Netflix comedy-bingers are being forced to diversify their comedy diets.

Despite the streaming platform's multi-million dollar deal to keep Friends, Netflix couldn't pull the same strings for the NBC classic The Office. Many fans took to Twitter to vent their dismay, while others praised the Lord, because maybe now people will stop basing their entire personalities on the show.

It's true; there are worthwhile shows other than The Office to fill the void of your empty, meaningless soul. Branch out and explore comedies old and the new! Find new friends through a fictional program! And finally, learn to let go when your imaginary friends outgrow you.

Mike Schur's Staples:

If you're truly an Office fan, then you will have checked out Mike Schur's other ingenious comedy projects. If not, then you're a fraud.

Parks and Recreation

This show is the obvious and safest choice to fill the The Office void in your life. With Parks and Rec, you won't miss the spectacular mockumentary format and the odd but lovable relationships that blossom in the workplace environment. Even better, the show is also set in the Middle of Nowhere, U.S.A. just like The Office!

Parks and Recreation: Chris Pratt Explains The Series In 30 Seconds | Entertainment Weekly www.youtube.com

Runtime: 125 episodes of approximately 22 minutes.

The Good Place

Mike Schur debuted without his writing partner, Greg Daniels, as the only showrunner for The Good Place. The original sitcom king, Ted Danson, flourishes as the "architect" of the version of heaven Ellen Shellstrop (Kristen Bell) is accidentally placed in. Just when the show gets good, it gets better in ways one would never expect. Enjoy!

The Good Place Season 1 Trailer [HD] Kristen Bell, Tiya Sircar, D'Arcy Carden www.youtube.com

Runtime: 39 episodes of approximately 22 minutes. More episodes are coming.

An Oldie, But A Goodie:

Cheers!

Kids these days don't know about the Holy Grail of TV comedy. Ted Danson played the cultural phenomenon Sam Malone, a Red Sox relief pitcher who owned the bar, Cheers! This show practically founded the "will they, won't they" narrative with Sam's iconic on-and-off relationship with Diane (played by Shelley Long), a graduate psychology student turned barmaid. Cheers! became one of the first American sitcoms to explore love and loss while redefining the notion of family— it's simple and epic.

Cheers intro song www.youtube.com

Runtime: 275 episodes of 30 minutes.

Netflix Originals

You'll never have to worry about Netflix originals disappearing off the platform. Choose one of their many original comedies to enjoy, and then petition after Netflix cancels it.

Grace and Frankie

Imagine, your husband of over 40 years takes you out to dinner with his longtime law partner and his partner's wife. You and the wife are hopeful and confident your husbands are going to announce their retirement. Instead, they tell their wives they are leaving them, for each other.

Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin shine as Grace and Frankie, the two wives in their '70s who have no one in their lives who understand their situation except each other. It's an absurd and hilarious effort to showcase the trials of aging women in the modern era, changing family dynamics, and sisterhood.

Grace and Frankie | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix www.youtube.com

Runtime: 65 episodes of a variation of 25-35 minutes. More episodes to come.

Big Mouth

You know that American Doll puberty book you read when you were 12? No? Does that only apply to women? Well, try to imagine a puberty book that came to life as an animated show starring John Mulaney and Nick Kroll. Are you intrigued? Are you already invested? I thought so. Also, Maya Rudolph voices the Hormone Monstress—I probably should've started with that.

Big Mouth | official trailer (2017) www.youtube.com

Runtime: 21 episodes of a variation of 25-46 minutes. More episodes to come.

American Vandal

American Vandal took mockumentaries to a whole new level by deep diving into the world of high school investigative journalism. The show kicks off with the trial of Dylan Maxwell, a troubled high school senior, who is accused of vandalizing 27 vehicles with phallic images (dicks). The true crime satire showcases what it's really like to be a teen today, using social media to propel the story forward in a ridiculous fashion. Netflix may have cancelled the show after its second season, but American Vandal has already earned its cult status.

American Vandal | Official Trailer [HD] | Netflix www.youtube.com

Runtime: 16 episodes of a variation of 25-42 minutes.

Culture Feature

Drew Brees Exemplifies How NOT to Be a White Ally

The quarterback said "I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country." And then he tried to apologize. And only made it worse.

Drew Brees, a man who makes literally millions of dollars for throwing a ball, has come under fire for insensitive comments he made about NFL players kneeling during the National Anthem to protest police brutality.

"I will never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country," Brees said in the interview with Yahoo Finance. He clarified that this was in part because he envisioned his grandfathers, who fought in World War II, during the National Anthem. He continued, saying, "And is everything right with our country right now? No. It's not. We still have a long way to go. But I think what you do by standing there and showing respect to the flag with your hand over your heart, is it shows unity. It shows that we are all in this together. We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution."

This isn't the first time Brees made it clear that he cares more for the idea of a make-believe unified America than he does for actual human lives. In 2016, he criticized Colin Kaepernick for kneeling during the anthem, saying it was "disrespectful to the American flag" and "an oxymoron" because the flag gave critics the right to speak out in the first place.


Colin Kaepernick Kneeling Colin Kaepernick kneeling in protest of racist police brutality


Of course, the flag's alleged ideals have been proven to only be applicable to wealthy, white men—men like Brees. Sure, his grandfathers did a noble thing when they fought under the US flag during WWII, and no one, including Kaepernick, has ever said that sacrifice isn't worth respecting. Thanks to the sacrifices of many people (including the enslaved Black backs upon which this country was built, including the scores of routinely abused Black soldiers who fought for American lives), America has offered opportunity and peace for many, many people. In particular, Ole' Glory has been very kind to men like Brees: rich, white men who still control the majority of the power and the wealth in the United States.

But what about the rest of us, Drew? What about George Floyd whose neck was crushed by a police officer who kneeled on him so casually that he didn't even take his hand out of his pocket? What about Ahmaud Arbery, who was shot for the crime of being Black and going for a jog? What about Breonna Taylor, a black woman who was murdered by police in her home in the middle of the night for a crime that had nothing to do with her? What about Tony McDade, Drew–have you heard his name? Have you heard about the 38-year-old Black trans man who was gunned down in Florida last week? Do you understand why these people's family's may harbor just a bit of disrespect for your precious flag?

Is it possible for you to realize, Drew, that your wish for "unity" is not a wish for progress, but a wish to maintain the status quo? When you call for unity under the American flag, you're talking about your flag, the flag that represents a long, sordid history of racial oppression and violence. There is no unity where there is no justice. When you say that "we are all in this together," what you're saying is that we all have roles to play in the version of society that has served you so well. For your part, you'll be a rich, white man, and for Black people's part, they'll continue to be victims of state-sanctioned murders– but hopefully more quietly, hopefully in a manner that doesn't make you uncomfortable?

When you say, "We can all do better. And that we are all part of the solution," what you mean to say is that POC and their allies are at fault. Sure, you probably agree that Derek Chauvin took it a bit too far, and you probably feel a little self-conscious that he's brought all this "Black rights" stuff up again. But when you say "all," you place blame on the victims who are dying under a broken system. And what, exactly, do you expect POC to do differently, Drew? Ahmaud Arbery was just out jogging, and still he died. George Floyd was just trying to pay a cashier, and still he died. POC and their allies try to peacefully protest by marching in the streets or taking a knee at a football game, and still white people condemn and criticize. Still the police shoot.

After much criticism, Brees did attempt an apology on Instagram, where he posted a hilariously corny stock photo of a Black and white hand clasped together. His caption, though possibly well-intentioned, made it even clearer that his understanding of the movement for Black lives is thoroughly lacking.


Highlights of the "apology" include his immediate attempt to exonerate himself from culpability, claiming that his words were misconstrued, saying of his previous statement: "Those words have become divisive and hurtful and have misled people into believing that somehow I am an enemy. This could not be further from the truth, and is not an accurate reflection of my heart or my character." Unfortunately, Drew, white people like you are the "enemy," as you put it, because by default you are at the very least part of the problem. No one is accusing you of being an overt racist, Drew; no one thinks you actively and consciously detest Black people. But your lack of empathy, your apathy, and your unwillingness to unlearn your own biases are precisely what has persisted in the hearts and minds of well-meaning white Americans for centuries.

Next, you say, "I recognize that I am part of the solution and can be a leader for the Black community in this movement." No, Drew. Just no. Black people don't need white people's savior complexes to interfere in their organizing; what they need is for us to shut up and listen. What they need is for us to get our knees off of their necks.

Finally, you say, "I have ALWAYS been an ally, never an enemy." This, Drew, is suspiciously similar to saying, "But I'm one of the good whites!" The fact of the matter is that feeling the need to prove your allyship is not about helping a movement; it's about feeding your own ego. Not only that, but your emphasis on "ALWAYS" does a pretty good job of making it clear that you don't think you have a racist bone in your body and that you have taken great offense at any accusations to the contrary. I have some news for you, Drew: Every white person is racist. Sure, the levels vary, and while you may not be actively and consciously discriminating against POC, you have been brought up in a racist system, and your implicit biases are as strong as any other white person's. Your job now is to unlearn those biases and confront those subtle prejudices in yourself and in other white people. Maybe the first step in doing so is just shutting your f*cking mouth about kneeling at football games. Maybe you should even consider taking a knee yourself.

For other non-BIPOC trying to be better allies, check out one of these 68+ anti-racism resources.

TV Features

Dan Crenshaw on SNL: The Art of Public Apology

A mix of playground insults and abrupt shifts in tone created an awkward apology that underscored the awkwardness of apology culture.

Today Show

In an age when the President of the United States can take to social media to insult diplomats, veterans, and immigrants alike, our comedians are simply held to a higher standard.

Facing backlash over Pete Davidson's joke about newly elected Congressman Dan Crenshaw, Saturday Night Live welcomed the Lieutenant Commander himself to appear on the most recent episode in order to accept Davidson's apology in person.

The Atlantic

The rescinded joke was part of last week's "Weekend Update's" gimmick of giving "first impressions" of candidates. Davidson commented on Crenshaw, who wears a right eye patch after incurring an injury as a Navy SEAL in Afghanistan, "This guy is kinda cool. … You may be surprised to hear he's a congressional candidate from Texas and not a hitman... in a porno movie." Davidson delivered the punchline glibly, adding, "I'm sorry, I know he lost his eye in war, or whatever."

The comedian's brusque delivery, paired with unfortunate timing one week before Veteran's Day, made the joke seem especially crass and sparked outrage online.

Fast forward to this past weekend and Davidson's fine-tuned apology: "In what must be a huge shock for people who know me, I made a poor choice last week," Davidson said. "I made a joke about Lt. Com. Dan Crenshaw and on behalf of myself and the show, I apologize… I mean this from the bottom of my heart, it was a poor choice of words. The man is a war hero and he deserves all the respect in the world. "

Davidson added, "For one day, Republicans and Democrats agreed on one thing: I'm a dick." Here Crenshaw himself rolled his chair onscreen in a surprise cameo and quipped, "You think?"

After accepting Davidson's apology, Crenshaw was given his own attempt at a comedy set, beginning with an "accidental" phone call with a ringtone set to Ariana Grande's "Breathin'." Crenshaw feigned naivety by asking the comedian, "Oh, do you know her?" He was also invited to mock an image of Davidson as a gesture of quid pro quo, featuring very Davidson-esque one-liners like, "He looks like if the meth in Breaking Bad were a person." His parting shot was a comparison between the comedian and a Martin Short character, to which he added, "By the way, one of these people was actually good on SNL." The studio audience mixed laughter with uncomfortable groans.

Initially, Crenshaw took to Twitter to show he didn't appreciate the joke, stating, "Good rule in life: I try hard not to offend; I try harder not to be offended. That being said, I hope @nbcsnl recognizes that vets don't deserve to see their wounds used as punchlines for bad jokes."

Then in last week's interview with Fox News, Crenshaw described himself as having "thick skin." He cited his fellow Navy SEALS often jesting each other, but his "rules" for what humor is appropriate are simply this: "It has to be original, it has to be witty, and it has to be actually funny." In a video with TMZ, he specified, "Here's the real atrocity of all this: It wasn't even funny. It was not original … It was just mean-spirited." Crenshaw even articulated a thoughtful criticism of outrage culture, stating, "I want to get away from this culture where we demand apologies every time someone misspeaks...We don't need to be outwardly outraged. I don't need to demand apologies from them."

Yet the internet (as well as former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who demanded that Lorne Michaels be fired for allowing the skit to air) supplied enough outrage to fill Crenshaw's stead.

His appearance on SNL didn't just appease those who called for an apology, because he also flipped the tone of the skit to deliver a sober message to viewers about forgoing partisan outrage. In a flat address to the camera, he stated, "There's a lot of lessons to learn here. Not just that the left and right can agree on some things, but also this: Americans can forgive one another. We can remember what brings us together as a country and still see the good in each other."

Afterwards, Crenshaw took to Twitter to thank the show for its time to spotlight veterans, referring to his closing sentiment to "never forget" veterans' sacrifices and those who died on September 11th, including Davidson's firefighter father.

Overall, the segment combined playground comebacks with sincere moralizing in abrupt tonal shifts that were clearly well-intended — but awkward. In truth, Crenshaw's jokes at Davidson's expense weren't particularly funny themselves, and it's difficult to spin a televised acceptance of an apology into a message about not demanding apologies.

However, it's historically rare for SNL to give straightforward, on-air apologies for its jabs at public figures, suggesting that Davidson's apology is in recognition of the fact that the public's barometer for offense is obviously sensitive right now. That it was awkward and tonally dissonant highlights another obvious fact: we don't know what to do with apologies.

As outrage fades, is there much difference between silence and an alleged offender's apology? Or by then have we moved on to the next outcry? Reactions on Twitter to Davidson's apology spanned from laudations of Davidson's class to lamentations that comedians have to apologize for jokes, while President Trump name calls more than he governs.

On that note, Crenshaw did imbue the SNL segment with notions of forgiveness and unity, speaking against "imaginary barriers" between social strata and urging people to be "connected together as grateful, fellow Americans." His own vacillation about the need for apologies reflects that we're not sure how to bridge those connections, but we're very loud about needing them.


Meg Hanson is a Brooklyn-based writer, teacher, and jaywalker. Find Meg at her website and on Twitter @megsoyung

POP⚡DUST | Read More…

Pete Davidson Criticized for SNL Skit: Unpatriotic or Just Bad Art?

What Good Are Monsters? Why We're Drawn to True Crime

Selena Gomez's Sweat is Worth More Than You'll Ever Be