because they actually did.

Christine:

Right, right. But I was also late to the game with Ted Lasso, so I'm watching both of them at the same time and I'm like this is an amazing coincidence, or like it just so similar.

Mary:

Yeah, i wonder if the idea for Ted Lasso is spurred by their real life adventures.

Christine:

I know I know I have to Google that. And have you been watching Ted Lasso?

Mary:

No, I watched the first couple of seasons and I felt like I was complete.

Christine:

I think Ted Lasso just came from those sports shorts that were ESPN shorts that Jason Sudeikis was doing.

Mary:

Oh, okay, I didn't realize he was doing that. Yeah, he's a very versatile actor.

Christine:

I like him, so you felt complete with Ted Lasso, even though you haven't seen the third season Interesting.

Mary:

Yeah, yeah, Like the first one, he was just kind of going through life acting like just being so positive and like the bright side of everything and sharing people on, And it seemed like too much. But then they start to reveal why he's that way And then, as they got into the second season, you started seeing more deeply into who he was and what motivated him And I felt by the time it ended I was really happy with that storyline and felt it was done. And when they took that one character who was kind of meek and mild and turned him into a supervillain, I was like, okay, I'm done.

Christine:

That was really hard to watch. It was cringy. It comes around. I don't want to give anything away, but it was around again. It gets a little more. I don't see hokey, It's very feel good now, but almost like really explicitly so And yeah, it's interesting.

Mary:

Yeah, and I do like that feel good aspect. I think we definitely need more of that, and over the past several years, more and more shows at least on these various streaming networks have focused more on people working collaboratively and supporting each other, rather than the kind of Seinfeldian for themselves, selfishness and kind of not caring and lying to each other kind of thing that used to be a thing that made me hate television. Yeah, in the last decade or so, shows just have gotten more satisfying and are creating better examples of how we should be being with each other. So, yeah, so I do appreciate that aspect of Ted Lasso And that's probably why I really reacted strongly to that supervillain story line, because it's like that's not what this is about.

Christine:

Yeah, and I agree it was over the top the way he turned. It was really total 180. You're right, it's a different vibe in the 90s and the aughts than the more collaborative models that we're seeing. I mean, they give the show that we've talked about a good place.

Mary:

Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah, and they all start out selfish, right, but well, not all of them. Some, most of them start out pretty self-centered, even if they're not selfish. Yeah, and they evolve, and that's nice and that's the way. That's the kind of example we should be seeing.

Christine:

They evolve and you can see how much they love each other and that you just see the love And, yeah right, it makes you feel good to watch it.

Mary:

Right, yeah, i've heard Rob McClain he say, and Charlie J, that the idea for It's Always Sunny was to take the idea of a show like Friends with the theme I'll be there for you And flip it on its head so that all the characters would be behaving the exact opposite way, so that they were never there for each other. And I was like, oh, that's Seinfeld, right, like yeah, yeah.

Christine:

What other feel good shows are you watching right now?

Mary:

Oh, Abbott Elementary.

Christine:

Which I still have not seen, but everyone tells me I would love it.

Mary:

As a teacher. I think you'd appreciate it.

Christine:

I usually avoid school shows like the plague because I get so frustrated with the weird portrayal and stereotypes and tropes that you know what school is like. Like every show that shows, a school still has desks and rows, which you know. You don't see that when you walk into elementary schools or middle schools anymore. And I said you do sometimes. But yeah, little things like that.

Mary:

Yeah, i think you'd like this because it feels like a very realistic portrayal. They talk about things like teachers having to pay for supplies out of their own pockets, or dealing with parents who aren't necessarily collaborative, or children who are having problems at home As well as-.

Christine:

That's really nice. Parents who aren't necessarily collaborative, that's Yes, there are real challenge-tunity in the teaching world. Yeah, all right, it's on my list. It's on my list.

Mary:

Yeah, plus it's just Quinta Brunson is adorable and I'm just really happy to see diverse short women on TV. These just makes me feel seen and heard.

Christine:

Amen, i really need feel good TV. Like I have never been able to watch things like Game of Thrones you know no judgment of it And I feel like I miss out on some really interesting writing and plot structure. And like I love a good like mystery and something epic, but the violence it is such a deterrent for me It just it ruins it.

Mary:

Yeah, yeah, i couldn't watch it for the same reason. And Outlander, that's another. I love Scotland, i love period pieces, but it was way too rapey And I just it's like. you know, i understand this part of the plot and I know it's kind of symbolic of the way the British treated the Scottish, but like it's too much like-.

Christine:

Well, and it bordered on gratuitous Like you're right, and something like Outlander. There are times when they could let us know what's happening We all have imaginations, allude to it and then show us the after effects, but they really like leaned into, like showing the scene which really bothered me. So I had to turn it off for a while And then I found someone had made a Google Doc with all the episodes and all the activating, triggering scenes So I could actually look ahead and see if I wanted to watch that episode. Or my parents sometimes watched it And it's hard for us to find something to watch together on TV and they're like oh, you wanna watch some Outlander. I'm like, hold on, let me check. And I remember one night I was like, nope, not watching that one with you.

Mary:

That is brilliant Kudos to the person who thought to do that.

Christine:

It was really helpful because then I could just enjoy the Scottish history you know, hot Jamie, you know and the interesting storyline without and I could just fast forward and just not even watch what happened. So I need feel good TV, my favorite. I love a good, cozy British murder mystery. Like, if it's going to be murder, i need it with a bucolic country setting and a scone and some tea, right, That's how it is murder. What's that? Civilized murder? Very civilized murder, so like Midsomer murders, which has like 22 seasons. You'll never finish it. It'll keep you entertained for years. Father Brown, and there's like a really campy one, agatha raisin. Yeah, so it sounds weird, but I do love a murder mystery, not a two-year-old, a cozy, a cozy murder mystery. That's the difference. And the other all time relaxing British show is the great British baking show, of course. Like if you really relax Yeah.

Mary:

For me, that is the epitome of baking shows.

Christine:

Yes, yes, and when I, when it first came out, what I loved about it was that it was so cooperative. I remember one of the first episodes. Someone was running out of time, their cookies were falling on the floor and all the other contestants like came in and rallied and helped them. I was like what is this?

Mary:

I know it's lovely And the judges give constructive criticism And Paul Hollywood, who is the resident curmudgeon.

Christine:

Yeah.

Mary:

He doesn't say cruel things. Everything they say is with intention, like there's a purpose to what they say.

Christine:

Yeah, it's cute. Sometimes I don't get the humor, But some of the jokes I'm like okay, I do miss the original host, They were really funny.

Mary:

They were Yeah.

Christine:

One of them went off and did a show Did you ever see it? where she and this other guy would reenact a period of history where they would get in period costumes and make food from that period and cook. It was a riot.

Mary:

I have not heard of that. That sounds genius.

Christine:

But we're really funny, it was really funny.

Mary:

I'll have to look that up. Yeah, i only saw a couple seasons of this And I can't remember the name of the show. It was something like making it or making it. It starred Amy Poehler and Nick Oferman, because in real life they both love making things. So they bring people and give them up like a project, like make something all different sort of crafty things, and it's just really sweet. It had that kind of British feel to it. Okay, they're just where. Everybody was happy and they're kind and people are making things like. One project I remember was taking a little outbuilding like a shed and turning it into a man cave or a woman cave, and so women, the people, got to design like their ideal little space that would be their own, and it's fun to see what people came up with and how they thought outside of the box and some delight It was joyous Yeah.

Christine:

I just looked real quick before you started that the show with Superkins is called the supersizers. So, for example, they had one called the supersizers eat dot dot dot ancient Rome, so they would go back and pretend to be like you know, living like an ancient Roman. so or the supersizers eat the French Revolution. I think you can watch them on YouTube.

Mary:

I will definitely put up. That sounds really fun.

Christine:

Just need a laugh.

Mary:

Yeah, well, i think it's great because there's definitely so much more variety in terms of the types of voices you hear and, like I love just seeing how weird human beings are and how great their imaginations are that you never would have seen that before.

Christine:

Yeah, i was thinking too when I was reflecting on those like British cozy murder mysteries that are relaxing for me. That's because I'm watching people that look and act like me, except they have a cool accent. It's cozy for me, but, but also, but the shows are also really flawed in many ways, like they're not representative of a larger population. Women's rules were very strange and Truncated, you know, maybe they were made, yeah. So I mean there's, there's that trade-off there And you're right now, now, now, everything we talked about this with the younger generations. They have all these Mirrors around them. They can see themselves out there where people couldn't before.

Mary:

Yeah yeah and that was some of the research they do that in. When they're watching movies or shows, they want to see a diverse group of people, not necessarily reflecting who they are, but just seeing a variety of people, which is pretty cool.

Christine:

Yeah, do you think you watch something every day?

Mary:

I've been going back and vinging mythic quest is. It's a fun cast and, like I said, the back stories are fascinating. That's something too about shows And movies over the last decade or so that I really appreciate that. You know, in the old days you'd have people who Behaved a certain way. They had their role in the, the cast or the cast of characters, but you didn't necessarily know why they behaved the way they did, and sometimes it was despicable, but You had no way of understanding what motivated them to, or you know the reasoning behind their behavior. And in this show, as with a lot of, i guess more, of the superhero movies over the years, when you start going into the origin stories and understanding where people are coming from, it Makes them are sympathetic, relatable, or maybe not even relatable, but, yes, sympathetic. And And that's one thing I really love about this show kind of delving into the Yeah.

Mary:

Yeah.

Christine:

I would agree with the word relatable because for me, when I see someone's origin story and I see why they became what they became, it makes me You know you, just it's that level of compassion, like, oh, we all have reasons that we are the way we are. It makes you feel, even feel better about yourself a little bit, like I have reasons the way that I am, the way that I am, and I Was going to ask you what are you looking forward to watching soon?

Mary:

reservation dogs. Another one of my absolute favorites is Another season is coming out in August. Really good to that that one. It was created, written by an entirely indigenous cast and All the actors are amazing. The rating is beautiful and hilarious, um, and it gives you a glimpse into the life of these teenagers. Yeah, everybody is so sympathetic and Funny and real and it's kind of mystical as well as so. It's shot on the muskegee nation in Oklahoma and, um, the writers several the writers are from this Really really amazing stand-up shoot called the 1491s, who I heard about several years ago from my daughter who discovered them, and I later learned that a woman I know is cousins with them. They're the. The writers are from different tribes She's rosebud, sue, so people are coming together to write about these kids in this one situation, but they're bringing their own, their own cultures into it. Yeah, so it's. It's poignant, it's hilarious, it's magical, it's gritty, it's ridiculous.

Christine:

How many seasons this will be the? I think this will be the fourth one.

Mary:

I have to check Um, highly recommend it, and the soundtrack is really good too. Whoever does the Um, the music for it is spot on.

Christine:

There's that one. Anything else that's coming up earlier.

Mary:

Yeah, okay, so that was it says two seasons is a third. Yeah, i'll show that had related cast, but just kind of fun, and it's called Rutherford Falls and it starts at homes and it takes place in upstate New York but it feels like it could be somewhere in Connecticut. It's about a town where there's kind of tension between the local tribe. It's been there forever And this guy who's from a family who came over in the 1600s and settled this town, essentially on their land and at Helms Place, this kind of privileged guy from an old New England family who's he's very aware in a lot of ways and totally oblivious, and others, just like Ed Helms always plays, and and his relationship with a woman who's a member of the tribe who he grew up with.

Mary:

they're like best friends and they support each other, they have their attention and stuff. but it's another story where there is tension in the greater community and sometimes they have a tension but they're always trying to lift each other up and, yeah, in their own way. So it's really beautiful. I hope there's another season because it's it's it's kind of feel good There's. it's a little it's wackier and more unrealistic than reservation dogs, but it also feels very much like this part of the country, which is kind of fun.

Christine:

I know we need more. Lift you up television. Well, i am going to put on my pajamas and watch Tesla, so enjoy. I'm going to go relax a little, because I can only watch feel good television at night before bed, or or British murder mysteries.

Mary:

Enjoy.

Christine:

Thanks for listening to Two Harmless Randos. Check out our show notes for links to more information about the topics we discussed today. If you like the podcast, we'd love to hear from you. You can rate, review, subscribe or do all three anywhere that you listen to podcasts.