March: Comedy Corner
For March, I wanted to take a break from theme specific as many of us are suffering from some kind of winter trapped in doors. Because of that, you probably want a show to binge and have heard a million recommendations from everyone and it's all TOO MUCH! And since I love TV as much as film, I thought I would give you a sampling of comedy TV episodes where you don't have to sit through all of season 1, etc. This will let you jump in and just try something while getting some hearty laughs out of it too.
1. Bob's Burgers: "Boyz 4 Now" S03.EP21
Bob's Burgers is the show I go to after watching a horror movie, when I'm feeling sad, when I am with friends, etc etc - it is the warmest and most comforting, sweet show. This particular episode, Tina has tickets for her favorite boy band Boyz for Now (WHAT A NAME!) and Louise helps her find a ride to the show. Meanwhile, Gene has a table setting (scaping!) competition, something he is weirdly good at so Linda and Bob go support him. The jokes are tight through the first episode and we get to see usually harsh Louise have her first crush, then channel her energy into meeting that crush. This episode is great because the family jumps into supporting each other, even if they don't totally understand what they're doing. Steaming on Hulu
2. One Day at a Time: "No Mass" S01.EP03
Three-Camera sitcoms have gone mostly out of vogue in recent years, most end up squeaky clean on big networks and struggle to appeal to a younger audience. One Day at a Time is an exceptional exception - with TV giant Norman Lear at the helm with Gloria Calderon Kellett, this show is a must see about a Cuban family living in Echo Park. Complaining that Latino church takes all day, hard working mom Penelope puts her foot down and expresses that she would like to skip mass to spend time with the kids. Her mother Lydia (THE INCOMPARABLE RITA MORENO) immediately rejects this idea, and we get to see how each of the three generations grapple with religion, with a beautiful moment of Penelope expressing to her mom why she feels distant from faith and Lydia expressing that faith has kept her from losing it while Penelope was deployed. There are beautiful emotions that are never far away from the joke, and the joke never cheapens the moment. Also this quote: "God is a man, why you think there are so many problems? Probrecito God, he tries so hard." Streaming on Netflix
3. PEN15: "Dance" S01.EP10
Admittedly, this is the season finale and it would HELP to have seen everything leading up to this episode, however; it does stand on its own pretty well. Seventh grade has been thus far pretty hellacious for best friends Anna and Maya with changing bodies, cruel peers, and of course parents - creating a rift between the two as they grapple with all of that. And of course, it all comes to a head at the big middle school dance. If you were in middle school during the 00s, the set design of the dance will knock you off your feet. The emotions are treated with all seriousness, often shot stylistically like a thriller/horror or with a magical realism of the dance floor clearing. While middle school was messy and traumatic, it also shows the side of sweet, safe friendship that was powerful enough to overcome the rest. It's an episode that really has it all! Streaming on Hulu
4. Atlanta: "B.A.N" S01.EP07
Perhaps one of the more surreal episodes of comedy television I've ever seen - it breaks away from the primary narrative of the series to spoof the BET network and go deeper into the black Atlanta experience through media. It satirizes commercials that are so specific, talk shows about black culture, and even includes a segment spoofing the trans-racial with a young black man saying he identifies as a 35yo white man. It's an episode that goes for it in a big way, and is brilliant in its backwards path to making you burst out laughing. You'll just have to see for yourself. Streaming on Hulu
5. Brooklyn Nine-Nine: "Skyfire Cycle" S04.EP08
Let me get something off my chest: I like Brooklyn Nine-Nine better than The Office and Parks and Recreation. There, I said it and I'm not interested in arguing about it. I debated choosing one of the iconic Halloween episodes or one where something significant like a kiss/wedding/departure/etc. happens but here's just a regular episode to get you going. This one is a lesson on what it means to meet your heroes, as Jake drags Terry into a case involving one of Terry's heroes and he struggles to stay objective in the job. Meanwhile, Captain Holt brings up a complicated math problem to Rosa and Amy since his husband and the Captain seem to be in a deadlock about the answer. Rosa suggests that Captain Holt and his husband don't need to focus on the math problem, they just need to bone - resulting in a hilarious montage of Holt yelling "BONE?!?!?" Full of heart. Streaming on Hulu
ABOUT WHAT SHE’S WATCHING
Hi y'all, my name is Pilar and I am a filmmaker & lover who has gotten overwhelmed by suggestions at film school parties and didn't know where to start. I'm hoping this column will give you some hors d'oeuvres to chew on and help you discover other great movies to inspire your own filmmaking. This is a safe space no judgement if you haven't seen it, in fact, I'm very jealous of you right now for getting to experience some of this for the first time.